There have now been three issues of the weekly Climbing Digest email newsletter, so I thought it was time to talk about the project in a little bit more in detail. As I mentioned in my site re-boot post, one of the projects I’ve wanted to launch for a while (quite literally years, as I registered the climbingdigest.com domain back in May 2011) is an email newsletter. The overall idea is to provide a weekly update on the news and articles I found interesting over the past week. With respect to news, these would be timely, but for other articles, there would be no strict timeline. If I stumble on a great article from six months or a few years ago, I’ll include it if I find it useful or entertaining.
I’ve spent many years curating articles like this — both on the @climbing Twitter account (over 32,000 followers) as well as curating an email newsletter for the Boulder/Denver area called the Startup Digest (which was eventually acquired by Techstars). Here, I spent about three years releasing a popular weekly newsletter highlighting the top events and activities for startups in the region before I handed over the reins to a new volunteer. So I have considerable experience (and enjoyment) building a newsletter and curating content.
So why now after having the initial idea years ago? There are two main reasons. First, my life situation has finally allowed me the opportunity and time to start and continue working on this project in earnest. Second, I feel there’s a large void to be filled concerning climbing news, articles, and overall information.
Many climbing blogs and sites have come and gone, while the total number of climbers has grown significantly. The popularity and growth of email newsletters have also expanded, but there’s not much catering to climbers that are independent of single source media companies like Climbing or Rock and Ice magazines. These newsletters are exclusively a collection of everything they published.
The value of an independent email newsletter (at least in my opinion) is curation without any obligation to a single source.
After only three issues, I’m pleased with the statistics. Both the open rate and click through on the links are way above industry standards (any way you categorize them). So that’s very encouraging, and I’ll be making significant efforts to ensure the content is there to maintain and even improve these stats.
As far as the future, I have no plans other than curating great articles each week. There may or may not be some form of advertising at some point, but for now, the goal is to continue improving the newsletter.
As always, if you have any feedback regarding this project, please leave a comment. And if you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up here: http://www.climbingdigest.com