How to Use Exclusive Content on Subtext

As many news media companies are discovering, one of the most effective ways to get users to pay for a product is to offer exclusive content behind a paywall. In newsrooms, that means deeply reported articles, podcasts and exclusive access. Not only does it add real value to the customer experience, but keeping users is 5–25x less expensive than finding new ones, so it’s a smart business plan as well.

At Subtext, the same principle applies. Exclusive content takes the value of “insider access” that drives a lot of subscriptions and then doubles down on it, deepening the relationship between fans and hosts. These offerings don’t have to be extensive or groundbreaking, either; the simple act of offering subscribers something that’s unavailable anywhere else, even if only temporarily, is an effective, data-validated strategy for growing your Subtext campaign.

Below are three examples of campaigns that have used exclusive content to encourage on-the-fence users and reward loyal subscribers.

  1. Exclusive (remote) meet-ups

At, the Football Insider campaign has capitalized on its fans’ interest in behind-the-scenes scoops on the Cleveland Browns. To stoke curiosity and reward subscribers, the Insider team hosted an hour-long Zoom call in mid June breaking down everything about Baker Mayfield and the 2020 season.

Here’s a clip of some of the analysis the Insider team shared via Zoom:

Clip from the Cleveland Football campaign’s Zoom call with subscribers.

The event was organized in less than a day and really resonated with fans, proving that subscriber-only content doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel or be time consuming in order to convey value.

2. Exclusive video

The below video comes from the “One Minute Talk Show” (1MTS), a sketch series from a young comedian duo. They created this video and then shared it exclusively with subscribers. The video had over 100 views within 10 minutes of the team sharing it.

While “1MTS” regularly produces video, any campaign can borrow their strategy. As you saw above with the Football Insider team’s Zoom call, video offers a quick, tangible product that can be easily created and yet still feels special.

YouTube offers the ability to publish videos as unlisted or private. This means the content can still feel exclusive to your subscribers, but it also puts them in a position to share the content out, marketing your Subtext campaign to their friends.

3. Exclusive articles

The same team at, the Football Insider campaign, has also experimented with offering subscriber-only content.

Subtext Football Insider

Fans subscribe to Subtext campaigns because they value the insights and offerings of the hosts. When it comes to sports, these hot takes can be cat nip, because they give readers the feeling that they have access to an insider scoop that no one else does.

Football Insider posted the article on Medium, and it did not require much extensive reporting from Mary Kay Cabot. Put together in less than half a day, the article was a hit with fans and helped deepen their relationship with and communicated the value of their subscription.

Just like YouTube, Medium articles can be published as “unlisted” which means when you text the link you can convey to your subscribers a sense of exclusivity. It’s your subscribers who can decide to share it to the broader public, giving them value among their peers and marketing your Subtext campaign as well.

Keep these subscriber-only offerings simple. They still go a long way.



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