How theSkimm plans to grow its new wellness newsletter to 1 million subscribers

TheSkimm plans to reach its goal of 1 million subscribers to its wellness newsletter, Skimm Well, by the end of 2024. The newsletter currently has 100,000 subscribers after launching six months ago.

TheSkimm’s CRO Mary Murcko told Digiday that 50% of those subscribers are new to the theSkimm and don’t subscribe to its other newsletters, such as its flagship Daily Skimm. Overall, theSkimm has an audience of 12 million across platforms, a spokesperson said. The company declined to share how many total newsletter subscribers TheSkimm has (though it had over 7 million subscribers in 2022).

The team behind theSkimm thinks this year’s news cycle with the presidential election, the Olympic Games this summer and reproductive health legislation — as well as issues around the economy, the lack of federal paid family leave, maternal health care and cultural polarization — will get more people to subscribe to its wellness newsletter this year.

Skimm Well has worked with advertisers like Virgin Group, Harry’s, Galderma, Maude, Bloom Nutrition and Good Patch. In addition to advertising, Skimm Well makes money from affiliate links on product recommendations — such as its in-email section “We Tried It,” which features editorially reviewed and recommended products and gift recommendations.

Digiday spoke with Murcko and svp of content Julie Alvin to learn more about how theSkimm plans to reach its goals for Skimm Well this year. Murcko and Alvin declined to share Skimm Well’s exact click-through rate, but Alvin said it was “well above industry average,” which is roughly 3%, according to email service providers MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

How are you planning to get to 1 million Skimm Well newsletter subscribers this year?

Murcko: We get referrals from our … total ecosystem of 12 million. That’s a big part of it. Then of course, we also advertise [on social]. … And we are talking about things that … are happening right now so that also enables us to bring users not only from other Skimm properties but from other places like social, web, our podcast. I think that’s why we’ve seen growth very quickly … but also why we’re on track to hit this million by the end of the year. It’ll be gradual through the year.

Where are the newsletter subscribers coming from?

Alvin: A lot of them are coming from referrals. People are sharing the existing product with friends. We do a lot of wellness content on social that I think gets people curious about our wellness products. So they might be subject to our social reach, but not already subscribed to our newsletters. Sometimes we will create web versions of wellness content that they might arrive at through search or other places that point them to subscribe to the wellness newsletter. We have a lot of experts and influencers in the wellness space that we bring into this newsletter. So that then is giving us access to their audience if they’re sharing, ‘Hey, I was in the Skimm Well newsletter,’ and giving them the opportunity to share with their audiences so those people subscribe. … If you’re creating a really effective product, your users become your own marketing team.

Are advertisers from the Daily Skimm also paying to appear in Skimm Well, and do the rates differ?

Murcko: We have our larger partners [who] do a lot of different things with us. Whenever we’re coming out with new [products, they want to try it out.] But then we have this whole group of advertisers too that are buzzy, maybe direct-to-consumer, zeroed in on wellness and health. [Most of our] advertisers … they’ll do something in Skimm Well, the Daily Skimm, they may do a podcast. It’s not just one thing. 

The [rates do differ], depending on the size. But because it’s one larger program, a lot of times it’s either impression-based or CPM-based as a total. You could buy an integrated package, and you buy impressions and everything across the entire package. 

How much money is Skimm Well bringing in?

Murcko: It’s very new. We wouldn’t really be able to talk about that until the end of 2024.

Is there a goal in mind for how much money you want the newsletter to bring in by the end of the year?

Murcko: Not yet. We’re really looking at this as a way to help our partners talk to [our audience] in totality. So we rarely kind of split out each [vertical], we look at the whole. Everything is bespoke [and branded content], so [it depends] on who the advertiser is [and] which areas of theSkimm [they want to be in.]

How did you develop the Skimm Well newsletter?

Alvin: We were really seeing a lot of traction already in the wellness category before this vertical was even formally launched. Our wellness content consistently overperforms on social. We had a few wellness events that got a ton of engagement [and] really, really positive reactions from our audience. We’ve done a good amount of wellness service content that is some of our highest traffic SEO content. So we had all of these indicators that this was important to our audience and … found that this is an especially crucial category for our audience.

We are developing new newsletters, audio, new properties in general in a way that is much more like product [development] than typical editorial development. … We did a lot of user testing, audience polling, one-on-one interviews — with people who are within theSkimm audience or people who are not yet Skimm users but are within the demographics that we most typically reach — [and] click data and various other sources of information to find out what our audience needs. … Via all these sources, our audience told us that they’re concerned for their own mental and physical wellbeing and that of their friends.

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