How The Newsette Founder Built a $40 Million Media Business in 2021

Daniella Pierson founded the lifestyle and business-focused daily newsletter, The Newsette, while on hiatus during her sophomore year of college, and within seven years turned it into a business of $40 million. It was thanks, she said, to a subscriber base of 500,000, which allowed the company to end 2021 with an eight-figure profit.

Now the 26-year-old entrepreneur, who is also CEO of the media company, plans to invest millions across the business to grow the business this year, including the new creative agency, called Newland. .

In the latest episode of the Digiday podcast, Pierson acknowledged that the growth hasn’t come without challenges: “It was really a back and forth until the last few years,” she said, and his team only recently doubled in size this year to 25 people. . It’s “really important for young entrepreneurs to know that just because something doesn’t take off and make millions of dollars a year or two doesn’t mean it can’t make it and year five.”

Pierson herself is also channeling her entrepreneurial spirit in new ways this year, working with co-founders Mandy Teefey and Selena Gomez to create Wondermind, a startup focused on democratizing access to mental health care that operates a production studio, a media branch and a product. business.

Below are the highlights of the conversation, slightly edited for clarity.

Exponential growth in ad revenue during a pandemic

We started working with Fortune 500 clients on a bigger scale. [We were] showing them [that] you could spend $100,000 on this website, where they say they get 20 million impressions or views per month, but what does that really translate to in an article? If you are one of the 5,000 articles published each month on this website, do the math – you end up with few readers on the article. And so I think when people realize how much more powerful advertising is with us [is], and how many more eyeballs, more engagement, and more clicks we’re able to generate, that was a huge sign for them that they should keep investing a lot of money. I almost feel like there’s this incredible wave now, where people are seeing newsletters as the solution to that audience dilution that a lot of traditional websites offer.

Quality over quantity

We’ve been so focused on cleaning up our list, unlike other newsletters, where every year it grows by 500,000 or a million [subscribers], we really focused on having the top 500,000 people on our list. Then we are able to show customers: “Look how many people are watching your content. Watch how many people click. Maybe other email newsletters are just trying to push the top number up, and not really purging so their top number can be large. But when people see the results, it’s a little disappointing.

Turn advertisers into agency clients

The reason we are spending millions of dollars to develop not only the media business but also the agency business this year is because every client we have for the agency business came from the media side of the business. And now we’re finally opening up to the ability to choose a few select customers that we may not have had on our radar before, who fit what we’re trying to do, and who are excited about the amplification we’re doing.

We are also able to develop strategies for creation, but also for amplification, by managing strategy, creation, social strategy, paid social strategy and public relations in a holistic way. And this combination of offers results in lower CPMs for customers [and] we deliver too many impressions. It’s really the magic of being able to have a team that really cares about this like it’s a media company, and really just honing in and understanding how we can make it win for everyone.

Cathy W. Howerton