Happy Friday! Megan here.
🎉 It's Sioux Falls Simplified's second birthday today! 🎉
It's pretty surreal to think about how my pandemic daydream turned into a full-on business over the last two years.
I really, truly can't thank you enough for being a part of this journey and supporting my opinion-free, B.S.-free, news-for-people-who-don't-like-reading-news news outlet.
Here's a *simplified* look at what we've accomplished in the last two years, what our goals are moving forward and how you can help.
How it started
The first Sioux Falls Simplified email newsletter hit the inboxes of a whopping 188 people on this day in 2021.
- Fun fact: Our first stories were about burger battle, COVID-19, the Link triage center opening soon, new schools in the works in Harrisburg, and how the Sioux Falls Police Department was recruiting more out-of-state officers.
How it's going
Two years later, this email is going out to about 5,600 people.
We've increased to two issues per week (though that's on pause for a little bit while I figure out life with a new baby), and expanded to hire our lovely part-time intern Olivia and additional freelance help.
We've also shared dozens of sponsored stories from locally owned businesses. It's all part of my goal to keep this newsletter feeling as local as possible – even the paid content is giving Sioux Falls-y vibes.
Wins from the last two years
- Published more than 400 original news stories in 125 email newsletters.
- Saw hundreds of readers buy-in to a smarter Sioux Falls by becoming monthly members.
- Won LION Publishers' (a national industry group for journalism startups) "Product of the Year" for the 2021 Simplified Welcome Guide
- Brought you stories simplifying big topics, such as the childcare crisis, sustainability, maternity leave for teachers, housing shortages, grant funding, the zoo merger, voter turnout and more.
- Found the person who caught the underwear at the Backstreet Boys concert. (Ok, we all know this one was dumb, but I'm still proud of it.)
- Provided comprehensive statewide election coverage during the 2022 Midterm Election
- Finalist for LION Publishers' "New Publisher of the Year" in 2021.
Stuff to watch moving forward
- A growing audience: I want to see this newsletter reaching 7,500 people by the end of 2023, and my stretch goal is to see 10,000 Sioux Fallsians subscribed to smarter, easier local news.
- An updated welcome guide: The 2023 Simplified Welcome Guide will be coming out soon! (Side note: I do still have some openings for local business ads in the guide. Email email@example.com if you're interested.)
- Keeping the vibes local: A major goal of mine in starting Sioux Falls Simplified was to create a news outlet that felt like it could only exist in Sioux Falls. I've loved telling the stories of so many cool people doing cool things in town, and I'm excited to bring another year of community-focused news to town.
How to support smarter, easier local news
There are three main ways to help:
- Share this newsletter with a friend.
- Share this newsletter with a business owner who might want help telling the story of their business in a "simplified" way.
- Subscribe to be a paying member. Members who join as "reeeeeeally good friends" will receive a special Sioux Falls Simplified tote bag.
On a personal note...
I started working on this business when my daughter Margot was only a few months old.
Now, she's turning three this spring, and my husband and I have since welcomed a second daughter, Juniper. Working for myself has given me more time with them than I could've ever imagined if I still worked in a traditional newsroom setting.
Whatever the future holds, that's been priceless to me.