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Newsletters can be a useful tool for newsrooms looking to grow reader loyalty, find out what content matters to their audience, and even generate revenue from external partners.

But managing these can be a challenge for newsrooms that are lacking time or resources, and trying to maintain them and their subscriber base can lead to publishers falling into the trap of pushing out unfocused, ineffective newsletter programmes.

However, a new tool from Crosscut Public Media, in partnership with the Reynolds Journalism Institute, called Opt In has been developed to help publishers and freelance journalists begin to build an e-newsletter strategy, or create a plan to improve upon their existing one.

How does it work?

Through a series of questions and advice, the tool, which launched earlier this week (5 June), walks newsrooms and writers through the planning, considerations and decisions needed to curate effective newsletters, addressing all elements of newsletter production and maintenance.

If you want to improve your current newsletter, have on hand your current number of subscribers, current click rate, current open rate, and any existing research or data you have about your audience.

The process takes about an hour, and you'll be asked a variety of questions about your newsletter, and will have to write down, among other answers, what your vision is, your business model and geographic location. All of this will help you to differentiate between the different types of newsletter models and what is best for you.

You'll be given a full newsletter creation strategy in the form of an Opt In playbook, which aims to be a business plan to help you to make editorial decisions about your product.

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