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How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

The Inside Story Behind the Successful Newsletter

This creator spotlight has been reposted from creatorspotlight.com

Wouldn't it be great if you could stay on top of world events in just a few minutes a day — and it wasn't boring or confusing?

How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

That's precisely what the team of global affairs experts who developed the International Intrigue newsletter set out to create. And with their daily five-minute briefings, they've hit the mark.

International Intrigue is the brainchild of former diplomats who understand how geopolitics, business, and technology intersect. The daily newsletter goes beyond headlines by providing context and analysis of current events.

According to Aine Stapleton, one of the founders of Intrigue, the publication got its start because the creators were "sitting at home twiddling [their] thumbs" during the pandemic.

How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

"I was doing my master's program in London at the time," she told us, "as was John, one of the co-founders of Intrigue. Both of us come from an international relations and global affairs background. I studied it. John was a diplomat. His friend Helen was a diplomat who had decided to leave the Foreign Service."

"John originally decided to start writing the weekly substack blog just for fun,” she explains. “As I said, he was sitting at home twiddling his thumbs. The goal was to speak [about foreign affairs] in a very casual manner — to use colloquial terms and not take any assumed knowledge, so you don't have to be an academic to get it."

People responded immediately. Within a few months, the publication had 2000 subscribers and received a great response from readers. The four grad school friends started discussing creating a business around the newsletter. They knew there was a demand for more accessible sources of information based on their own experience. "Most of us were falling asleep reading The Economist, and, really, who turns on the daily news on TV anymore?"

How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

"I think everyone [in newsletter publishing] looks to Morning Brew as the gold standard," says Stapleton, "but what does a global affairs Morning Brew look like? It's basically the idea that you can communicate big issues in a very simple way and include everyone in the conversation."

The team tries to keep their material readable and lighthearted, although their subject matter doesn't always lend itself to humor. "With global affairs, you can't joke about wars or hunger issues, but you can at least try and throw in some of the good stuff happening in the world. "

Finding the Right Content Strategy

How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

The daily version of International Intrigue officially launched in October 2021, and the newsletter has been on an upward growth curve ever since — although there were leaps that gave the creators some significant clues about the right direction for their voice and content.

"We've never lost more than we gained in a month — we've had consistent growth. But finding what fit was a struggle. We started out wanting to cover the whole world, really inclusively, and not focus on hot-button issues. But then last year, when Russia invaded Ukraine, we gained something crazy, like 6,000 subscribers in 48 hours, because we were doing nearly live coverage."

How the International Intrigue Team Built a Daily News Service

It was a real lightbulb moment…

How does International Intrigue work with sponsors and generate growth?

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