Why some media newsletters aren’t designed for clicks
With the Quartz Daily Brief, readers get a tight compendium of around 25 stories from Quartz and other news sources. The business publisher recognised that people are no longer coming directly to publishers’ sites through social media side doors, so it takes the approach that everywhere it publishes is a platform in an of itself, rather than just a way to get people to Quartz’s site, said Gideon Lichfield, senior editor in charge of the Daily Brief.
“We think of email as its own thing, as opposed to servicing of another part of the platform,” Lichfield said.
Similarly, Ozy, a millennial-aimed upstart, designed its Presidential Daily Brief to be entirely read in email and is planning to do the same with its other email newsletter, the Daily Dose. The Presidential Daily Brief summarizes around 10 stories from around the U.S. and the world, with links to Ozy and other news sources. Ozy claims 1.2 million subscribers in all for the Daily Brief and Daily Dose as well as custom newsletters it develops for distribution partners.
“One of the realities of the digital world is that people aren’t going to consume content on your site,” said Aneesh Raman, vp of marketing and audience development at Ozy Media. “We’re trying to be more of a digital native. So we think about our audience as a group that’ll consume Ozy in different times with different means.”
Similar thinking was behind Briefing, a summary of five of the day’s top stories that’s designed to be read in three minutes. William Nutt, a recent college grad turned digital consultant, who launched Briefing six months ago, said, “The idea behind the Briefing is that it really provides the day’s most relevant news stories and the meat of those stories and imperative context without having to go to outside sources and sift through the myriad information out there.”
For readers, there’s something comforting and satisfying about getting to the end of a list of hand-picked articles. As people shift reading to mobile devices, where publishers’ article load times are notoriously slow, there’s an even stronger case to be made for the self-contained email newsletter that doesn’t require clicking out. And at a time when publishers are increasingly pressured to publish on others’ platforms, email newsletters let the publisher control the user experience and advertising revenue.
“For us, email isn’t a nice to have, it’s a must-have,” Raman said, “because when you’re on social feeds, we’re on someone else’s land.”
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