Writing only one story a day, Fany Péchiodat created a community of readers she fostered so carefully, she was able to acquire 80,000 digital subscribers for another product. Understanding her audience members and what they valued — from an advertising perspective — is something news media companies should also do to replicate her success.
Fany Péchiodat is probably younger than 30 years old and lives in Paris. She wore a beautiful red dress when I saw her on stage for the very first time, and she presented her online idea as lovely as a kid would do with his Christmas present on Boxing Day.
To be honest, before her presentation in Berlin, I’d never heard anything about her online idea called My Little Paris. I expected to come away saying this is just another crazy thing we see a lot of these days thanks to the digital age, which lets people launch their ideas so easily.
But, after Fany Péchiodat’s presentation of facts and figures, I’d like to add: All media companies should be scared.
Fany Péchiodat started My Little Paris by publishing just one story a day. She didn’t care about any search engine optimisation at all. She just sent this one and only story to her 50 girlfriends in a daily newsletter.
It wasn’t just a typically designed newsletter. She said, “I hate any kind of boring newsletter and created a totally new one.” A nice header, a funny illustration made by a friend, and this one and only story mentioned above. Nothing more.
In this story, she wrote about what she discovered in Paris: A new lovely restaurant. A great lipstick. Or even a healthy sandwich offered. And she did this in such a biting tone that her friends shared the newsletter with other friends.
After a few weeks, Fany Péchiodat had thousands of newsletter subscriptions and didn’t really need her Web site as a central portal. She worked strictly on the quality of her newsletter, struggling with each word.
Please, don’t stop reading. Don’t think that I’m telling you a story you observed several times worldwide. See what happens to Fany Péchiodat and enjoy the figures I’ll deliver.
After a short period of time, Fany Péchiodat’s newsletter had 1.5 million subscriptions! Immediately, a lot of advertisers came around and said that they wanted to pay money for ad space on her newsletters.
She said no. Her reason was: I know my audience, and your advertising would bore them. The advertisers had to apply for spending money and create commercials fit to her audience.
Fany Péchiodat knew what she was doing. Five hundred appointments for cosmetic treatments were sold out within one hour after her newsletter was sent out with this offer.
Based on 1.5 million newsletter subscribers, she offered her followers another subscription model: My Little Box.
For €10 a month you get a little post box that contains a magazine and some helpful stuff sponsored by advertising companies. A tea cup. Face lotion. Vouchers. Whatever.
Now listen: Fany Péchiodat gained more than 80,000 subscribers paying €10 a month for a magazine and some stuff.
Do you know any media company that has 80,000 digital subscribers by publishing just one story a day? By doing so, Fany Péchiodat has a revenue of at least €10 million or US$13 million each year.
How many stories have you published to get 80,000 additional subscribers?
What we learn from the Fany Péchiodat case is:
Build a close relationship with your audience, learn what they want, and, even more importantly, what they don’t want. Segment your audience to raise your topic as I try, for example, with the topic video-on-demand. Don’t sell your soul.
If you aren’t sure that people love what the advertisers offer, you can say no to protect your readers. That increases your trust and makes your publication more worthy.
Look for new subscription models and don’t think in old-fashioned ways that people pay more when they get more. No, they are willing to pay more when the stuff they get is worth the money.
The Media Entrepreneur blog is a platform to show, explain, and evaluate new ideas to respond to the increasing challenges news media companies face today. The blog's author is Pit Gottschalk, former managing director of content management at Axel Springer in Germany and now editor-in-chief at Germany’s leading newspaper company, Funke Media Group. He is also a member of the INMA Board of Directors. Looking at advertising, content, audiences, human resources, and trends, this blog delivers a meaningful context about what is really important and deserves a closer look at, always considering the needs of our peers in the news industry and contributing to the public discussions of INMA conferences worldwide.