My Authors
Read all threads
In 2019, I set out to do something simple:

Recreate the local newspaper in digital form, by creating a simple daily newsletter focused on Victoria, Canada, my home town 📰

I hired a journalist and we started sending out a quick summary of what’s happening every day at 7AM...
We wanted to give people a quick overview of what’s happening (news, events, sports, arts) in 2 min or less.

Something you can skim over your morning coffee, like the front page of the newspaper, to feel more informed.

I figured it would be a short lived goofy experiment...
After all, local/community news is dead, right?

Nope. Not at all...
It turns out people—at least in Victoria—are desperate to know what was happening in their local community.

I’ve been involved with all sorts of flashy companies, but for the first time I got stopped in local cafes and people gushed about Capital Daily, our newsletter...
Before we knew it, we had 5,000 subscribers.

Then 20,000.

A year later, we have over 40,000 subscribers.

The population of Victoria is only around 367,000, so 1 in 10 residents reads our newsletter(!).

We are now bigger than The Times Colonist, the 100 yr old daily paper...
We’ve started hiring full-time journalists to do original reporting and covering topics that other newsrooms (focused on short form quick bites) can’t or won’t cover.

So what made this work so well?

A few things:
1. We figured out the pareto principal. 80% of the results for 20% of the effort. We realized that the key thing people wanted was a simple briefing instead of a complex news website.

The job to be done was: “something to skim that gives me a rough sense of what’s happening”...
2. We cut out all the legacy costs of a news business. No printing press. No office. Cheap software (Mailchimp/Webflow).

3. Most importantly: we used cheap digital advertising to build up our audience. We spent about $200k on Facebook and Instagram with almost zero competition.
These keywords are untouched. Nobody is spending money on news audience acquisition.

Think about this: I could have gone and bought the local paper for $5-$15MM.

Instead, I spent $200k on FB ads, $50 on Mailchimp, and $60k on a writer and BOOM!
Now I own the largest daily audience in the city, with no gatekeepers (direct to inbox, no FB or platform risk).

I expected to burn money, but now advertisers are lining up and we’ve realizing it can not only break even, but be profitable...
My original goal was to make the community more informed, bring important issues to the forefront, and report on stories that others couldn’t or wouldn’t.

So we’re going to keep pounding our profits into hiring more journalists, and I’m continuing to inject cash to grow faster..
But what’s cool about this is that, even in 2020, local news is relatively untouched (everyone thinks it can’t be done) and can be profitable...
We are doubling down. I have hired an amazing CEO and we want to roll this out across Canada and maybe the US, but I wanted to share some inspiration for anyone thinking about how to best support local news....
For about $100-200k, you can probably do something similar in your city.

Hopefully we can do some good and start to re-engage people in local issues.
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Keep Current with Andrew Wilkinson

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!