Reach launches email innovation lab and plans slate of new newsletters

Reach today unveiled an email innovation lab ahead of a string of new newsletter launches across the country.

The company announced that it is partnering with Google to create the Lab, which will accelerate its work in developing new ways to reach local audiences.

With funding from the Google’s Digital News Initiative (GNI) to support digital innovation, Reach is launching new daily bulletins for areas including Bristol, Lancashire, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham to offer audiences curated editorial content that is most relevant to them, and to amplify local journalism.

Reach will work closely with the Google News Initiative’s Innovation Team to share learnings and gain advice in areas like digital infrastructure, analytics and personalisation, and really refine the most effective ways to connect audiences with the content that would resonate the most.

Learnings from these projects will then go on to inform Reach’s wider newsletter strategy.

Dedicated newsletter editors have been recruited and placed at the heart of selected regional newsrooms to work hand-in-hand with editorial teams, putting CRM skill sets at their fingertips.

The Email Innovation Lab has resulted in the creation of 12 new roles, focusing on reaching audiences who may not have considered consuming news content with Reach’s local titles before, and giving more reasons for existing readers to stay on site.

The Lab will be led by Innovation Editor Paul Gallagher, and will also involve a number of new launches around the country to tap into local expertise and learnings, including:

● A series of ‘passion-based’ newsletters launched in and around Bristol focusing on communities of interest
● Borough newsletters in Walthamstow and Croydon (as part of MyLondon, which recently surpassed its competitors to become the most-read London title)
● A series of geographical newsletters launched in Lancashire

Following recent success with titles already launched in Bristol, today Reach launches The Mancunian Way — a weekday email with local editorial content for Greater Manchester, offering a more in-depth look at the issues behind the biggest local stories, such as housing, transport and the environment, with more launches to follow.

The new daily bulletins will curate content carefully tailored to subscribers’ daily routines and interests with a conversational tone to reach a new generation of readers, using audience data to inform what topics people most want to hear about.

This partnership builds on early success with Reach’s newsletter work; 300 million emails are now sent from Reach to subscribers each month, with a slate of over 400 different topics grown since Reach’s Customer Value Strategy (CVS) launched in 2020. Total page views from newsletters increased 127% from 22.2 million in January to 52.8 million in December 2021, reaching more of the UK than ever before.

Reach Chief Audience Officer David Higgerson said: “We already reach more people across the country than ever before.

“We now want to create local communities people can really be part of. Partnering with the Google News Initiative enables us to accelerate our learnings and break new ground, uniting our expertise and audience insight to really distill the magic ingredients that encourage people to engage with
our content in this format.

“It’s a privilege to be invited into someone’s inbox on a daily basis, and we need to keep working hard and innovating to retain that right. The launch of these bulletins will be the first of many as we supercharge our email offering to amplify our local journalism, and provide audiences with the content that matters the most to them.”

Benedicte Autret, Strategic Relationships, News & Publishers at Google, added: “The Google News Initiative works side-by-side with publishers to build a more sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem. Local news is more important than ever, and we are happy to support Reach as it experiments with personalised newsletters to increase reader engagement in its local communities — building on many years of close collaboration
and partnership.”

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