Today, we pause our regularly scheduled programming to take you behind the scenes, giving you an inside look at the state of our business and how this email ends up in your inbox every morning. We’re inclined to say it’s a simple task, yet we find it important to have an open and honest conversation. We’ll let you know upfront that we’re going to ask for your support to ensure that we can continue to grow and serve this community. So, here’s how it all comes together:
We’re local and grateful: Morning, LAL – Abby and Kaylee here, your local editors. We’re proud to live, work and play right here in Lakeland. In some positive news: Now more than ever, people are paying attention to what matters most – the community they call home. Through your support in sharing this newsletter with friends and family, this year we’ve seen a 30% increase in newsletter subscribers, open rates are up 42%, and engagement is at an all-time high. We couldn’t thank you enough for your loyalty and participation in our daily conversations.
Our community drives the conversation: Each morning, you all fill our inbox and social feeds with hundreds of emails and messages: questions, answers, content submissions, press releases, story ideas, feedback and much more. Keep it coming. You can always reply to this email to reach us directly, drop us a message on social, or contribute via our community Voices platform.
Your friends are reading too: Did you know that you’re one of over 215,000 subscribers that wakes up to one of our emails each morning? You can get an idea of who’s reading along with you here, and you’ll notice that our community of friends is growing.
We couldn’t do it without a team: While our local editorial team is here in Lakeland, we are part of 6AM City, a hyper-local network of newsletters across the Southeast. Our 6AM team works alongside us, or in our sister cities, to ensure that we can focus on local content, fostering community relationships, and delivering a quality product each morning. They handle sales, client services, branded content, graphic design, growth marketing, and much more. Thank goodness.
Money doesn’t grow on trees (unfortunately): To deliver a free daily newsletter to our community, we work with over 250 advertising partners across all cities on annual contracts, accounting for 85% of our revenue. These partners leverage our branded content and display offerings to connect with you; our local, social and vocal audience. The other 15% comes from ecommerce listings (Digs, Jobs, Events, DealOfTheDay and Celebrate).
The COVID-19 impact: At LALtoday, we rely on our advertisers. While most of our contracts have sustained (thank you to all of our advertisers), the struggle is real and advertisers are shifting their spending to later in the year and slowing down new marketing commitments.
To continue to support the local business community and our livelihood, we’ve developed low cost, short term offerings to support those who are still working to reach their customers. If this is you, send us a message at [email protected]laltoday.com and we’ll do our best to help.
We’ve got some expenses: As one would expect, our staff makes up the majority of our expenses. Luckily, our business model was built on a nontraditional approach to local media, minimizing content creation and distribution expenses. Instead, we doubled down on talented people and processes that are designed to help our local editors aggregate, curate, narrate and facilitate the conversations of the community. We are happy to share that we intend to hang in there through this pandemic and retain 100% of our team.
How you can support LALtoday: It has been and will remain our priority to offer our newsletter and supporting platforms free for all. We greatly appreciate the hundreds of thank you emails we get on a weekly basis, and we thought now would be as good a time as ever to introduce a new way for you to say, “thank you.”
If you’d be willing to make a one-time contribution to supporting local journalism and our mission, it would be hugely impactful. Any support is appreciated.
100% of the funds received from our readers will be used towards the salaries of our local editorial team. (That’s us!) We greatly appreciate your support for LALtoday and the local community.
Like you, we don’t know when the dust will settle, but your contribution will ensure that we can continue to keep you informed, engaged, and entertained as we get through this challenging time.