Indie Growth Program

Indie Growth Program Header: Workspace with laptop and notebook. Highlighted text reads “Accelerate your growth.”

You have a great new journalism project, but aren’t sure how to turn it into a business. Or maybe it’s already out there garnering loyal readers, yet you’ve noticed a plateau in your organic growth. 

You’ve spent months in marketing workshops, but don’t have the time or headspace to execute. You’re ready to monetize your local news product and reach new audiences, yet you also want to focus on your journalism. 

The Indie Growth Program is here to help.

What is the Indie Growth Program?

Indie Growth Program is Indiegraf’s solution to what we have identified as “bootcamp fatigue.” We know that publications with small teams and budgets need more than advice and training: they need support from people who can roll up their sleeves and help execute. That is why we created this program, a standardized three-month trial to get to know each other before a potential long-term Indiegraf partnership

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for U.S. and Canada-based indie outlets that are A) about to launch, or B) established and want to grow their email subscribers and test assumptions around reader revenue. For only $500, participating outlets will work with Indiegraf to grow their publication’s readership and revenue, and gain valuable and actionable insights from our team of pros.

Think of the Indie Growth Program as a set tasting menu of audience growth support. For $500, your publication gets:

Lead Generation: Targeted social media campaigns to grow email list, $2,500 in Indie Capital digital ad credits. Audience engagement: Survey readers to know their needs & preferences, bring readers down the audience funnel. Test for Reader Revenue: Cross-platform campaign to test audience’s willingness to pay.

Each program participant is assigned an Audience Strategist Manager from our team. We help build a set of key messages that fit your publication’s value proposition, and we support you in the research and execution of these three growth-centered campaigns. This is what the process looks like:

Indie Growth Program: Kick-off: Set timelines & responsibilities. Email Growth Campaign: Targeted ads to build email list. Welcome Series Campaign: Introduce publication to new readers and survey for audience insights. Landing page creation: add-on landing page to collect reader revenue. Reader Revenue Test: Cross-platform reader revenue campaign to test willingness to pay, A/B messaging testing. Graduation: Product review with recommendations for growth, arrangements for long-term partnership (optional).

To make sure you get the most out of your Indiegraf experience, we also offer the following incentives for program participants:

$2,500 in Indie Capital digital ad credits to drive email subscriber growth. Stripe processing fees waived on the first $5,000 you receive in reader revenue. Access to the Indiegraf Slack community, where you can get support from our team and the rest of the journalists in the network.

What outcomes can I expect from the Indie Growth Program?

The Indie Growth Program aims to drive growth within three months through our lean, tested pathway. While every project and market is different, this standardized program intends to:

So far, we have had 24 Indie Growth Program participants -many of whom ended up being long-term partners! Here is some of what we have achieved with past program participants.

Have any questions so far? Take a look at the most frequently asked:

What does the Indie Growth Program Cost?

The cost of the program is $500 dollars for three months.

Who is this program for?

The Indie Growth Program is for existing independent news organizations or new projects ready to grow email subscription and test assumptions about reader revenue possibilites. Qualified applicants include:

  • Brand new projects not yet in market but ready to launch
  • Early stage projects or established independent media outlets that want to launch or grow email subscriptions and reader revenue
  • News outlets that want to test Indiegraf’s technology and audience services

Here’s what we look for in potential Indie Growth Program participants:

  • Proposals that have identified a specific gap in coverage
  • Projects led by teams with experience producing quality journalism products and a commitment to equitable coverage
  • News products with strong email newsletters (or plans to create great email products)
  • Projects that aim to provide regular coverage multiple times per week (one-off in-depth freelance projects or quarterly magazines don’t qualify for this program)
  • Publishers interested in establishing a long-term partnership with Indiegraf
What is required of program participants?

It’s important for us that the Indie Growth Program adds capacity for your team so you can focus on your journalism. Therefore, we aim to keep your work to a minimum. We do however need Indie Growth Program participants to commit to:

  • Being ready to launch when you start the program,
  • Participating in 3 meetings (hour-long) over the three-month period (yes, just 3!),
  • Responding to inquiries from the Indiegraf team within 24-36 hours, excluding weekends,
  • Providing feedback and approvals quickly while we’re executing your campaigns together,
  • Having branding assets for your project ready, along with a URL and social media accounts.

Additionally, we need some features to be available with your current tech stack. We work best when your Email Service Provider has:  

  • Automation capabilities (this is necessary for the Welcome Email Series campaign)
  • Drag and drop UI (we cannot write custom HTML)

Lastly, we need to be the payment processor for the Reader Revenue Test campaign, and for payments to be run through Stripe -this allows us to analyze the data!

What happens if I want to extend the duration of the program?

Some publishers want to move slower through their program -and that’s understandable! If you need more time to complete the Indie Growth Program after three months, each additional month costs $350.

What if I want to carry out more than one lead generation or reader revenue campaign?

The Indie Growth Program is standardized to one lead generation campaign, one welcome email campaign and one test campaign for reader revenue. Upon completing these set campaigns, we can continue to work together on a long-term basis, and execute more of the campaigns you need! Indiegraf offers a wide range of service packages, depending on what stage you are in. We always go over the possible next steps upon completion of the program!

If I join the Indie Growth Program, will you design my branding assets for me?

No, Indiegraf does not offer branding services. We may make some suggestions to improve the assets you already have, but we do not create logos or any other brand identity asset.

If I join the program, will you run my social media and customer service?

No, we currently don’t offer social media or customer service management. The Indie Growth Program is strictly a marketing coaching and execution program to help you accelerate your outlet’s growth!

If I join the program, will you build a website for me?

No, website creation is not a part of the Indie Growth Program. What we do build for you is a landing page to capture and manage your reader revenue. This page functions as a sub-domain, which we attach to the website you already have. If you are interested in us building a website for you, we recommend you reach out to hear about our tech services & products.

What happens after the Indie Growth Program?

Publishers who successfully complete this program may apply for the Starter, Standard or Pro service tiers offered by Indiegraf. These tiers are designed to further grow independent news publishers on the path to sustainability. They include advanced technology tools, additional funding, audience development, and sponsorship sales resources.

Our recommendation about next steps with Indiegraf will be included in the report provided upon completing the Indie Growth Program. Fees associated with the Starter, Standard and Pro tiers are on a monthly or revenue share basis.

Publishers who participate in the Indie Growth Program have no obligation to continue to the next level of Indiegraf services. They are encouraged to take whatever steps best serve their growth and impact goals. That said, when selecting participants for the Indie Growth Program we do prioritize publishers genuinely interested in advancing to the next level of Indiegraf services.

Want to learn more before applying?

Get in touch with Publisher Success Manager Joe Lanane to ask any questions you have.


Application

Submit your application for immediate consideration. We’ll be accepting publisher applications on a rolling basis, and we aim to meet with every applicant before recommending enrollment to the program. 

The information you submit is confidential and will only be used for the purposes of assessing your application to Indiegraf.

  • How often is newsletter sent? And how many stories published per week?
  • How many people currently subscribe to your email newsletter?
  • What percentage of subscribers typically open newsletter?
  • How many users per month visit website?
  • How many monthly/annual subscribers currently?
  • Full- and part-time staff only
  • Do you rely on foundations, grant money and/or ad revenue?
  • Current ESP (Ex: Mailchimp, Constant Contact)
  • Current traffic data source (Ex: Google Analytics, Parse.ly)
  • Current reader revenue tool (Ex: Stripe)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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308 - 877 E Hastings Street
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