The success of Charlotte Ledger, a local business newsletter

Tony Mecia, the founder of The Charlotte Ledger, writes about its success on its fourth anniversary.

Mecia writes, “Still, in looking at the numbers, I thought it should be possible to build a subscription local media business. There are more than 850,000 adults in Mecklenburg County. It didn’t seem that far-fetched to think that The Ledger could find a few thousand to subscribe, which, at $99 a year, would be enough to hire a few reporters.

“By the time I made paid subscriptions available in February 2020, The Ledger had about 3,500 free subscribers. Substack said to expect between 5% and 10% to convert to paid subscribers. We do a lot better than that — more like 15%-20%. Today, we’re approaching 2,500 paying subscriber accounts — and hoping to get there by the end of this month.

“As The Ledger has grown, we have put more money back into the operation. As our revenue increases, we are able to do more and improve. If you compare those early Ledgers from March 2019 with today’s, it’s a world of difference: Instead of hot takes on news from elsewhere and links to other articles, we’re producing original articles, breaking news and delivering in-depth pieces — and not just on business, but on education and other local topics.”

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