Austin Rief is cofounder and COO of Morning Brew, a 2,000,000+ subscriber newsletter company with additional vertical brands covering various niches. It started while he and his cofounder were in college and it has been growing incredibly fast over the past couple of years, generating eight figures of revenue.
On the differences between the newsletters
In the early days (and still to this day), the Morning Brew team was incredibly focused on the growth of the number of subscribers and fanatical about the open rates. As Austin explains, he doesn’t know any newer media company that has thrived without an obsessed audience.
However, with the vertical newsletters, they dive much deeper into the numbers. They don’t just want to know that a lot of people are opening, but are specific about understanding who is opening.
Additionally, they see these vertical newsletters as an opportunity to dive much deeper in the types of offerings they provide to readers and advertisers.
On the future of Morning Brew
Morning Brew has changed quite a bit over the years, from being a single newsletter to now sporting a podcast and multiple verticals. The company intends to expand into a couple of additional verticals over the next year, but Austin made it clear that they’d only expand if they could cover something to the utmost degree.
Looking forward, Austin also sees Morning Brew being a hub with a variety of different spokes across podcasts, newsletters and subscriptions. He expects users that fit within their target psychographic to come to Morning Brew to choose what they want: marketing, personal finance, podcast, newsletter.
On creators being sheep following the herd
Austin has been unabashedly outspoken about the fact that too many creators are sheep following the herd when it comes to subscriptions. What he’s most excited about is operators turned creators building businesses that rely on models that work for their brand versus just trying to slap on a subscription.
One of the main points that Austin did mention is that the best products that do launch will come from people that used to work within the industry they write about—operators that understand how to run a business. They come with a baked in network of people that can help with the early growth of the product.