Could I be the only one interested in an email newsletter covering the tech scene in Eugene, Oregon?
Late in 2016 I became interested in email newsletters. A few month before I started a podcast that covers the streaming industry. To prepare for the Stream Team Show I have to do two things every week.
The first is watch t.v. and movies. The second is to stay on top of industry news.
As you can imagine streaming, and on-demand content has a lot going on each week. At first I tried to follow everything on my own. I wised up and learned about the power of curation. That’s when my interest in email newsletters started to grow.
I began hunting for newsletters about different topics. Later looking for an email newsletter covering my interest in the tech scene here in Eugene. I didn’t find one.
Let’s outline my ideal email newsletter covering the tech scene in Eugene. That way you can steal the idea, create it, and let me be subscriber number one.
Skating towards the puck
For the past month I’ve been hunting for content covering technology around Eugene. I found little.
This lead me to write that the tech scene in Eugene has a media problem. That doesn’t mean building a newsletter covering this space is impossible. It will take more hustle.
With things trending the way they are more news creation will happen. Trust me, more content is coming.
By starting a newsletter now you’ll be skating towards where the puck is going not where it is currently. If that’s good enough for Wayne Gretzky should be good enough for anyone.
The power of email newsletters
Email has been a powerful medium for years now. It’s not died. Top Angel Investor, Jason Calacanis has even said email newsletters might save journalism.
Newsletters make it easy to respect readers. You don’t have to trick them into clicking on links. You don’t have to try for ‘viral’ post to get more page views.
The only views that seem important are those to the initial sign-up form. The main metric is email open rate. Because of this you can cut most click-bait tactics.
Email is open and allows a one to one relationship with people. You’re not building your house in someone else’s backyard. You have control over the delivery method. No dealing with Google algorithm changes, or Facebook’s pay to play method.
The cost to maintain an email newsletter is low when compared to other types of publications. Going digital is definitely more cost-effective than producing a magazine or newspaper. Email newsletters are even cheap compared to websites or a mobile app. They have lower hosting fee’s, little design cost, and need little to no custom coding work.
In theory, this means more money can go back to editors and content producers. And because of that I hope you’re less tempted to try shady revenue models.
“It’s quite an honor to have someone give you their email address.” – Kiefer Lee, MailChimp Editor via FastCompany
An ideal tech scene newsletter for Eugene
Let’s talk about what I’d want to see in the newsletter. Because you’ll be making this for Oregonians like me right?
I’m looking for content that fills a void. Curated content for entrepreneurial minded folks living in Lane County. It would also help if the content is engaging, entertaining, and intelligent. Tall order, I know.
And that, my good friends is what I want created.
A company inspired by Inside, theHustle, and theSkimm.
It’s tough describing something that doesn’t exist. But like VICE did to other legacy media sites. I’m looking for a similar spin on hyper local old school media providers. The newsletter could be the first step towards a bigger vision.
Finding the target
The first mission: aim to be Eugene’s most trusted technology and startup news curator.
Finding the target is something in the center of this three circled Venn diagram.
- Curated Newsletter Focused Company
- Tech Focused News
- Local Focused News
The ask is weekly email of curated tech focused Eugene news.
We can look to many inspirational content producers in each section of this Venn diagram. But we’ll talk about a few.
Inside has a clear format and focus in Group ‘A’. I’m also a big fan of the voice used in theSkimm, another big player in this group.
theHustle can fill the cross-section of Group ‘A’ and ‘B’. It also has a unique voice like theSkimm that resonates with its community.
There are a lot of players covering tech news in Group ‘B’. A few worth modeling the newsletter around are Recode, and Wired.
I should mention Silicon Florist for cross-section of ‘B’ and ‘C.’ It’s a blog covering Portland’s tech scene. EugeneTech’s new blog most likely fall into this area as well.
The Register-Guard is the obvious choice for Lane County related content. Solid member in Group ‘C’. A few other outlets like Daily Emerald do things well also.
Anyone else hungry for a newsletter living in or near Eugene, Oregon? My stomach is rumbling.
Steal this idea
So by this point you should have enough to steal this idea. I say steal with all due respect.
It’s a curated email newsletter that focuses on the business and people of Silicon Shire.
You might want to put this idea through an idea meat grinder. Better yet build your own first and see if it works for you.
Is funding is your concern? With enough subscribes you could monetize with advertising or a classified space. Like any other local news outlet.
What local business wouldn’t want to get in front of skilled people. But this type of project is easy to bootstrap in the meantime.
If you’re anything like me, working on a project like this would be fun on its own regardless.
It’s important to bring up the benefit of working with others in the community. There might even be a local organization in Eugene that can put something like this together. EugeneTech, TAO, RAIN Eugene, and Fertilabs are a few that come to mind. But again this is something that one person can bootstrap. Plenty of successful newsletter have done so already.
A few steps to get you started
If I was going to create this type of email newsletter here’s what I would do.
Join local tech community. Create a few blog post about the Eugene tech scene or even write a few example newsletter emails.
Sign up for an email service. MailChimp is the first that comes to mind be there are others.
Create a quick landing page. Nothing too fancy here. A simple landing page with one or two paragraphs and a sign-up form. You can optimize later on.
Find a way to gauge interest in the email newsletter. If you get crickets don’t worry you saved yourself a lot of trouble. If the initial goals reached got straight into curating .
Add as many Eugene content providers to a rss feed. Setup email alerts for the Eugene Tech Switchboard. Create a twitter list following members and business in the local community.
The original goal should be subscriber growth. Which you can gain in a lot of ways.
I wouldn’t want to throw money at. So let’s assume that you feel the same way. In that case word of mouth will be your best friend.
Continue going to local meetup groups and events. Continue curating and creating the best content you can.
Build the first thousand subscribers. Only then would I try to monetize an anyway.
If you can get away without the money I would focus on subscriber growth for as long as possible. You want advertisers reaching out to you. Work, work, work.
Hunting for an email newsletter focused on Eugene’s growing tech scene
I like getting news delivered in concise summaries, with tons of links, context and GIF’s. Now I want to receive my local tech and startup news in the same way.
It would be helpful to have a spin on a current local tech and business events. With insights on why we should care. The idea is to deliver a limited amount of content to build awareness.
So you’re wondering, if you want this so bad why not create it yourself? It might be time to take my own advice.
So again please steal this idea. But as a backup I’ll gauge interest in this type of email newsletter.
We’re looking to build curated newsletter that covers the fast growing sector in Lane County. The tech sector. We’ll find dozens of stories in the local area, and summarize the top few so you can get up to speed fast.
It’s also important to show what Oregonians have learned from winning big or losing big.
If you’re interested in something like this cast your vote by entering your email address on this page.
Also tell your friends! When we hit 100 “early adopters” we’ll launch the local newsletter. If we can grow readership, we can keep doing more to connect the community here in Eugene.
It starts with spreading the word.