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8 newsletters launched in 8 days by German local publisher Madsack

Hey newsletter friends and a special welcome to all new readers. This is Mark from Revue and today I
The week in
A weekly update for newsletter editors and audience managers, sent every Tuesday morning in the US, afternoon in Europe, and evening in Asia.
Hey newsletter friends and a special welcome to all new readers.
This is Mark from Revue and today I have another very interesting interview for you.
Hannah Suppa, who is in charge of digital transformation for German local news publisher Madsack, was able to make a little time in her busy schedule. And shared many details about their foray into newsletters with 15 newsletters launched in the last few weeks and many more coming.
Hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. If you do, please forward this email to your friends. And if you’re one of those friends, please consider signing up for this weekly newsletter for newsletter editors, audience managers and product managers.
Interview with Hannah Suppa
Madsack Media Group is one of the largest publishers of local news in Germany with titles like Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Leipziger Volkszeitung or Lübecker Nachrichten. To support their new subscription model “Plus” they managed to launch eight newsletters in just over a week.
That’s a lot of new newsletters in a very short time. Especially considering none of the publications had any experience with newsletters other than automated notifications.
To find out how they did it, I spoke with Hannah Suppa who is in charge of digital transformation and is also one of three managing directors for RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), a central hub within Madsack providing global news coverage as well as knowledge and support on technology, product and innovation.
According to Hannah, the two keys to being able to launch eight newsletters in eight days were clarity on strategy and an easy to use tool for editorial newsletters.
The strategy starts with a push towards reader revenue. Madsack had recently introduced the award winning “Plus subscriptions” for all titles - unlimited access to all digital content that had been moved behind the paywall for a flat monthly fee.
Newsletters have been at the center of pivots to reader revenue for many publishers. So Hannah and her team were working on plans to use newsletters at each step of the “Plus subscription” funnel:
  • Acquire new audiences by launching newsletters targeted at segments not served previously.
  • Retain readers by getting them to come back frequently with the help of newsletters geared towards their interests.
  • Convert readers into paying subscribers by including links to “Plus” content and promoting subscription offers directly in the newsletter.
Then the corona pandemic hit and kicked the plan into high gear. Interest in trustworthy information about the local situation and measures due to the virus was sky high and RND wanted to launch two newsletters for two local brands about the coronavirus as soon as possible.
Enter Revue, an editorial newsletter platform created for publishers. The team at Revue was able to set up the newsletters within days and allowed RND to launch the HAZ Corona-Update and MAZ Corona-Newsletter on March 23rd, 2020, at the height of the pandemic.
Revue takes care of the template and design and makes sure that the newsletter looks great on any device and email client. It also has an easy to use editor that lets authors without prior newsletter experience get started instantly. “If all tools were as simple, journalism would be much better off,” one editor said.
Editors write the newsletter directly in the final layout that readers will see. And simply drag & drop articles that have been published online into the newsletter, complete with image and summary.
Readers loved the corona updates, too. Many wrote back praising the consistency of the daily updates and the personal tone of voice.
And RND was ready to start rolling out new newsletters ambitiously using a framework that helped decide which topics are suitable. Each newsletter needs to either help, inform, or surprise the audience. And cover one of the four key areas of providing identity (e.g. family), service (e.g. local events), information (e.g. corona regulations) or personality (e.g. a well-known author).
Some of the newsletters launched in rapid succession include:
  • “Raus aufs Land” - tips for weekend trips to the countryside, published by the Märkische Allgemeinen Zeitung (MAZ), which is located in Brandenburg, but aimed at people living in closeby Berlin that had never been MAZ readers previously. A great opportunity to acquire a brand new audience.
  • “Leipziger Volkszeitung Familie” - a newsletter for families with information about schools and daycare as well as fun things to do in the region. Perfect for retention in a key segment.
  • “WAZ-Autopilot” - everything you need to know about Volkswagen, the largest employer and big force overall in Wolfsburg, home of the Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung / Aller-Zeitung. This content is key to many people in the region and a great way to drive conversion to paid.
  • The “Corona Vacation Update” - published by the Ostsee-Zeitung in Rostock, but very much aimed at readers throughout the rest of Germany who are wondering if they will be able to go on vacation at the Baltic Sea amidst the corona regulations.
Some concepts are geared towards specific region or title, others like the corona updates or a weekly update by the editor-in-chief or another well-known author are easily rolled across all publications.
All newsletters were well received, so in the meantime, Madsack has launched a total of 15 newsletters in rapid succession.
“Rolling out this many newsletters in such a short time was a great boost for our business. And in only a few weeks, Madsack was able to convince 400 new people to try out the subscription product through newsletters alone. That would not have been possible without Revue, a platform 100% focused on helping publishers be successful with newsletters”, said Hannah.
We were glad to hear that and mightily impressed by the determination and execution of everybody in the Madsack team.
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Mark from Revue

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