Strategies for long-term resilience and distribution independence.
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Dear reader, 

In this week’s newsletter, we compiled recommendations for Canadian publishers seeking solutions to Bill C-18 and for American publishers who want to become less reliant on Facebook. We’re also highlighting examples of what publishers have already been doing to give you some inspiration. 

And don’t forget: If you are attending the Online News Association conference in Philadelphia today, you’re invited to a panel session at the Knight Foundation Lounge to hear reflections on the News Startup Fund and opportunities and barriers in local news entrepreneurship! 

Come join Erin Millar, co-founder and CEO of Indiegraf, and Ryan Sorrell, founder of The Kansas City Defender and grantee of the News Startup Fund, as they share a presentation on our learnings and facilitate a discussion about opportunities and barriers. The session will be held at 3-4 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 24. Register for free here

If you can’t attend the session but are still planning on being at ONA ‘23, come say hi! You can book a time with Erin and Safeena Dhalla, Indiegraf’s Head of Growth and Impact, here

Thanks for reading, 

A woman smiling at the camera wearing a green jacket.

Erica Ngao
Audience Strategist

A Publisher’s Guide for Responding to Bill C-18 
By Indiegraf Staff

Facebook and Meta icon.

Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash.

As you’ve likely heard, last month Meta permanently ended news availability on its platforms in Canada in response to government legislation. Pivot co-founder Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours wrote about how this ban has affected independent media. You can read the full English version here or the original French version here

We’ve been working hard with Canadian publishers, both within the Indiegraf network and beyond, on how best to respond. All publishers should think about long-term resilience and distribution independence — we will work to continue implementing these strategies for publishers that enlist our Indie Audience services. Keep reading for recommendations and actions that you can take today, plus examples of how publishers are already integrating these strategies. 

Build direct relationships with your audience

  • Encourage your audience to subscribe to your newsletter and update them frequently. Generate an automated newsletter after every article is published.

  • Improve circulation on your site with features like push notifications and recirculation blocks. These notifications are small message alerts that are triggered in the reader's browser when you publish new content. We use the free tier of the OneSignal service.

  • Take it all offline! Print posters directing to your newsletter sign-up page or homepage, table for sign ups at community events, and host events that bring the community out to you. IndigiNews created a printable poster which featured a QR code that linked to its newsletter sign-up page. The publication also shared social media graphics and encouraged the audience to post across social media to show their support for IndigiNews.

Grow your audience through new distribution channels

We don't know how other distribution channels will be impacted by these legislative changes. For now, let's cast a wide net and see what sticks.

  • Set up news aggregators like Flipboard, Apple News, Ground News and Newsbreak. Keep an eye on Google News in case the Canadian government is able to broker a deal with them.

  • As old fashioned as it sounds, link to your RSS feed on your website. For Indie Tech publishers, your RSS feed can be found at, e.g., For example, we love this explainer from The Narwhal.

  • Try focusing on different social channels like LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter. Energeticcity shared its new social strategy with their audience, which includes converting a few stories daily into videos that will be posted on TikTok and YouTube

  • Consider testing out newer platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky.

  • Connect with other publishers for newsletter swaps, content sharing and ad space swaps. For example, IndigiNews partnered with The Conversation’s anti-racist news podcast Don't Call Me Resilient. They did a newsletter ad swap and co-produced the episode, “Why preserving Indigenous languages is so critical to culture.”

  • Encourage sponsors and advertisers to promote their partnership with your publication on social channels and in their newsletters. 

Respond to audience need

  • Rethink how you are approaching news. Use social media as a relationship builder instead of a link pusher.

  • Invest in short video content to engage readers via TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. This will also help you reach the younger demographic, which primarily consumes news through video. For example, Quebec outlet Pivot has been growing its TikTok account and its videos have garnered over 14,000 likes and counting. The Kansas City Defender has built up its Instagram following to over 32,000 followers by taking inspiration from outside the industry to reach their target audience. 

  • Become a more centralized source of news. 

