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Introducing Hit Points, a newsletter about the game industry, by me


Nate Dogg III
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29 minutes ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Ha, no problem. It is a bit weird. I get quite frustrated by the way it bundles paid and free readers together under the same label of 'subscribers', becomes quite difficult to write about. I try and think of it as 'readers' and 'subscribers' but even that's not great because obviously they're all readers, whether free or paid, and they're all subscribers too, technically. Ugh. And yes, as you point out, it's a newsletter you can sign up for but you can read the whole archive on a webpage whenever you like. The messaging around it is a bit strange.

 

There's a fair bit of 'best practice' guidance for growth within Substack but a lot of it involves doing things I don't like the idea of. I subscribe to a few other newsletters and a lot of them do a subscriber prompt at the very beginning, then again after a couple of paragraphs, then again at the end — basically all the places you'd expect to see an ad on a web page. There's an option to send premium-only posts to free readers as well but cut it off after a few paragraphs with a subs button. I hate receiving those emails and have unsubbed from a few as a result of it. Substack also suggests you mix up your free and paid emails to keep people on their toes (doing a paid exclusive on Wednesday one week, then Friday the next, etc). I don't like the sound of that either. 

 

I'm quite stubborn about how I want this to look and feel, and about putting the reader experience before my bank balance. (You can take the boy out of Edge, etc.) If that means slower growth then that's a shame but I understand it. I'd rather have people paying because they want to than because I'm bullying them into it, or giving them no choice. I do think it's on me to make a paid sub more compelling, though, and that's top of the list going into 2022.

 

Interesting. I both share your concerns but also think a bit more 'look what you're missing out on' might help. 

 

I agree that it is annoying to receive interesting looking emails which fade our early on to ask you to subscribe but if the content interests me it does get me to actively consider subscribing - particular if it happens regularly and you end up thinking the subscriber only content is going to be something you will regularly want to read. 

 

I've not yet subscribed to https://puck.news/ as it is not massively cheap but they have a good email model which works on the above basis and there does seem a lot of stuff I'd like to read but I'd have to subscribe to finish the article. You're right, ultimately such a model leads you to either subscribing or unsubscribing. 

 

Jack's Flight Club operates a premium and free model and essentially the free model gets one free email a week and at the top of the free email it basically says something like: This week free members missed deals to Thailand at £371 return, *business class* to Montreal at £1104 return, Barbados at £410 return, and more... Get all the flight deals

 

Clearly they can operate that type of model easily being a deals based newsletter but you could similar put that this week free members missed out an my interview with X and my thoughts on the Y news. 

 

Regarding your subscribers with large twitter followers, is a refer a friend type system something that works with Substack - E.g. for every person you send this link to who signs up we will extend your subscription by a month for free. 

 

I tend to think you get the level of 'please subscribe' in your emails broadly correct - from memory normally something at the start and the end which works well. Not sure if I have ignored both of those suggestions that pleas in the middle of an article or the email will do the trick. 

 

I guess ultimately one of the biggest things that might convert more people into paid subscriptions is just adjusting the amount of 'exclusive' content you get. I've paid for a subscription but currently there is not much content I'd be missing out on if I hadn't paid. That tends to be the crossover point for me, the stage where there is going to be regular subscriber only content that I want to read but won't be able to unless I pay for a subscription. 

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Feel free to totally bin this idea.

 

Seems to me that the vast majority of subs (if not all) will come from fans of your Edge writing. Why not give the subscribers the opportunity to have a monthly vote on a title that you will review?
 

This won’t be a new title but a game that got that elusive Edge 10, a controversial 6 or a lowly 1. Re-review it. To your audience, Edge scores do have an important place in their gaming upbringing. Revisiting those games whose reviews elicited anger, mirth, incredulity etc. would draw in and sustain paid subs. 
 

Then make the review only available to subs. 


I appreciate you’re looking at a game through a modern lens but you’re measured enough to accommodate that bias. 

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14 hours ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Also I know a few people that post here also post on ResetEra, if anyone can find a way to (elegantly!) mention it over there that could be very helpful.

 

I don't know how wise this is. The last time someone from rllmuk cross-posted (on Neogaf) @Timmo became an Internationally Renowned Idiot for his Dark Souls x British Cop skin pack antics.

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  • 1 month later...
52 minutes ago, jonamok said:

@Nate Dogg III I think Hit Points was due to return on 5th Jan. But I haven’t seen one yet this year. Just checking you’re okay, chap.

 

Ah I'm fine, thank you. Ended up being offered a couple of consulting projects in the week before Christmas and figured I'd knock them out before bringing the newsletter back. Also lining up a few interviews for Max HP for the coming months. Plus I was just fucking knackered after two weeks with the kids quite honestly and needed to ease myself into the new year a bit, haha. There's a chance it'll be back on Friday, but if not then definitely on Monday. 

 

@Len NO REFUNDS. (Actually Substack lets you pause billing if you want to put a newsletter on hiatus. Your renewal date will have been pushed back by three weeks or whatever it is, that's all.)

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Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

F2161199-F1A9-4C2A-8457-AD7FF2BD767D.thumb.jpeg.e92eb2c9b5c588730e7adb141711c0f1.jpegE8E717C6-C1BE-48B7-B1E3-51A6C1707206.thumb.jpeg.dcbb6b20cc419b0f862a6b7c64d93a87.jpeg

 

*edit* same on macOS Safari

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9 minutes ago, Graham S said:

Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

F2161199-F1A9-4C2A-8457-AD7FF2BD767D.thumb.jpeg.e92eb2c9b5c588730e7adb141711c0f1.jpegE8E717C6-C1BE-48B7-B1E3-51A6C1707206.thumb.jpeg.dcbb6b20cc419b0f862a6b7c64d93a87.jpeg


I assume that’s because I turned off billing over Christmas, to ensure no monthly subs got billed while I was sat on my arse watching films and drinking. I’ll pop a post in here when I’ve turned it back on. Please don’t have a change of heart in the meantime!

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On 12/01/2022 at 20:40, Graham S said:

Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

F2161199-F1A9-4C2A-8457-AD7FF2BD767D.thumb.jpeg.e92eb2c9b5c588730e7adb141711c0f1.jpegE8E717C6-C1BE-48B7-B1E3-51A6C1707206.thumb.jpeg.dcbb6b20cc419b0f862a6b7c64d93a87.jpeg

 

*edit* same on macOS Safari


Billing is back on! You may now balk at the price, like many before you. 
 

Thanks for the kind words, pals. Nice to be back but I’m a little rusty, will take me a few editions to get back up to speed. 

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Really enjoyed today's Hit Points, especially the Bungie/Phil Spencer anecdote. In fact I noticed today that when I went into my inbox to do something else I saw your email and, "oooh, another Hit Points" - I went straight to reading that, so I've stumped up for a paid sub. :)

 

Now then ... what the fuck did I actually go into my inbox to do in the first place? :lol:

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