Hollie Schultz’s ONA21 session picks: Create, monetize and sprinkle magic on your newsletters

Hollie Schultz is Program Manager, Awards and Grant-Making, at the Online News Association. She oversees the Online Journalism Awards and several key programs that involve managing a call for public submissions and distributing micro-grants.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of newsletters. A thoughtfully curated list of news and trends that are tailored directly to my interests? Yes, please! As newsletters continue to gain traction as a vital resource for audiences, I’m most looking forward to hearing from the community about the nuances of running an effective newsletter. This year at ONA21 we are excited to offer a slate of newsletter-related sessions. All of these sessions are designed to provide a well-rounded perspective of what it takes to create and sustain a successful newsletter.

Kicking off the newsletters sessions at the conference on Tuesday, June 22 is A (Newsletter) Course In Public Service Journalism. The teams at WBUR and El Planeta have partnered for this under-the-hood look at a limited-run newsletter addressing voter education. This session is sure to be inspiring and provide tons of take-aways about content creation, forging successful partnerships and engaging audiences during challenging and time-crunched circumstances.

If you’re looking for practical, technical resources you can take back to your team, I recommend checking out An Open-Source, Hyperlocal News Tech Stack to Serve Communities on Wednesday, June 23. The presenters will walk you through how they built an open-source neighborhood newsletter CMS and share some lessons learned along the way.

One session I’m particularly interested in is Resurrecting the Obituary: From Journalism Staple to Digital Product on Thursday, June 24. At first glance, you may be wondering how newsletters and Obituaries fit together, but the teams at Poynter and the Tampa Bay Times have created a newsletter strategy to turn what is often thought of as depressing and morbid work into community-building and life-affirming stories — all while building a loyal audience in the process!

If you’re looking for practical tools you can use to manage your newsletters, you’ll want to tune in to Design Once, Publish Everywhere, brought to you by Canva, and How To Turn Your Newsletter Into a Revenue-Generating Machine Using Content and First-Party Data, brought to you by Vubble.

Rounding out the newsletter offerings on Friday, June 25 is Spanish-language Virtual Engagement Events for Small Newsrooms. You’ll leave this interactive workshop with practical resources on how to build an engaging Spanish-language newsletter and other virtual events.

From building an audience and adapting content to selecting the right platforms and generating revenue, I know you’ll find valuable information and resources in these sessions you can take back to your newsrooms.