Media Apocalypse & 30 Days to 10,000 Newsletter Subscribers
A $720B industry up for grabs AND How I got my First 10,000 Newsletter Subscribers in 30 days.
Contrarian Thinking - My weekly newsletter where we challenge the status quo to achieve what most won’t in business, startup investing, wealth building and doing things the contrarian way.
What do all these guys have in common? Besides their oddly homogenous blazer uniform…
They are about to be massively disrupted and become irrelevant over the coming years. Why?
Media is Broken & THEY Broke It
These faces are of; Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg Media - btw how painful was that presidential run to watch!), Jeff Zucker (CNN Pres) and Bob Iger (yes, even beloved former Disney CEO is on this list & also media behemoth ABC).
Their reign, and the reign of the news companies they built, is coming to an end.
Here’s how industries are born and die, and in here lies the answer of how we take advantage of these cycles.
What Happened to the Media?
Media is in a state of massive disruption, with winners and losers rising and falling at warp speed. Anytime there is this much change I start to get excited. Remember: buy when there is blood in the streets.
Newsrooms have lost/cut half their employees since 2008, Pew Research
Ad Revenue (their lifeblood) has been declining for decades (down 60%)
Google and Facebook command 90% of all online advertising revenue
The NYT’s revenue gone from 60% advertising to 60% subscriptions.
Layoffs, selloffs and shut downs across Reuters, Vox Media, Vice, Mic and BuzzFeed.
Verizon took a $5 billion write-down on its media unit, holds AOL and Yahoo.
65 million Americans live in counties with only one local newspaper—or none.
"I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire," New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said earlier this year
I’d say unfortunately Dean - even billionaires may not be able to save ya. Also I find his quote hysterical. It’s a snide jab thrown from a glass house as Bezos bought his competitor, the Washington Post. But Dean, buddy, pal, last I checked the NYT has been owned by one billionaire family (Sulzberger’s Net Worth north of $50B) since 1896. So take it easy on that high horse my man.
What happened is newspapers lost complete and utter touch with what their consumers wanted.
They stopped reporting and started pontificating. They became what Universities are becoming, Elites on high. Polarized. They started telling only opinions instead of ya know, news. You could actually party blame the fox (Murdoch) and the peacock (CNN) for it.
Consider this, when was the last time you opened the news to really learn?
Aka: Sh*t’s Broken & We Can Capitalize On It
4 Trends & One Way to Take Advantage
Media is Going Micro
News is going micro, local, and into your and my hands. Substack, Ghost and micro-paywalled newsletter sites will bring in the advent of the micro news industry.
Riches in Niches
There is a saying in VC investing land, there is riches in niches. It means the more you can narrow your focus the deeper you can go. That is why I believe people in the future will subscribe to hyper-local news sources such as mine on business buying, or Sinocism (does 10 digits in revenue) only on China.
Local: All News is Local
All news is local, that’s what they used to say. It turns out they might be right as everyone from hedge funds, to political groups, to conglomerates are gobbling up local news sites. The disenfranchised networks may have new legs as redirect sites (for voting), as backlink generators and as a content marketing way to sell things online.
Everyone’s a Journalist
In the future Journalism degrees will be cute little relics of the past. YOU are the journalist, the writer, the news source on whatever your subject matter of choice is. That is the future, more humans taking the news into their own little mitts.
Funny family drama. I used to be a “traditional journalist,” i.e. I worked on a news desk, I wrote investigative pieces and worked a police beat. Yet, even a decade+ ago I realized how toxic the 24 hour news cycle was. So I left on my high horse and went to the squeaky clean world of Goldman Sachs in 2008 (face in hands).
But the funny part is I have a cousin who is still a traditional Journalist, capital J. There was an altercation between her and my mom as I posted something about the media being bullsh*t (still stand by that). My cuz was offended and said to Mama Sanchez and I quote, “Codie isn’t a journalist,” and some other stuff essentially summarizing that because I didn’t work at a news company I wasn’t a journalist. To be fair, she was right. I was a partner at a PE firm. AND YET - I could shin kick her (love you cuz), because I think it is the stupidest thing known to man to believe you need to work at a “news” company or have a journalism degree to be a journalist.
I actively tried to talk her out of going to grad school for journalism. SCHOOL IS WRITING AND INVESTIGATING EVERY DAY NOT LISTENING TO ACADEMIC THEORY. And oh by the way, it’s free. But don’t listen to me.
Look at James Altucher who writes news and gets more looks than any WSJ writer. Shoving the knife in - he also makes more money than they do and probably profits more than 90% of ENTIRE newspapers. Same thing with The Dispatch, Sinocism, Stratechery, oh and by the way this little yarn here I have gets 100’s of thousand of eyeballs.
SOOOOOOOO high horse rant done.
News Is Going Paid
News is already going behind firewalls at NYT, WSJ and beyond. But next it’ll be long form, micro, niche, local newsletter going paid. Mark my words.
