GREAT IDEAS

Opt In allows newsrooms to improve newsletters or create one from scratch

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Eighth in a series to help newsrooms curate effective newsletters:

After more than a year of research, Crosscut Public Media, in partnership with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, is thrilled to announce the release of our much-anticipated digital tool: Opt In, the newsletter optimizer.

Why newsletters?

Email isn't going anywhere. In fact, email not only has outlived and outshone other tools, it has remained the one constant in a stream of new technologies. As ReDef executive Jason Hirschhorn told The New York Times, email is "the cockroach of the internet."

In recent years, e-newsletters have become essential engagement, branding and revenue-generating tools for modern newsrooms. Newsletters can help freelancers and newsrooms:

  • Grow reader loyalty with both your news product and network.
  • Gain valuable insight into the content that matters most to your audience.
  • Recruit relevant sponsorship and underwriting partners.
  • Communicate membership or subscription value propositions.
  • Grow sustainable support and traffic for your coverage.

Why did we create this?

This free, easy-to-use tool was built for newsrooms and freelancers to begin addressing the challenges of newsletter curation. As it stands, newsrooms no longer have the time nor the resources to maintain unfocused newsletter programs that don't achieve their goals. Likewise, poorly curated or automated newsletters are no longer effective, failing to achieve adequate open rates or maintain healthy subscriber bases. Our team has bundled a powerful package of best practices, strategies and resources into one digital newsletter wizard, which walks newsrooms and writers through the essential planning, considerations and decisions needed to curate effective newsletters.

What does it do?

Opt In is an online tool that gives news organizations, freelancers and regular people the ability to build an e-newsletter strategy from scratch, or create a plan to improve upon an existing one. The tool addresses all elements of newsletter production and maintenance, including various design and revenue models, content, marketing and metric dashboard options, as well as resources and staffing considerations.

Opt in

What do you get out of it?

Whether you plan to iterate and optimize an existing newsletter or create a new one, the tool hones in on the user's primary intention for creating the newsletter and builds out from there. Upon completion, users are given a full newsletter creation strategy in the form of an Opt In playbook, which they are then able to use to generate a brand-new product or improve one they already have.

Refer to your playbook to create and maintain your own newsletter, or share it with your newsroom as a ready-made, comprehensive strategy for your newsletter program.

How do you use it?

It's simple. Create an account and get started. The planning process should take about an hour, and you can save your work and log back if necessary.

Here's to a happy inbox. Thanks for optin' in!

Newsrooms can no longer afford to distribute poorly curated newsletters. Yet executives from many modern newsrooms say they lack the financial and staff capacity to do otherwise.

In early 2017, Crosscut Public Media, in partnership with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, will be releasing a new, free tool for newsrooms and newsletter curators to begin addressing this challenge. The team has bundled a powerful package of best practices, strategies and resources into one digital newsletter wizard, which walks newsrooms and independent writers through the essential planning, considerations and decisions needed to curate effective newsletters.

Leading up to this release, we'll share periodic posts to help prepare your newsroom for the tool, and to highlight teams and individuals who are succeeding at curating effective and engaging newsletters.

Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz is the editorial coordinator at Crosscut Public Media and part of Crosscut's RJI Fellowship team.

Read the previous columns in this series:

newsletters

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