A Transformation from Newsletter Company to Media Brand, Powered by Sanity
Sanity’s single source of truth for content and data enables omnichannel media distribution and quick introduction of exciting new brands
Publishing rich multimedia and textual content across many channels from a single source of truth, empowering editors and reducing engineering time.
“Sanity has given us a clean slate and the opportunity to have our content platform match how the entire organization is thinking about content.”
Morning Brew is the media company redefining the business news landscape through approachable, digestible content. Across newsletters, podcasts, social media, events, education, and commerce, Morning Brew reaches an audience of over 18 million future and current business leaders.
Content editors embrace Sanity for flexibility and intuitive interface
Engineering can do more with less software and less duplication of effort, creating rapid ROI
Company can chart a path to being a rich-media company
Morning Brew was using a homegrown content management system (CMS) built for textual content. The Morning Brew team wanted to open up possibilities for greater innovation and interactive, rich-media storytelling delivered across channels. They also needed to introduce new brands quickly and easily, without time-consuming coding hacks.
In its search for a new content platform, Sanity emerged as the clear winner. The company’s engineering team had been using Sanity’s structured content platform as a supplement to their existing CMS to create media-rich technical guides. Sanity got rave reviews, but Morning Brew needed more than just the right product — and Sanity delivered.
“The experience in working with Sanity has been fantastic,” says Drew Monroe, Director of Engineering for Morning Brew. “We seamlessly migrated 23,000 documents in a few hours without any disruption to editor workflows or newsletter and website performance. The Sanity team was immediately there when we needed them, treating us as a valued partner. Leadership and engineering agree: this is one of the smoothest launches we’ve ever been part of.”
Morning Brew has now fully replaced its previous CMS with Sanity, the company’s single source of truth for omnichannel content. Unlike the homegrown CMS, Sanity includes a media library with reusable assets to make life easier for editors creating rich digital experiences for all Morning Brew audiences.
“Because our homegrown CMS was supporting the lowest common denominator (email newsletters), if we wanted to create a web version we’d have to create an entirely new version of the content,” says Emily Diamond, VP of Product for Morning Brew. “With Sanity, we have the tooling for the engineering team to support what the writers want to do across multiple different platforms.”
Early feedback from content editors has been overwhelmingly positive. They rave about Sanity Studio’s modern, intuitive interface and off-the-shelf features such as web previews, the image crop tool, and flexible media embeds. Sanity allows them to create their own experiences seamlessly and without requiring coding. “Sanity lets us get out of our writers’ way so they can do their best work and tell vibrant stories,” says Diamond.
Morning Brew has also used Sanity to empower the marketing team to build their own landing pages. Landing pages like a subscribe page can be tweaked by the growth marketing team to convert new subscribers from referral sources and channels, and they can test many variations of text or design to see what converts best. Instead of having to hard code those pages on a one-off basis, the engineering team built a self-serve tool in Sanity so the marketing team can create a multitude of different landing pages with new configurations. It’s saved the design and engineering teams a significant amount of time, as they no longer get tickets for small page changes.
“A few months after we migrated over to Sanity we sent out a survey to our editorial team, like a baby NPS score. On a scale of 1–5 scale, with 5 being the best, the team gave Sanity high marks, mostly 5s. Everyone is really, really happy with Sanity,” says Diamond.
Engineering is already seeing returns on investment because there is no need to duplicate content across different databases to deliver it to their readers. Sanity fits snugly into the tech stack and has already been integrated with an open-source media plug-in and with the Ceros interactive content platform.
“Overall, we’ve been able to scale back on the number of applications we use, so we’ve already realized cost savings,” says Monroe. “We also have a shorter runway in delivering new features for content editors because we no longer have to custom build everything, so they quickly have new ways to author unique content and deliver it wherever they need to.”
“We are starting to build a pipeline for email publishing so that we can create and curate newsletters in Sanity, then send them right from the CMS to our email send provider Sailthru. It’s great that Sanity is helping us make that a one-stop-shop,” says Diamond. “It saves the team significant time and headspace to wrap the process into a single hub. It also makes onboarding easier since there’s just one tool new hires need to learn.”
“With Sanity’s GROQ-powered webhooks, we’re able to connect structured content from our content lake to the rest of our infrastructure with targeted payloads,” says Monroe. “These customizable webhooks lower the usage/cost/bandwidth of the services that receive incoming messages. For example, we’re now able to optimize the conversion of GIFs for the newsletter and website to the appropriate image format automatically, which has been a huge timesaver.”
It’s also been a selling point when hiring new front-end engineers. “Candidates get excited because Sanity is written in a language they understand and it’s easier to maintain in the long run than a legacy, custom, and largely undocumented CMS,” says Monroe.
To start off, the company is using Sanity to create its newsletters, as well as rich-media stories published to the website, complete with embedded video and audio. Soon, newsletters and other content will be pushed directly from Sanity to all the appropriate channels. Sanity will also serve as the single source of truth fueling nearly all aspects of the customer-facing experience.
Morning Brew now has eight different brands (and growing) catering to specific audiences, such as “Money Scoop” for personal finance and “Retail Brew” for retail industry professionals. With more brands in development, the Sanity Media Library, capable of storing a wealth of assets, is essential. Editors can easily add interactive elements that express each brand in unique and engaging ways, with no engineering involvement.
“When we were focused on producing newsletters, we weren’t even considering all the potential things we could do with Sanity,” says Diamond. “Now that we’re a media company with originally-reported content and multimedia, and are building out education and commerce businesses, we need the tools to enable that. For us, Sanity is the jumping-off point for everything.”
On Morning Brew’s primary landing spot for readers, the Morning Brew homepage, serving up fresh and timely content quickly is critical to engaging its audience. Before Sanity, this used to be bespoke, with editors spending a lot of time reworking stories and multimedia assets and often needing to pull in engineering for help. Now it’s simple for editors to go in and configure the page to ensure popular and breaking stories are being updated in near real-time.
As Sanity empowers greater customization and wider distribution of Morning Brew’s content, they’re poised to roll out more impactful brands, reaching audiences when and how they prefer. On the roadmap: new ways to monetize beyond sponsorships by integrating Sanity with a campaign management tool capable of creating more compelling ad products for advertisers and sponsors.
“Morning Brew is fundamentally an experience company. We’re providing enriching experiences that our customers can integrate into their lives in a way that serves them really well,” says Diamond. “Sanity is the key to being able to do just that today and into the future.”
Learn how Sanity can help your organization turn content into data with our platform for structured content. Sanity was built to make it possible to deliver exceptional omnichannel experiences to your customers, at the scale and pace you want to move. If you are a developer who wants to try Sanity, get started here. If you’d like a demo, our sales team would love to talk to you.