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Case Study: The Publish Press by Colin and Samir

We connect with creators, Colin and Samir, about how they expanded from YouTube to newsletters with The Publish Press

Colin and Samir are longtime YouTubers who are the hosts and creators of The Colin and Samir Show, a weekly interview and analysis show on the business of creators.

They got their start 10 years ago working on their first project, The Lacrosse Network, A YouTube sports network dedicated to lacrosse. They’ve interviewed creators like MrBeast, MKBHD, and Shelby Church.

In May of 2021, Colin and Samir launched The Publish Press—a twice-weekly newsletter featuring creator economy news and analysis, written for creators looking to deepen their understanding of the business of creators. Less than a year in, The Publish Press has over 20K subscribers and a 45% open rate. It is written full-time by Hannah Doyle with editorial direction from Colin and Samir. We spoke with the team just after The Publish Press made the move over from Substack to learn about why a newsletter was the next logical step for two creators already big on YouTube.

The Newsletter: Publish Press

The Team

Colin and Samir: Founders and editors

Hannah Doyle: Writer

Top posts to check out

2022 Goals

  1. The ability to deliver on our core value prop of education and empowering creators through providing news and analysis. The channel is great for long-form content and interviews, but email/newsletters are best for delivering news content paired with quick-hitting insights.

  2. Deepen our relationship with our audience.

Advice for other writers/creators

  • Focus on your content before you think about growth. We didn’t think about growth until the newsletter was in our minds an A+ product

  • Stay focused on what your value prop is and who your audience is. There are always going to be other newsletters/media properties out there writing about the same things as you. If you don’t have a specific lens or take on it, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Forus, we are always by creators, for creators. Writing about the business of creators from the creator’s perspective. This guides us every issue in terms of story selection and analysis.

  • Keep it brief, scannable, and visually dynamic.

Favorite beehiiv features

  • The platform is clean and has better deliverability;

  • The team is investing in growth features - both on user acquisition and data/analytics.

Why did it make sense for Colin and Samir to follow up their YouTube channel with Publish Press?

In May of 2021, our YouTube channel was growing steadily and we had a clear focus area for our content.. There were countless different moves we could have made. Courses? Merch? Community? Job board? Our goal was to find something that would add value to our audience and hit on our core mission of empowering and educating creators, but could scale beyond our time We set out to build The Publish Press media company, starting with a newsletter covering the business of creators. While we knew we wouldn’t be the first newsletter about the creator economy, we believed we could approach this burgeoning industry in a way no one else was: the business of creators, from the creators’ perspective.

Tell me about the newsletter, how is it distinct from their video-based content?

On YouTube, we are interviewing creators and talking about the business side of being a creator/entrepreneur and the show isn’t typically tied to the news. As the creator economy has boomed, there’s more and more news breaking each day that we wanted to be able to provide quick learnings and insights that our audience can walk away better informed in their own work. We thought the newsletter would be a great way to serve and engage with the audience. With our core mission being to educate and empower creators to make being a creator a full-time job, the newsletter allows us to do that through current news.

The Publish Press is not just giving you a headline, it’s outlining a curriculum using real-life examples, i.e. breaking down an event/news/insight and teasing out what it means for the ecosystem of being a creator. We take a holistic business approach to each news item to ensure that there is a lesson included.

What do you have coming up?

We are launching a third weekly issue on Sundays. We want to be able to dig deeper and provide more evergreen content by highlighting a single creator story and hone in on the aspects of it that provide larger insights that our audiences can learn from. It’ll be a nice Sunday read.

What motivated the move to beehiiv?

Beehiiv was offering features and programs that were lacking in Substack. We plan to launch a referral program and that waswas the biggest missing piece. The beehiiv referral program was a huge value-add. Second, the analytics were minimal on Substack and are on many other platforms.

Specifically, not being able to see total/unique clicks on a specific link (just a whole number percentage, no decimal points) limited our ability to provide quality insights to our advertisers, which is very important to us. We’ve been working with the beehiiv team on their data & analyitcs, we’re very excited about the direction they are taking. And third, we appreciate the flexibility in email design beehiiv is offering. .

Why is data important to your strategy for Publish Press?

What often happens is that new newsletters launch and maybe they already have a built-in audience on Twitter or elsewhere and will get an influx of subscribers from that—but then they hit a lull in growth and stagnate. For actual, intentional growth efforts, whether it’s a referral program or some kind of cross-promotion or paid advertising, you want to know the specifics around the quality of your subscribers. It’s a lot of effort to grow, and the data that other platforms provide using makes it hard to engage click rate, where the subscriber came from, etc. beehiiv is going to build in such a way that it is going to make it easy to understand your subscriber quality and allow it to inform your growth strategy. They are very growth-oriented and working to make changes that will make evaluating your own growth efforts easier. The Publish Press is very aligned with that.

How was the migration to beehiiv?

Simple! Done in minutes, the content import was seamless.

What growth strategies are you implementing on beehiv?

We’re launching the referral program and getting out some fun merchandise. With the robust data beehiiv provides, we’ll also be able to confidently start spending on paid advertising to grow the newsletter.

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