Creator Spotlight: Geoff Sharpe

Helping people understand, enjoy and live their best lives

This creator spotlight has been reposted from

What is Creator Spotlight?

Each week we'll feature a newsletter on beehiiv that's experiencing tremendous success with their content and growth. It's a two part initiative packed into a single day:

  1. an email showcasing their content, tips, and goals (this email here)

  2. and a live Twitter Spaces today where you can join the conversation and ask questions directly

Tell me about Ottawa Lookout and Beer Loop

Ottawa Lookout analyzes local news in the city. We help readers make sense of the biggest local stories. Beer Loop covers beer news in British Columbia - what to drink, where to visit, and reviews of breweries and beers. If it’s about BC beer, we cover it.

Both fall under the umbrella of helping people understand, enjoy and live their best lives in the communities they reside in.

Tell me about the lack of in depth, local news in Ottawa, how does the newsletter address this gap?

Ottawa is a weird market, it’s the capital of Canada, much like DC, so the media center is focused on federal politics, it’s where the center of gravity is. The local news is dominated by one company and they run two publications that are behind paywalls. They cover about 20% local and the rest is federal news. There are a lot of different sources out there, Ottawa is a big place, but no one was bringing the news and information Ottawans need in a seamless and accessible way. It’s working really well because there wasn’t anything like it in Ottawa.

In addition to news, you offer a membership level restaurant review offering, how is it different?

We also have a members-only newsletter that provides people with the city’s best restaurant reviews and dishes to order, a curated list of events and a whole bunch of ways to explore and love the city. We work with someone who does incredible food reviews and we decided to put up a paywall for this. We’re excited about launching additional verticals. We know that to keep people engaged, you need to offer products that are going to help people understand how to live their best lives in our city.

We’re still figuring out exactly what else we want to do on the membership side of things. We’re going to do events at some point. We’re excited about offering exclusive content, and that beehiiv is talking about developing ways to do segmented content. There’s not much quality content around what happens in local government, we can see creating a product that would benefit local institutions and companies that need to know what’s going on at City Hall. For now, the restaurant publication has been successful.

What have you learned about Ottawa and Ottawans that has surprised you?

I don’t currently live in Ottawa but I did previously. I really wish I had ‘The Ottawa Lookout’ when I lived there, I would have really enjoyed having that as a resource. I’m jealous I’m not able to go to some of the places we’ve reviewed. There’s an idea that it's a sleepy town, but for people who live there, it’s not. They love their city. I’ve learned that it’s an amazing city, which I didn’t necessarily know when I was living there.

The Beer Loop seems like a fun newsletter to report on!

Joseph, our writer, is a beer aficionado. He’s extremely knowledgeable and will eventually start his own brewery. He does the deeper stuff, the reviews of the beers, going out and trying new places. I work on engagement and other areas that make sense.

Where do you see The Beep Loop going?

I think we start small, proof of concept. Given what I've seen in the newsletter space. There are two ways you can go into a media industry, one is if you’re providing unique content. The other way is that your format is different. I look at the beer industry in Canada and I don’t see anyone focused on this, doing a newsletter like this. There are some beer publications, but I think they are lacking. I feel confident that if you can do this in one province in Canada, you can do it in others. There’s a lot of potential, we love beer out here. The quality is unbelievable.

Advice for other writers

A Lot of people say the key to a newsletter is great content. This is true. But if you want to grow quickly, you need to have strong understanding of different growth levers.

I’ve been doing paid media for over 10 years…

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