Three years ago, the world was in the middle of a fake news crisis. It was a few months before Donald Trump would be elected president. We were getting almost all our news – for better or for worse – from social media.
That’s when Joanna Track decided she had to do something about it.
The seasoned entrepreneur saw a gap in the Canadian marketplace and, relying on her extensive experience with email newsletters, decided to launch The Bullet.
She tapped into her network of content experts to get things off the ground, and it didn’t take long for word to spread. Now, her small (but mighty) team of four sends a newsletter seven days a week to tens of thousands of Canadians.
We sat down with Samantha Speisman, editorial director & founding partner, to learn a little bit more about their business:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to The Bullet?
A: Modern life is hectic. From work schedules to personal commitments, there’s little time left for anything else — especially reading the news.
Which is exactly where The Bullet comes in. The Bullet’s daily morning news blast delivers premium content directly to subscribers’ inboxes, cutting down the time it takes to get caught up on current events. Each weekday, our team scours the web for the day’s biggest stories and compiles them into a must-read and lighthearted digest. The news can be confusing — we make it simple.
On Saturday mornings, we send out The Weekend Shot, which is packed full of lifestyle news. (Think fashion, beauty, travel, wellness, home and food.)
And on Sundays, we send out The Long Shot, which is a longer form article that does a deep dive into a trending news topic – while maintaining our signature non-newsy tone
Q: How do you choose stories? Are you neutral?
A: Our audience is front and centre when it comes to choosing what we include in our newsletter. We regularly conduct reader surveys so we know what our audience is looking for. We also have a pretty clear picture of our demographic, so we always ask ourselves “will this news affect a 30-something’s life?” “what kind of impact will it have?” Once we’ve answered those questions, our story lineup usually becomes pretty clear.
While we try to stay neutral, our values lean towards the left. We’re unapologetic about supporting the environment and equal rights. We sometimes get hate mail about it, but if you don’t like where we stand on those issues, then our publication isn’t for you.
The greatest challenge for our business is monetization. That is definitely not a new problem for a media company! But it is very frustrating when you are living it. We have an amazing product that we have honed over two years. We know it’s great because of the continued growth and engagement of the audience (as well as regular feedback from our community). Yet, people (both advertisers or readers) don’t want to pay for it. We (digital publishers) spoiled people years ago by offering them everything for free and now it’s hard to change people’s attitudes to put a greater value on it.
How we’ve overcome this:
We are constantly looking for new ways to monetize the business, some more successfully than others. We have decided to focus on what we are best at and most passionate about, which is developing newsletter content. We are offering what we do to other brands by developing and white labelling content for them. This allows us to be less reliant on ad dollars as our primary revenue model.
How to convince a reader to use our platform:
Sign up! We always encourage people to read us for a few days. Then they are hooked :). If they aren’t ready for that commitment they can see all of our content on our website.
Plans for the future:
Expand as a white-label publisher while building out our own content as well through other mediums (video, podcast). The magic of what we do is in our tone and how we simplify information. There are so many more topics we can cover so we want to do what we do across more categories.Activate Social Media: