In trendy and media trade media at least, the Substack-as-new-model-for-journalism story seems to have already come and gone. Yet there’s so much more left to tell. Perhaps the Substack story’s next phase is best told inside out, through the eyes of a newly self-minted author — such as James Ledbetter.
SWMS contributor Rhiannon Pacheco writes: With Covid keeping people out of the aisles and in front of their screens, buying more online than ever before, fintech and ‘buy-now-pay-later’ companies such as Klarna, Affirm, AfterPay, Marqueta are rising in popularity and dominating recent headlines.
Based on our research, here’s a look at story types most common in the payments and banking spaces these days, coupled with a short list of must-pitch reporters, and some diamonds in the rough, too. Keep a sharp lookout for the story types, using them as templates for your own approaches.
Why did we choose payments and banking for the latest SWMS deep-dive? Everybody buys something. If the payments space doesn't constitute the largest total available market of all time, it's close. Banking? For a decade, startups have struggled to monetize those who don't use banks, or barely use them.
When planning your coverage strategies for 2021, rethink the power of Tier 1. Don't assume "Tier 1" means best-of-breed coverage. Tier 1 editorial brands imply a level of leadership that may not hold up under scrutiny. Remember too that the older the brand, the more prestige it tends to enjoy in the C-suite.
The following are excerpts from a Dec. 2020 interview with James Ledbetter, author of the FIN Substack newsletter. James’s responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
“Whose ox will be gored by this?” That’s what EICs often ask reporters when their hot trend pitch seems a little too frothy. Fintech stories always passed this test. Robo-advisors will nuke the brokers! Bitcoin will sink the banks! So will the online lenders!
Those days are over.