'The Morning Brew' seeks to increase readership

By Lindsey Scullen, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 6, 2015

Young business professionals frequently reach out for a cup of coffee each morning in need of energy. Creators of The Morning Brew, a new free, daily business newsletter, hope young business professionals will seek their product for a similar reason.

Launched at the University in March, The Morning Brew is an e-mail newsletter that targets young, current or aspiring business professionals. The e-mail arrives in subscribers’ mailboxes at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. It takes about five minutes to read and is what founders call a “one-stop shop for everything business.”

“We hope that our subscribers will read The Morning Brew every morning and get their day going,” said Business sophomore Austin Rief, chief operating officer of The Morning Brew. “People who get their daily fix of caffeine with a cup of coffee will get their daily fix of business knowledge to help them throughout their day.”

After conducting an advertisement campaign at the University, Rief said The Morning Brew has accumulated about 1,500 subscribers and has been read in 35 states and in over 10 countries, thanks primarily to students studying abroad.

The Morning Brew launched a campaign Monday to expand to seven additional universities — Indiana University, University of Southern California, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Los Angeles, Northwestern University and the University of Maryland.

The Morning Brew’s team is offering a monetary incentive for the school that obtains the most subscribers. The team has produced and distributed a marketing guide, which details the results of their experience marketing at the University and offers suggestions for representatives at their respective schools.

“Our plan is to grow this in the college market,” said Business senior Alex Lieberman, founder and CEO of The Morning Brew. “And then, come summer, bring this to all of the internship summer analyst classes in these major business cities — whether that’s L.A., Chicago, Miami, New York.”

The ultimate goal, he said, is to expand the newsletter to the general business world organically by way of graduating University students’ word of mouth, and also through marketing strategies.

“Once we feel like we’ve tapped the college students, the college market, at that point down the road we want to basically get all of the business professionals say, below the age of 25 — the analyst who’s working in an investment bank for 14 hours a day and only has five minutes to read his news on the subway,” Lieberman said.

Taking on a format similar to popular e-mailed newsletter The Skimm, The Morning Brew has four distinct sections on its interface.

The first section is called Market Corner. The caption reads, “Glimpse into the U.S. financial markets.” This section holds four to five stories each day, which are 60 to 100 words each.

The next section is called “Water Cooler.”

“It’s kind of like when you’re at the office and you meet another employee at the water cooler,” Lieberman said. “It’s a more timely or cool topic — less mental power, more digestible and arguably more interesting stories.”

The Water Cooler section will soon feature exclusive interviews with notable business professionals conducted by staff of The Morning Brew, Lieberman added.

Penultimate is the section entitled “The Mix.” This section features three distinct topic categories daily — “Building Blocks” for real estate news, “Today in Tech” for news in the world of technology and “Startup of the Day” for entrepreneurial news.

The final section of the newsletter is called “The Breakroom.” Lieberman said this section includes a “cool” business fact of the day, an interview question of the day and a business fact of the day.

“That’s kind of when you get out of the office, kick your legs up on the table and just want to talk about whatever with friends,” Lieberman said.

Behind the scenes, the newsletter is made up of an 11-person team — consisting of five writers, two editors, one grammar and spelling editor and LSA senior Grant Demeter from ComCo, a University comedy group, to give the newsletter some style.

“He puts in that witty, unified, singular tone,” Rief said. “We think that really adds a lot of value to our newsletter and differentiates ourselves between other dry business newsletters.”

The Morning Brew was not always so comprehensive. It used to be a one-man act.

Lieberman started the newsletter last semester after recognizing local interest.

“I spent two to three hours daily giving interview advice, my view on the business world, my view on the market to my friends in my fraternity, kids in the business school that were going through the recruiting process,” he said. “I decided there has to be a better platform to inform college student as well as young professionals in general about what’s going on in the business world in a quick and quality way.”

For this reason, he created what he then called The Market Corner, a daily e-mail update he wrote and published in PDF form every day for two months. The Market Corner attracted 250 readers.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be read by that many people,” Lieberman said. “It was like a small market test for the type of demand that was there for this type of convenient, quick business news read.”

Not only did 250 people subscribe to his content, but about a dozen other students also contacted him, asking why he wasn’t pursuing this newsletter in business form. Shortly after, Rief and Business junior Brady Akman, director of daily operations for The Morning Brew, joined the team.

“And we just developed the hell out of this project,” Lieberman said. “We wanted to make it professional, make it an actual product that people would enjoy consuming and that’s what took it from my old Market Corner to now, what The Morning Brew is.”

Akman said he believes the expansion of The Morning Brew has set it apart from business newsletter competitors for one reason in particular — the strong writers they’ve employed.

“Without the hard work of the writers, this would never be possible,” he said.