I talked about this a lot about how to monetize writing in this post. But moral of the story Substack has a calculator you can use, link here. I have 40k+ subscribers now, average signup rate is 2% if you make newsletters paid so —> if I converted to paid right now, I’d make $4,440 a month or $53k a year. NOT GREAT. But my friends at the Dispatch did more than $1MM in < 8 months.
How do you take advantage? Start a MFing newsletter, create a flywheel, go stake your internet land claim.
Go BUY a media/newspaper/email list business using seller financing…
Get yourself an audience.
Two words… HACK GROWTH.
Here’s a snippet - click below to read the full post or scroll..
As always, question everything and stack revenue streams,
How I Got My First 10,000 Subscribers in 30 Days
Here’s how I built up my newsletter to 10,000 subscribers in 30 days, so you can too. Then we can dance on the mainstream media’s graves as we take it over. Too dark?
Step by step guide for you to take, steal, tweak and use for your own personal Rupert Murdochesque Media Empire.
Here’s where we were at (now 40k):
30k subscribers at Contrarian Thinking (check it out for critical thinkers).
BUT ON DAY ONE HERE’s WHERE WE WERE AT:
Day One: (0 People Care - But that’s about to change!)
I get the idea from my friends at the Dispatch who launched a paid newsletter and made $1MM in less than a year. Ears perked.
I spend the evening looking through my Evernote on things that get me fired up to talk about.
I get amped up from my hubs and friend Joe saying they’d read mine… first 2 subscribers (takes a bow).
I come up with the name Contrarian Thinking by looking through my favorite journals.
Day Two: (0-102)
I create a mailchimp account (it’s basically free)
I use Squarespace’s free logo creator to create the original logo for free. Kinda lame but FAST AND FREE.99.
I pull together a list of all my emails in my gmail, phone and old mailchimp accounts (1,000 in total) and send them a draft email asking them to opt in
102(ish) people do it… that tickles my little heart
I don’t actually love those first emails (and they were all in mailchimp) but here’s a sample..
I don’t love those first emails (and they were all in mailchimp) but here’s a sample
Day Three: 0 - 135 People Who Care
I send an email to my buds explaining what the newsletter is and why.
I send it to 50 people I think highly of and ask them to forward it.
Friends respond and get me even more amped up. Email list up to 135 now.
Day Four: 0 - 167 People Who Care
I add a pop up on my site using Squarespace templates at codiesanchez.com
I update the first signup box on my website to link to the newsletter signup
I use Unsplash images because I hate stock photos.
I post on LinkedIn and get good engagement. 5 newbies join.
I tried Reddit and failed, got my posts deleted from 3 groups. I know nothing about Reddit and feel like a boomer doing a Tik-Tok video.
I post in facebook groups, Masterminds I’m in w/ people who know me. (5 in total) 27 people join. Here’s an example but couldn’t find originals.
Day Five: 0 - 253
I’m over Mailchimp, too designed, doesn’t have paid and most importantly doesn’t have a community. Aka no comments and historical posts.
I create a folder for newsletters I like in my gmail, and start creating content
I make a list for growth hackers on twitter to help cross-pollinate tweets.
The posts on LinkedIn, Facebook pick up some steam. Pass 250 sign ups.
Day Six: 0 - 300+
I post on twitter and on Instagram. 22 signups.
Instagram stories with a swipe up to subscribe link work. I’ll do them weekly.
I put it in my bio link on Twitter and Instagram 13 signups.
Brainstorm growth ideas in a google doc like this: (now need to actually do them)
Day Seven: 0 - 421+
I come up with a content calendar - post every week at weds at 9:15am
Issue goes out - 82% open rate, 46% click rate. (Because basically only my mom on there and she better f*ing click).
I start hosting a weekly webinar with Arcview Group - grows my LinkedIn by 4,000 so I use that to post more on LinkedIn and get a 100+ subscribers.
… If you want to read the next thirty days and how we got to 10k sign up here.
We are cooking up something fun for you that will launch SEPTEMBER 14th - ALL ABOUT GROWTH HACKING. Click to get notified first.
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN ABOUT BIZ BUYING: ———> Unconventional Acquisitions
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DISCLAIMER: This is the be an adult section, not advice, just what I did. Said otherwise: This article is presented for informational purposes only, is an opinion, and is not intended to recommend any investment, and is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any current or future investment vehicle managed or sponsored by Entourage Effect Capital, LLC, Codie Ventures, LLC or its affiliates. All material presented in this newsletter is not to be regarded as investment advice, but for general informational purposes only. Day trading and investing does involve risk, so caution must always be utilized. We cannot guarantee profits or freedom from loss. You assume the entire cost and risk. You are solely responsible for making your own investment decisions. We recommend consulting with a registered investment advisor, broker-dealer, and/or financial advisor. If you choose to invest with or without seeking advice from such an advisor or entity, then any consequences resulting from your investments are your sole responsibility. Reading and using this newsletter or using our content on the web/server, you are indicating your consent and agreement to our disclaimer.