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Case Study: Milk Road by Ben Levy and Shaan Puri

How the creators of Milk Road are planning to be the Morning Brew of crypto

sBen Levy and Shaan Puri founded the newsletter Milk Road to be light-hearted easy reading about the complexity of web3 and the future of crypto. Ben and Shaan were friends first, finding overlap as start-up founders and eventually working together in Shaan’s personal brand, including his podcast ‘My First Million.’ In the summer of 2021, Ben and Shaan dove deep into crypto and decided to turn their hobby into a full-time gig. Ben and Shaan launched Milk Road as a daily newsletter 3 months ago. They offer consistency and a warm, jaunty tone to transport the lofty conversations about crypto into a casual conversation you’d have with your smart friend over a beer. Milk Road features their take on recent news (I.e. Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter), launches (i.e. Logan Paul launching a DAO), meme of the day, audience reviews and questions (with answers), macro predictions, trend analysis, and curated links. Just don’t ask them about what coin they think will go up next, it’s not what they are doing. As Ben puts it, “if we knew that, we wouldn’t be doing a free newsletter.” They are building the project they would enjoy themselves and building the community they want to be a part of. We chatted with Ben about bringing humor to crypto and using their mission to establish audience behaviors.

The Newsletter: Milk Road

Founders: Ben Levy and Shaan Puri

Top posts to check out

2022 Goals

We want to be the Morning Brew of crypto, to eventually grow to be 1-5 million subscribers

Advice for other writers

Spend the time finding something that doesn't feel like work so creating the content consistently is easy. It’s also the best content you can make.

Favorite beehiiv feature

Segmentation- it’s an easy dynamic way to see different pieces of data based on segments, it allows us to cut the data in any way I want, for example, I can look at new subscribers from the past week and see open rates, click through rates. I can look at subscribers who were referred and understand their behavior. I’m able to quickly and easily find out the good subscribers and the bad subscribers.

Advice for anyone considering a switch to beehiiv

It’s a new platform so it’s one that going to grow with you. The beehiiv team knows exactly the problems we’re facing and they are focused on the types of media we care about. The beehiiv team is quite responsive to our needs. When we want to build features, they hear us and if it’s not doable in the short term, they are figuring out work arounds.

Tell me about Milk Road

We’re long time believers in crypto, Milk Road is our vehicle for having the fun and interesting conversations we want to be having about the world of web3. We are not offering analysis on daily price action and instead are looking at the future of the space. Think, Barstool Sports for crypto.

Why a newsletter?

Newsletters build the best behaviors, email continues to win in terms where people are most likely to see you. I think that email is easier to get through than the twitter alogorism. It’s much harder to grow and scale a podcast. A daily newsletter is best suited for creating a behavior. People grow to expect you in their mailbox and it creates a feeling of community. We had the advantage of Shaan having a a big audience on Twitter, so that gave us a jump start.

Tell me about the decision to launch on beehiiv

We connected with Tyler in November and it just seemed like he was going to build the product best suited for what we wanted to do- build a newsletter the scale and size of Morning Brew, with the features that Morning Brew wanted, including analytics and tools for scaling.

What is Milk Road’s approach to talking crypto?

When you see people making a lot of money in things, it’s natural to be curious. We’re helping to keep up in a way that you’re gonna understand. Our target customer is not someone trying to make money fast, but is interested in the technological implications. We want them to be asking what is the right way to invest and to make their way in this space.

What’s been the most impactful in growth?

We aren’t looking to change much about the newsletter, we have our shape and quality is there. Expansion for us looks like taking on projects that are interesting to us and can further engage our community. Down the line, we might offer a course in crypto or web3 native, or a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). Last week we offered a $25K grant to someone who wants to build something in crypto, no strings attached. We received over a 1,000 applications. Our bar for projects is whether or not it’s something that Shaan and I would enjoy ourselves, something that we’d want to work on or read about.

We’re 75 issues in, nothing is ever really what you expect it to be. We’ve learned what people like and dont like. But it’s harder than I expected, figuring out what’s interesting on a daily basis is taxing. There’s an art to finding those interesting bits and then figuring out how to package them so people understand them. There’s an appetite for this and we’re just experimenting to figure out what works. For instance, Beehiiv’s referral feature is really nice and that’s probably accounted for 5-10% of our growth. The beehiiv team is building really helpful tools for growth. We drive a lot of viewership from Twitter. Our most viral content ever has been a tweet thread that Shaan posted on the Metaverse. We want to keep growing our list through fun and smart content.

Tell me about Mailbag, a feature where you post and respond to reader questions

Mailbag is another way that we’re connecting with our community, as if we were at a pub talking about some new ideas and thoughts. That’s what we bring through in everything we do and Mailbag is an example of us trying to execute that. The most important thing we can do to build trust in the audience. We’re not trying to sell anyone on anything, we want to talk with our audience and build a cultish brand that is interesting in exploring new ideas. We get a lot of questions about what we should buy, what we shouldn’t buy. We don’t respond to those questions, we don’t claim to know what coin will go up next. If we did we would be doing that and not a free newsletter. It’s a much more fun thing. Short term price movement isn’t always based on funademnetals, it’s based on other factors. We’re looking to create a behavior with the audience, so we won’t respond to questions that are looking for investment advice. But if someone is asking about the future broadly, we are happy to talk about this.

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