Building loyalty from the beginning.
How Political Wire spent a decade growing loyalty and community.
Ten years ago, Taegan Goddard joined the digital media world after seeing his blog, Political Wire, gain a substantial following. This transition came after 13 years of working for governors, U.S. senators, and on Wall Street. Thanks to his devotion and ability to plug into his community of “political junkies,” in 2009, Taegan was able to turn his focus to his hobby and build a lucrative business.
“I’m blessed with a loyal audience,” Taegan remarked, “It’s been easy. It was a hit from the beginning.”
Political Wire keeps political enthusiasts updated on the latest in politics. By curating timely and concise content, Taegan aims to cut through the noise in politics to give his community fact-based and relevant information. After only a few moments on his blog, it’s clear that Taegan is constantly engaging his audience with multiple posts per day. When asked how he’s able to post so frequently, Taegan explained his subscribers-first approach.
“It could be multiple paragraphs, or it could be as simple as a one-sentence post. I try to not waste anyone’s time.”
Wiring to WordPress.
To keep things simple, Taegan built Political Wire on WordPress. Prior to finding Memberful three and a half years ago, he knew he needed to build a membership program to stay connected with his audience and find new revenue channels. When considering his options, it was imperative to him that Political Wire wouldn’t change (despite its successful growth). So, he sought a solution that wouldn’t change the design of the website. Since Memberful operates silently in the background of his WordPress site, Taegan has been able to keep Political Wire true to its roots.
“It’s elegant in how it allows me to take credit card payments and keep track of both memberships,” Taegan explains.
While driving one afternoon to visit his son in college, Taegan decided it was time to take the plunge and see what Memberful could do for Political Wire. After only a few hours of work, Taegan had Memberful up and running on his site. When he logged onto his site the next day, he was pleasantly surprised to see dozens of his readers had already signed up to become members.
“The response was instant and dramatic,” Taegan recalls, “I was sold immediately. It’s just been a home run, and the retention rate of my members reinforces this idea.”
Taegan offers a monthly and an annual subscription to his members. Both of these options give members access to exclusive political analyses from Taegan himself, as well as trending news aggregators, bookmarking capabilities, and an advertising-free experience. Though the majority of his subscribers choose the annual membership upfront because of the discounted price, he finds that many of his monthly subscribers eventually choose to upgrade into the annual membership.
“These are people who come back to [Political Wire] three times a day. They view their relationship as a long-term one.”
In keeping with the theme of community building, Taegan keeps an open line of communication with his subscribers to ensure Political Wire remains valuable. With Memberful, Taegan can source answers from his most actively engaged readers through his subscriber list. This level of transparency helps him do things like poll his community on which member-only features are most valuable to them.
Beyond diversifying the revenue of his site beyond advertising, Taegan thrives on his deep connection with his most loyal readers. His high retention rate allows him the freedom to plan ahead and actively predict his revenue. This stability gives him space to switch up his other revenue streams (like advertising) which can change unpredictably each year.
With more than three years with Memberful under his belt, Taegan had some very simple advice for anyone who’s in the process of considering Memberful:
“Don’t overthink it. Bypass the negatives of advertising. A lot of people think about things for too long. I’ve looked at dozens of ways to do this on WordPress, and nothing is as simple as Memberful.”