How to harvest content for your local newsletter

I’ve been mulling over a new project lately.

On one hand, I don’t need to start something new. Client work has picked up a bit since I lamented how slow things were and I’ve been enjoying a little more Webflow work than usual.

Despite that, I’ve been drawn to local newsletters.

The premise seems simple enough: you challenge your incumbents – often old school, stuffy publication outlets – by introducing a straightforward news digest with a list of curated links to content readily available on the web. Grow your audience to a significant size and begin monetizing.

Easy as 1-2-3.

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I might pursue this completely and I might not; I haven’t decided yet. But, I do want to know whether it’s possible to wire this up.


As I think through what I’d need to harvest content, I want to ensure a few things:

  • I need it to pull from news and other sources automatically

  • I can quickly add something I find via web and mobile

  • I need to determine relevance since I’ll be drinking from a firehose at first

Now that I type that out, I’m pretty sure we’ve got a series of WTF NO CODE DROPS on our hands. Yup, this is at least a two-parter.

So that’s that– I need to establish reliable source of news so I can harvest a ton about the local community, weed out the low-quality content, pull things together in a format that makes it easy to scan, and publish the newsletter at with the right frequency.

Easy, right?


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Let’s take a look.

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Part 2

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When we pull it all together we end up with a simple system that supports a hearty amount of volume. In particular, and especially at the onset, we’re casting an incredibly wide net by using Inoreader to follow Google news trends, Facebook groups, and any other source deemed relevant.

The other aspect of this that needs to be called out is just how expensive (in terms process/scenario volume and in terms of actual costs) things can get if we really open up the floodgates – depending on how we configure Make, we can potentially pull in hundreds, or even thousands, of articles at any frequency of our choosing.


Step 1: harvest content and data.

Step 2: analyze and format that content and data.

Step 3: filter through that content and data to publish a newsletter... and maybe a podcast.

There are probably going to be a few forks in the road ahead. One that stands out to me the most has more to do with the shifting newsletter space than anything else.

Good content creators develop workflows that make content creation easy.

Great content creators develop systems that create content and reuse it across multiple channels.

Let’s aim for greatness and start to pull it all together.

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