    • Explore aggregated curated newsletters. 

    • Add a section to your website highlighting external links to news. 

    • Explore content sharing between publishers. 

    • Subscribe to CP or AP RSS feeds to increase frequency and become more of a destination for news. For example, The Flatlander, an independent online journalism project that covers Manitoba and Saskatchewan, incorporates stories from The Canadian Press to supplement its coverage of the region. 

Educate your existing audience about C-18 and offer alternatives

  • Add an automated CTA at the bottom of your articles with quick ways to connect with your publication, like subscribing to RSS feeds, following on other social channels or distribution channels. 

  • Keep your audience informed about these changes and how it's impacting your publication. For example, Newfoundland and Labrador’s The Independent produced this video addressing how its readers will be affected and what they can do about it. The Breach publisher Dru Oja Jay wrote this article breaking down the flaws in Bill C-18. 

  • Take interviews with radio stations and newspapers to get the word out about how Bill C-18 is affecting independent publishers. For example, The Independent editor Justin Brake has done interviews with a local radio station and the CBC. Publishers have also been taking interviews, like this article in the New York Times with Matthew DiMera (The Resolve), this article in the Toronto Star with Eden Fineday and this article by NBC with Anna McKenzie (both IndigiNews). 

Leverage this moment as a campaign opportunity for audience and revenue growth

  • Get aggressive with popups or other CTAs on your website to sign-up for your newsletter.

  • Contact your past and current sponsors/writers/board members, etc. and ask them to sign-up and forward to friends, family, colleagues.

  • Continue to run lead generation ads on Meta to keep reaching your audience and move them to other platforms.

  • Encourage readers to bookmark your website so they can access news and information in one click.

  • Create shareable templates for socials, asking readers to share them with friends. You can distribute these through email and put the newsletter sign-up link in the graphic itself.

  • Focus on selling newsletter, in-person event and content sponsorships.

Still have questions about how your publication can respond to Bill C-18 or become less reliant on Big Tech? Let us help. Indiegraf has the expertise and resources to support you during this time. To learn more, reach out to schedule a meeting with us!

I have more questions! 👋

From the Indiegraf network ☁️

⭐ The House of Ni’isjoohl and its community in northern British Columbia are joyfully preparing to welcome home their memorial pole, which has been in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh for 94 years. (Windspeaker)

⭐ The crime beat has been a staple in Canadian journalism for decades. While many newsrooms have made public statements recognizing the problems of systemic racism in the wake of 2020, practical changes in how we actually report on crime have thus far been disappointing. (The Resolve)

⭐ What is Nevada’s climate strategy? There isn’t one. Gov. Joe Lombardo cancels the state’s climate strategy with no replacement in place and won’t answer questions about it. (Sierra Nevada Ally

⭐ Some of the top eateries in Greater San Diego are clustered in neighborhoods in the 92101 ZIP Code. Vote for your favorite in the first-ever Downtown Dining Readers’ Poll! (The San Diego Sun)

⭐  Bowler Randy Fred swept the national Para-Bowl Championships to win gold — now he’s rallying for other visually impaired lawn bowlers to compete. (The Discourse)

In this week’s news 📰

🏆 Congratulations to Peterborough Currents, who is a finalist in the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Business Excellence Awards. The awards promote the advancement of responsible business leadership and prosperity within the community. P.S. The publication is also running a supporter campaign to double the frequency of the newsletter to weekly. Check it out here.

🤝 Athens County Independent co-founder and editor-in-chief Corinne Colbert will be attending the Radically Rural summit in Keene, N.H.. Held Sept. 27-28, the summit brings together experts in fields such as community journalism and entrepreneurship to create strategic opportunities for transformation in rural communities. Say hi to Corinne if you’ll be there, and learn more about this year’s programming here!

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Indiegraf provides independent publishers with tools, direct support and capital to grow their audience and drive multiple revenue streams — all in one place.

We’re on a mission to make news entrepreneurship a great career and life choice for journalists everywhere. Have your own outlet? Reach out, we can help!

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