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theSkimm on how to rapidly grow an audience of engaged millennials: Use wit, keep it brief, and be transparent about what you endorse.

Stashed in: Founders, Curation, Trust, Growth Hacks!, Monetization, Snapchat, Content is king., Bite-sized Content, Extraordinary People, Microentertainment, Cognitive Bias

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theSkimm serves up digestible news that matters to 3.5 million subscribing 20 to 30-somethings.

It's about giving Millennials what they want where they want it:

The New York Times, which has more than 1.3 million digital subscribers, is a paid subscription and not free like theSkimm’s newsletter base. Separately, the NYT newsletter subscription numbers are in the “tens of millions,” according to the Times.

theSkimm platform includes the daily newsletter, the Daily Skimm, as well as the Skimm Ahead, Skimm the Vote, and Skimm Guides such as what to look up on Snapchat, a brief on the Panama Papers or what the Kardashians are up to.

Both founders hail from careers in broadcasting but quit their jobs to make news accessible for their friends not in the news business.

And the material seems to be hitting the right nerve with young professionals. theSkimm now captures the attention of millions of “millennials” (those 18 to 34) with a hint of the duo’s irreverent editorial wit.

theSkimm also implements a grassroots approach to growing the audience rapidly and has about 13,000 “Skimm’bassadors” spreading the word.  Skimm’bassadors get rewards such as tote bags and other swag for telling their friends to sign up and read.

theSkimm has also figured out how to monetize in a way they say makes sense to a new generation – by being honest about the products they endorse on the platform and utilizing native advertising.

The startup’s SkimmAhead app helps add a second source of revenue for the company by charging $2.99 per month to keep subscribers updated on the latest events and what’s about to hit Netflix.

Simply put, “Looking at your phone is the new definition of ‘me time’,” says Weisberg, “We want theSkimm to make the news easier on your time.”


Mic’s approach to news is as unique as our generation. Young people will define the future and we deserve a news outlet that offers quality coverage tailored to us. We are hungry for news that keeps us informed and helps us make sense of the world.

Mic was founded in 2011 by Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz under the shared belief that millennials are inquisitive, have a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom, and crave substantive news to spark interesting conversations. This sensibility informs everything we do.

We’ve since built a rockstar team of editors, reporters, producers, designers and engineers. All of us believe that stories and information have the power to shape the world, especially when they challenge traditional narratives. We are now reporting original stories, publishing smart analysis and producing high-quality videos for an audience of more than 30 million people each month.


Very similar story, interestingly enough.

Mic creates a lot of articles, whereas theSkimm is more about bite-sized content. 

But similar philosophy and attitude toward their audience. 

Gina Bianchini on theSkimm's mission is to make you smarter:

theSkimm now has an $8 million investment from NYT and 20th Century Fox:

4 million Millennials read their email at least once a month.

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