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Two former magazine editors are hoping that teenagers (still) read e-mail.
Casey Lewis, a former senior online editor at Teen Vogue, and Liza Darwin, who held senior editor jobs at Nylon and Sweet, Hearst’s Snapchat channel, have developed a newsletter for teen girls called “Clover.”
The e-mail newsletter, which will be delivered five days a week, will launch on Feb. 1. It will feature short news items and features that teens care about, which “sidestep the traffic race and clickbait headlines,” said Lewis.
“Teens are so bombarded,” added Darwin. “They are tired of the clickbaity-ness of the Internet.” (Well, it’s not just teens).
The duo explained that e-mail is one way to grab the attention of teenagers, offering that newsletters are having a “renaissance.” They pointed to Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, which recently inked a distribution deal with Hearst. While Lenny trades off of Dunham’s purview and connections, it doesn’t target Clover’s demographic.
“Lenny is awesome, but it’s not for teens,” Lewis said, noting that the project came about because she saw a “white space” in the market.
She explained that mainstay teen-focused media titles such as Hearst’s Seventeen and Condé Nast’s Teen Vogue are “chasing traffic” with a mix of viral stories on topics such as Kylie Jenner’s lips, which sit beside more serious articles on body image issues.
The Clover editors said upcoming stories will include an interview with the YouTube stars behind “Sketchshe,” a brief history on Donald Trump and “why he’s bad for girls,” and an interview with teen singer Birdy about growing up on the Internet “when you’re shy.” As for news, readers will get the top five news items of the day, which will span topics such as Chipotle’s food poisoning outbreak or an item on the presidential campaign, the editors said.
But back to monetization. It’s a no-brainer that the chase for traffic is a chase for advertising, of which Clover has none. Lewis and Darwin said they hope to monetize Clover in a variety of ways, including sponsored content and ad partnerships down the line.
“Old publishers like Condé Nast aren’t exactly quick to identify branded content opportunities,” said Lewis.
Still, one thing traditional publishers — and Lena Dunham — have are brand awareness and audience.
In order to drum up a following, Clover will tap teen Instagram influencers to get the word out and also write for them. Each issue will also have a “follow back” section in which readers who forward the e-mail to five friends get a shout out in an upcoming newsletter.
In order to receive Clover, readers can sign up at cloverletter.com.