How the Seattle Times earned $400,000 from its morning newsletter

H&R Block, from Giphy

Talking about newsletters in my newsletter today. How meta.

But seriously, newsletters are one of the hot topics in media right now because we have so much data on how they are the first step to converting a user to a subscriber. Or, put another way, newsletters are the “zero subscription” as a Google product manager said at the Google News Initiative Summit that I attended in March.

Poytner has a great interview with Kris Higginson, the editor and lead writer for the Seattle Times’ Morning Brief newsletter. Higginson will be leading a seminar on 25 May about developing a successful newsletter at Poynter.

One thing to note: They use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to produce their newsletter. They had been using Mailchimp, which is what a lot of companies, including mine use. Despite the issues always involved in transitioning to a new platform, Salesforce is important to their strategy because:

Marketing Cloud is part of a bigger suite of programs. It lets the business side have more insight into audience behavior. We can see what content drives conversion. We can offer related content based on individual user habits. These abilities underscore our goal of increasing digital subscriptions.

Behind the success of The Seattle Times’ Morning Brief newsletter, by Mel Grau, Poynter

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A worksheet from the New Yorker to help you develop your newsletter

Pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical intellectual, and deist, Paine is shown here, in the town of his birth, with a copy of his most celebrated work, ‘Rights of Man’, published in 1791. by Robert Alexander

I’m in the process of developing a daily newsletter at my day job, so newsletter strategy is at the forefront of my mind. That’s why it was super helpful that in the top story of today’s newsletter there is an interview with Dan Oshinsky, who oversees newsletter strategy for The New Yorker. GEN interviewed Oshinsky on how they develop newsletters. Not only is there several good points in the interview, but there is also a link to a worksheet that the New Yorker uses in developing its newsletters. It’s a really handy resource.

In building the organisational case that of all of the digital things we could do that we needed to prioritise a newsletter over other things, I pulled on a lot of data and analysis that newsletters are critical to building a loyal audience primed for membership. I work for one of the longest member-driven media groups in the US, a regional NPR/PBS group, and this is

One of my go-to quotes on newsletter strategy comes from an earlier review of newsletters at The New Yorker and Oshinsky’s thinking in which they found:

Last year, Condé Nast’s data science team built a model to predict which factors best determine whether a NewYorker.com reader will become a subscriber. Whether someone was a newsletter subscriber was the No. 1 indicator. Thus, The New Yorker can draw a straight line between the quality of its newsletter readership and its bottom line: more newsletters subscribers, in turn, means more paid readers.


With its new newsletter director, The New Yorker wants to experiment with standalone and international-focused products, by Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab

In addition to newsletter strategy, there is also a really good look at the 1000 true fans theory and what that means for journalism start-ups.

Have a great weekend. And if you have a story, let me know on Twitter, @kevglobal, and if you want to subscribe to the newsletter, it’s easy to do here.