Of the many subscription emails I get a day, the one from Quartz stands out. I always open it and I almost always click several links. There’s something about the personality of the emails, the choice of links, which resonates for me.
So I was interested to read this 2013 post from MailChimp on how Quartz approaches email. Some takeaways:
Email is the original social media
For a publication striving to “embody the era in which it is being created,” email was the obvious choice for Quartz. “Email is kind of the original social media, right?” [Quartz’s Zach Seward] says. “It’s how people share the most important things with their most important contacts. We also figured that as people spend more and more of their time on phones, email would become only more important.”
Link to whatever sources best serve readers
Whether one of its 20 reporters—spread out across New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Asia, Europe, South Africa, and India—write it, or they find it elsewhere and link away, is unimportant. “Our only objective is to write the best possible morning news briefing that we can,” Zach says. “If you start with that premise, it’s clear that we should link to whatever sources best serve our readers, whether that’s us or other news organizations. Our readers will like us for it, and reward us by opening our emails, which they do at a crazy-high rate.”
I’d love to know how high their open rate is.
Each Quartz Daily Brief, from start to finish, involves about five or six people. “Generally one person writes and one person edits and sends, per edition,” associate general manager Sara Lerner says. The Quartz team built a plugin to integrate MailChimp with their custom WordPress content management system. They use permissions so that only editors can send the campaigns, but everything happens within one interface.