At some ungodly hour each morning, your alarm is bound to go off, and if you’re like me, you’ll blindly slap your phone, eyes still closed, hoping you happen to press “snooze” rather than inadvertently turn it off. Eventually, though, chances are you’ll roll over and grab said phone and begin your morning ritual of scrolling through feeds and email. Born was the beauty of a simple business plan: “We read. You Skimm.”
Founded by two former producers for NBC News, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin teamed up as the masterminds behind theSkimm, a daily email newsletter that arrives in subscribers’ inbox sometime around 6 a.m. that has been featured in NBC’s Today Show, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Bloomberg, InStyle, CNN and more.
theSkimm, which turns 2 on Friday, primarily targets Millennial women pressed for time with its bite-sized, gender-neutral news that ranges in topic from politics, sports, entertainment, international affairs, finance and more, all of which is made both relatable and easily digestible through the lens of Weisberg and Zakin’s signature voice.
(Extra, extra!) Read all about it:[more]
brandchannel: In three words, describe the personality of your brand. How did you shape it?
theSkimm (Weisberg and Zakin): Fun. Smart. Engaging.
Carly and I have always loved the news industry and knew we wanted to be part of it from a young age. We worked hard to get jobs in it and learn from the best. Then we began to notice that our friends, very smart, educated, leading women—would ask us basic questions about what was going on in the world. They weren’t watching or reading what we were doing at work. But they needed the information. We saw a void in the market for a news product marketed towards this audience in a way that fit in with their routines and spoke to them like they were speaking to us—as a friend.
So our friends were really the inspiration for both the voice and the product. We didn’t really spend a lot of time shaping it in the beginning—we each wrote a draft, concentrating on how we would break down an issue if we were just talking to them in person. We were lucky that we both clearly had the same vision for it.
brandchannel: theSkimm’s tone of voice is an expression of the people behind the brand. How do you keep it consistent?
theSkimm: We have a style guide that we spent a lot of time working on. We also spend a lot of time on exercises as a team that help us personify the brand.
brandchannel: Yours is a story about doing things differently. What do you think readers like most about theSkimm?
theSkimm: theSkimm sounds like your friend telling you what you need to know. It’s relatable and to the point.
brandchannel: theSkimm is quite an undertaking for a couple of 20-somethings. What have you learned, and where do you see it going?
theSkimm: This started out as a very personal project for us—a mix of hard work, very hard work, timing and vision—and that has continued. But we have learned so much along the way about how to turn an idea into a business. What fuels us is knowing how many people engage with the product each day and write us, telling us how it makes them feel. We want to do more with the brand and bring it to as many people as possible.
brandchannel: Aside from informed, how do you want theSkimm to make readers feel?
theSkimm: Confident and ready to take on their day. And, on some occasions, we really like a laugh out of them.
—Taylor Goddu has circumnavigated the globe by ship, is always busy planning her next trip, and never leaves home without a camera. You can find her in New York—for now.