Aug 15, 2013

How Slate Manages 11 Different Newsletters

Slate is a daily web magazine that’s been reporting and analyzing politics, news, technology, and culture for nearly 20 years. Its editorial team produces a staggering amount of content every day, so it makes sense to categorically divide that content up when it comes to email campaigns. Slate has 11 of them that they use to keep their readers informed. That’s a lot of newsletters! So, how do they stay organized? Product Manager Chris Schieffer explains…

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A day in the life

"It varies pretty heavily. We have two Product Managers at Slate, we have a healthy group of products to oversee, and I also support The Root, which is Slate’s sister site. Today, for example, I worked on laying out The Root’s new homepage wireframe with its publisher, discussed a project schedule and tasks with The Root’s development team, helped Slate’s Ad Innovations team better optimize their articles for SEO, reviewed a Slate product schedule with our VP of Technology and Product Manager, and met with our editorial team on a different project."

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Divide and conquer

"Who manages the newsletters really varies by newsletter. Primarily, members of our editorial team manage the newsletters they’re responsible for. Our Slatest editor manages both Slatest newsletters we have. Our books editor manages the monthly book club newsletter. Other members of the staff manage our other ones. We’ve integrated MailChimp into a middle layer that talks to our CMS, CQ5, to allow for a self-service experience for all newsletters. Some are updated manually in CQ5 first, then sent through the middle layer, then scheduled in MailChimp. Some are the most recent items from a topic or section that requires the person in charge of it to log in to the middle layer to schedule and send."

Collaboration amongst teams

"Day to day, it’s autonomous, but when we’re figuring out the best way for someone to maintain and send a newsletter, there’s quite a bit of collaboration between Product, Technology, and Editorial on how the user experience should function. How Editorial pulls in the stories they need to in the quickest way, and get them to MailChimp seamlessly for sending, for example."

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Learning from analytics

"We also collaborate on analytics and how we can best optimize our newsletter content for engagement. We use MailChimp’s analytic tools to find out which types of headlines and content do well, and also what the best performing locations are inside each newsletter. MailChimp provides a very helpful reporting interface."