How to Build a High-Ticket Subscription Service

Last month EditorEye’s Jeremy Phillips was invited to speak at SIIA's Information Industry Network event, Innovating & Building Successful Digital Products. The conference explored the current challenges facing publishing and information companies in terms of consumer behavior and how they can using digital platforms to capture the attention of end users.

Follow the 'Content, Structure & Functionality' Formula

During his presentation, Jeremy describes how the three core elements – Content, Structure, Functionality – can be combined to create a successful formula for premium subscriptions and content providers.

Content - Something unique

  • What have you got already?
  • What are you best at?

Structure - Clearly define your market, and the decisions you are supporting

  • Recognisable topics / vocabulary for your audience
  • Describe their world
  • Relevant triggers to drive their decisions


  • “Show me content when I want it”
  • “Help me to follow through (context when I need it)”

You can view Jeremy's full presentation below.

How to build a high ticket subscription service from EditorEye

How do subscribers consume content?

There are several levels of the B2B offer, with increasing value to the client:

  1. News - "My lunchtime read."
  2. Personal Decision Support - "Help me do my job better."
  3. Enterprise Decision Support - "Help my team work better together." & "Help my company deliver better results."
  4. The Content Hub - "Use all available content most effectively to trigger our business decisions."


1) The lunchtime read

Readers who consume content for entertainment or general purpose (usually at their desk during a busy lunch break!). It’s content which is free to access, easy to discover and they share with their friends and colleagues at work.

2) Personal decision support

The second level is when readers are searching for content for a specific purpose. They require more insights, analysis and industry forecasts to help them make informed business decisions for their company. It’s at this stage that publishes are selling to individuals within the company.

Structure is more important here because they are looking for relevant context. For example adding industry categories and companies that monitors triggers for the user.

Personalisation (alerts, keyword triggers & analytics) is also key when people are paying to access the platform. The subscription service should be pushing the right content, rather than the user having to search for it.

A great example is Utility Week Intelligence platform which is an additional resource for subscribers of Utility Week to access business strategy, deals and developments within the UK, European and global utilities industry.

3) Enterprise subscription service

Traditionally level two is as far as some publishers and content providers have gone to provide premium service for subscribers.

The enterprise-based subscription is a new way of thinking within the business intelligence industry. Rather than selling to an individual within a company, the publishers sells their platform to the information analysts across several business divisions (i.e. the knowledge managers) who help their colleagues with their information discovery.

The knowledge manager holds the key to content discovery

At this level, the knowledge manager is given the keys to create their own corporate taxonomy, with content searches aligned to the way they and their colleagues need to view information.

The platform gives them the functionality to do the following:

  • Curate their own content
  • Publish their own newsletters
  • Control colleagues’ alerts
  • Analytics for custom topics

Not only are they consumers of content, but they are also publishers themselves and curate content for their colleagues and senior executives. This gives the user more control when reading, searching and distributing content - internally and externally.

4) The content hub

The content hub is essentially the same as level three, but all available content sources are plugged into the one platform, with external premium content and external free air (web and social) and also internal content (presentation, whitepapers, meeting notes) to be search, shared and discovered on the platform.

If organised under one central taxonomy it can all be discovered by both the knowledge managers and the end user.

The bottom line

By following the ‘Content, Structure & Functionality’ formula, publishers and content providers can increase premium subscriptions.

Rolling out your content offer in this order from lunchtime reads to an enterprise platform - and finally offering the premium service of a content hub - helps drive digital revenues.

People are more likely to pay for decision support platforms, if it helps them make better business decisions. In other words, they are looking for a fully integrated solution for content discovery and distribution.

Jeremy Phillips is the COO and co-founder of EditorEye.

Follow @JeremyPhillips_

EditorEye is a business intelligence platform that unifies multiple content sources into one central hub with a common search taxonomy - plus the knowledge management tools to control distribution of breaking intelligence via alerts or newsletters for your enterprise users.