What would an automatic digest be worth?

Hey folks! Ghost Expert here, doing a little market research. I’m curious to know what a service that generated digest newsletters for your Ghost content would be worth as a monthly subscription.

You’d configure (easy web form) what frequency your wanted for your newsletter, whether to include a default heading section or a different one that you wrote custom for each (day/week/month), what tags to include, and whether to send full post bodies or just the excerpt. My function would take that information and check your site automatically each day/week/month, pull the data for the new posts you’d made, create your digest newsletter, and schedule it for Ghost to send to your subscribers.

Is that something that folks would find useful as a paid add-on? If so, what’s it worth to you? (If you’re willing, maybe also share how many subscribers you have currently, for reference.)

No, I haven’t written it yet. I’m looking to see if there’s enough interest (and ability to pay) to justify writing it. :)

Update: I offered for a client last week to build something that lets users pick specific tags to get in a combined newsletter. That’s also a possibility, but it’d mean that each user effectively gets their own personalized email, so would require a separate integration with mailgun or similar, rather than just scheduling emails with Ghost…

Yes, it would work on Ghost Pro.

p.s. to anyone who missed it: There’s a built-in way to include your three latest posts in a newsletter: Include latest posts in newsletters . This proposed offering would go significantly beyond that in terms of automation and customizability. :)

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Not sure what subscription price would be reasonable for an add-on. I’m a WordPress user and was evaluating Ghost as a WordPress replacement. I’ll need to stick with WordPress for my current project since Ghost can’t automate the newsletter. Hopefully, current Ghost users will chime in on this and help you out with the pricing aspect.

Regardless, I will repeat my original assertion that newsletter automation should be part of the core Ghost code. There is already a setting that “automatically” adds the last 3 posts to a newsletter. It doesn’t seem too onerous to have an additional setting or filter with options such as “last week”, “last month”, or even a date range.

Based on my research, one of Ghost’s key differentiators is providing a newsletter subscription service. As such, it seems like including more advanced capabilities for generating newsletters would be a focal point for developers, to further distinguish Ghost from other CMS software and Substack.

My two cents…

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It would be definitely interesting to be able to send just an excerpt instead of the whole blog post. I would think: $5/month since this is a function that should be native of ghost.

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Hello @Cathy_Sarisky, sorry for the delayed reply.

Yes, this is something I’d potentially be interested in, particularly what you mentioned in your update in regards to users being able to pick specific tags for a combined newsletter.

First off, this would be for a site that’s yet to launch, so it’d be starting off with zero subscribers and then increasing to who knows how many.

Secondly, this functionality would be for a Ghost site aggregating several other Ghost sites, new posts from each aggregated site getting dropped into specified categories on the aggregating site and thus assigned the relevant/associated tag.

Ideally the workflow for this automated digest would be for subscribers to choose which categories they’d like included in their personalised weekly newsletter by choosing from a selection of newsletters in Portal. I’m not sure if Ghost’s API would allow for newsletter subscriptions to be accessed and “hijacked” in this manner though. If not then I suppose a dedicated page would suffice.

I understand that the extra step of allowing users to select specific tags for a combined newsletter would unfortunately entail a separate integration with Mailgun or similar. Unfortunate, but so be it. My only issue is that design-wise, I think it’d be nice if the email could be laid out similarly to how I described it in that Idea post that you posted a message to, where each category has its own section in the email and then posts are displayed as nice looking bookmark cards. But if this would have to work independent from Ghost, well, would you be able to “borrow” Ghost’s bookmark card-creating functionality to include links/posts in this way?

Oh, and I’d be willing to pay the going rate for this, whatever that would be. :upside_down_face:

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Now you’ve posted this Allan (@Stromfeldt), I’ve the courage to post my thoughts.

Having retired, I’m designing my first personal blog and I’ve chosen Ghost - using the well known free Simply theme by godofredo. I have been creating content for 12 months and have a lot of 6 to 8 minute read posts ready to ‘go’. I was planning to distribute a number of selected posts each week using the current options in GhostPro. I’ll have the usual two tiers, free and paid (£30/year or £3/month), with classic options for each. If I get 100 paying subscribers I’ll be pleased. If I get 1000 after three years I’ll be both ecstatic and believe I’m dreaming.

I do have experience designing, building and running two blogs using Drupal for charities with a paid membership for the services provided, but I was not responsible for pricing nor all of the content. So, this is an entirely new area for me.

Because I already have a lot of content on diverse subjects, I have a lot of tags. Consequently, if I reach more than 30 paid subscribers, I would really benefit a great deal from your proposal Cathy (@Cathy_Sarisky).

But how much would that be worth to me?

Well, that would all depend on whether or not you decide from the feedback you get here and elsewhere on the topic of a ‘tiered model based on subscriber numbers’. As opposed to a fixed annual price as a service, whatever the membership.

So, the old classic “GhostPro or Substack or self-hosted” choice I suppose.

Here, you have an audience of self-hosted Ghost and the GhostPro model (of fees).

So, my generic answer is that, whatever you decide, maybe consider avoiding making it exactly like Substack’s fee structure.

And then, to turn that statement on its head, for me, I’d seriously consider using 5% my income between 30 and 500 paid subscribers to pay for your proposed service, which would be roughly between £50 and £750 per annum for me when I go live.

If I ever get over 1000 subscribers, that would mean I had a serious business needing the next GhostPro tier and which is both a pipe dream and a situation that would require much more thought than I can give here in ‘my’ real world.

It’s a great idea!

I would pay between $50 to $250 one time (or scale per user) depending upon the functionality. Especially if it was in some sort of toolkit bundle.

Yep - I’d pay for that depending on the functionality.

Not sure about subscription - but a one time cost would work.