3 Ways TheSkimm Perfectly Marries Email Newsletters and Social Media

Alarm goes off. Grab phone. Check emails. Scroll through Instagram. Read something over breakfast, or while commuting to work. Millennial women are greeting the day through their phones, and TheSkimm is already in their inbox bright and early to say “Morning, sunshine.”

The Daily Skimm is an email newsletter with bite-sized news recaps that arm readers with information they need to hop into any conversation about current events. Those remaining few in the “email is dead” camp should take a look at this e-newsletter’s success and lower those picket signs now. TheSkimm began in 2012, and has since amassed more than 3.5 million active subscribers, and an open rate around 40% (compare that to the media and publishing industry average of 22%).       

Co-founders Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin worked together as producers at NBC before taking the leap to start an evolved media company that matches the new morning routine of people like them – professional female millennials who are short on time. When much of your audience doesn’t even own a TV, it’s time to find a new place to reach out to them.

TheSkimm has made huge leaps in the last four and half years, partly thanks to a killer social media strategy that is intertwined with their email strategy. Here’s what we love about how they incorporate grassroots social media:  

1. They talk like your best friend

TheSkimm writes like its audience speaks. “The target audience has always been our friends—female millennials,” said Zakin in an interview with the American Marketing Association. “They are on their way to leading in paychecks and degrees, so why not focus on them?” A major benefit of this style, is that it makes the content so sharable. The subjects are serious (mostly), but are broken down in a conversational and often humorous way with a heavy sprinkling of pop culture references.

2. They make sharing easy

The Daily Skimm is broken into different sections for each news story. Each section has its own set of buttons to prompt readers to share stories to Facebook and Twitter. The buttons pull the section headline, a funny quip about the story, a link that opens that day’s Skimm in a web browser, and a graphic with TheSkimm’s logo into the post you’re sharing. All of this makes The Daily Skimm fun, shareable, and well-branded.

This technique is particularly smart, as it allows Skimm readers to easily share their favorite parts, while introducing their friends to the newsletter.

3. They use social for their #1 fans to spread the word

The Skimm’bassadors program is one of TheSkimm’s most impressive social undertakings. The newsletter’s super fans, aka Skimm’bassadors, can sign up to share their love of TheSkimm while being rewarded with swag and special access to the company and events at the same time. There are currently over 13,000 Skimm’bassadors actively spreading the latest news, and TheSkimm’s dedicated fan club continues to grow.TheSkimm gives these diehard fans a personal link to share with friends, and a guide explaining how to use tools like social media to get the word out. This has built a strong and ever-expanding community that has spilled over from the email realm to the social world, and it happened because TheSkimm listens to their fans.  

“People started writing back saying ‘I’m basically a brand rep,’ and that evolved into ‘I’m a Skimm’bassador for you.’ From there, the terminology came to be. We made the choice to invest in the program first. We sat down with our — at that point very small — team, and said, ‘We’ve got all these people who are calling themselves Skimm’bassadors. Let’s turn this into something.’”

-Zakin in an interview with NeimanLab

Make your email newsletter a social engine like TheSkimm

We love what TheSkimm is doing, and there’s much to be learned from them in regards to maximizing social media outreach within your email newsletters. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Be a human! Speak like your audience speaks, and they’ll be more inclined to share your content. Cut and dry doesn’t inspire someone to share.
  • Make sharing easy. Social buttons make it easy for your fans to spread the love. Buttons at the end of each section makes it extra simple for readers to share their favorite parts.
  • Listen, listen, listen. This is a rule for all things social media related. TheSkimm formed a very successful ambassador program by listening to what their fans wanted and how they were organically classifying themselves. Your fans can be your best think tank. Don’t forget to tune in!
  • Reward your super fans. Creating a system that rewards your most loyal readers for sharing your e-newsletter is an easy way to encourage word of mouth growth.

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Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams

Ashley has been crafting posts and building social media strategy since 2012. She's done social media in the nonprofit, socially conscious business, health, fashion and tech industries. She studied journalism at San Diego State University and brings years of newspaper experience to her social media approach. When Ashley isn’t helping brands make social media magic, she’s traveling the world (16 countries and counting) or enjoying San Diego beers.