Since 2005, TechCrunch has been the go-to source for the latest news on technology and startups, with a thriving events business and 15 million monthly active users (per ComScore). Then they decided to bring on something extra. On February 12, 2019, with the help of Piano’s platform for digital media, the Verizon-owned company launched Extra Crunch. The subscription-based product offers users access to exclusive deep-dive content especially for startups, savings on TechCrunch events, and a premium experience that includes the new Rapid Read and List Builder tools — making it easy to read content faster or simply save it for later instead.
Piano spoke to Travis Bernard, TechCrunch’s head of audience development, about Extra Crunch. Part 1 covered the planning process. In Part 2 we find out how they positioned their product, including pricing, audience and marketing plans.
Travis Bernard: Extra Crunch appeals to a specific subset of our readers, and a lot of those were readers that were already coming to our events. These are people who are building companies, or people who are part of a company that's being built. And that can stretch anywhere from the actual entrepreneur or somebody who might be head of product, to investors who are involved in helping to fund the endeavor, to even people who are involved in HR and marketing as part of these startups. If I were to summarize it at a really high level, it's about creators: people who are building products or companies, or are part of companies that are building the future. We know these types of users want resources to help them save time and money.
Bernard: How we actually got to $15 per month, or $150 per year, was really about competitive analysis and interviews with our readers, as well as looking at what's currently out there right now and how are those products priced, and what are our existing readers willing to pay. And I think we'll continue to watch how people respond to it — obviously if we need to adjust it moving forward we'll be certain to do that.
Bernard: We're in a good position for marketing, because we're not a brand new site. We already have millions of readers who are coming to read our tech news every month, and we also already have a pretty robust events business. So I think a lot of our marketing strategy is really about taking advantage of the channels that we already are doing well on. For example, we have over 10 million Twitter followers, and are leveraging that to help bring more people into the Extra Crunch funnel.
Outside of that we're taking a lot of the traditional methods, and obviously we're using Piano to help market the experience on site. But I would say for the most part we're focusing on organic promotion and not putting too much emphasis on paid acquisition at this point. We want to make sure we see how our tried-and-true loyal readers are experiencing and enjoying the product first before we start reaching out to cast the net a little larger.