Email continues to be well-regarded by online publishers as another way to reach readers.

And for Bauer Media this delivery format has been placed front-and-centre with its new football launch, The Equaliser, which consists of an email at 1.45pm each weekday to subscriber inboxes.

The first of the daily emails went out late last month, with a target audience of "25-45 year old ABC1 men", although editor Richard Innes added that they are hoping it will actually appeal to "anyone: young, old, male, female".

The content model

The content of the email is driven by statistics, the backbone of any sport, supported by an arrangement with Opta, and highlights one approach to delivering data in a compelling way online.

The Equaliser 2
Screenshots taken from one example of The Equaliser

"On a daily basis I go to [Opta] and we have a discussion about what stats they have, on a variety of different subjects, but we're always looking for the day's key talking points," Innes told Journalism.co.uk for a recent podcast on digital innovation in sports journalism.

"The idea is that we, working in conjunction with them, come up with a series of new stats, that haven't been seen anywhere else, that offer a new insight, a new piece of analysis into that day's big talking point.

"And the idea is that we are then presenting that to our users, to our subscribers, in order to really make them as informed as possible."

He added that the aim is to give their subscribers a piece of information that gives them "that one up on your friends around you".

"I think that's always the key thing, being a football fan myself, you're always in a rush to try and find that new level of insight that you can almost pass off as your own."

And it needs to be "digestable" he added, in order to bring something new to the football content table.

"For very good reason other brands out there, they're really all about in-depth analysis and I think that definitely works for a certain audience.

"For our audience, what we're trying to achieve is, take those 10,000 word massive features and condense them and boil them down into an email that you can consume in a couple of minutes in your lunch break."

The distribution model

While The Equaliser has a website, this is simply a place where people can sign-up to the email, so its emails are the main product, supported by the sharing of content and data on its social media accounts.

The format itself requires the team – currently consisting of a publisher, editor (Innes) and designer, but with "scope and plans for that to size up as and when the time comes" – to consider ways of telling stories and delivering 'insight' in a concise manner, which can be tricky, Innes said, but also results in a unique offering.

"Clearly, just from a purely technical point of view you're limited in terms of there's only so much you can do within the email, as opposed to what you could do on a website, on a more standard website.

"It's been the challenge but I think that's also part of the USP, one of the things we're most happy about is how we've managed to rise to that challenge."

The emails are only sent out on weekdays at 1.45pm, bringing the content to the reader whether they are at work or checking their inbox on their mobile.

The current timing of 1.45pm was based on research of the target demographic, including their "email usage on a day-to-day basis, on a weekend basis, on a weekday basis".

While the emails are focused on weekdays, Innes added that they will then be "upping our social offering at the weekends because we feel again that reflects our users' existance".

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