Parenting newsletter Lemon-Aid was launched by Reach as a reaction to the pandemic lockdown but it has found enduring commercial and audience success.
Moyo (pictured) told Press Gazette: “I remember listening to Boris Johnson announce that nurseries and schools were going to have to close and honestly I was close to tears because I thought ‘What am I going to do? I work full time, I can’t have both kids at home. This is a nightmare.’”
Aware that many parents and carers would be in a similar situation, Moyo envisioned Lemon-Aid as a service for those who were “desperate for content, advice and support to get through this unbelievable time”.
Lemon-Aid initially went out daily, with Moyo writing every newsletter. It later changed to a twice-weekly publication schedule as readers went back to work after lockdown, and a team of contributors is now involved.
In particular there is a core group of five writers who regularly write letters offering an “unfiltered parenting reality”. Moyo said this had enabled Lemon-Aid to evolve and showcase different perspectives, adding: “This need[ed] to be more than just my voice… all parents and carers are in their own specific set up and situations.” In addition she hopes to expand in future
Lemon-Aid benefited from coming under the umbrella of the UK’s largest commercial publisher Reach, which Moyo said meant Lemon-Aid was able to be advertised within its network where titles such as Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo already had “strong family and kids content”.
Moyo said Lemon-Aid’s growth over the past two years had ultimately come from “word of mouth more than any of those things”.
The organic growth and “genuine support from the readers” also make Lemon-Aid “appealing” to advertisers because of its specific audience, she added.
“It’s not just that we have 45,000 subscribers, she said. “We have 45,000 subscribers who are parents or carers of children between 0-16.”
Lemon-Aid has partnered with the likes of the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS, where they included rainbow logos to promote the vaccines. The newsletter also includes affiliated links to products they recommend.
The sense of community and “bringing people together” is what Lemon-Aid says it initially “set out to do”. Moyo said: “They say it takes a village to raise a child… Lemon-Aid is supposed to be that. For a time when we couldn’t see relatives or friends, Lemon-Aid was the connection we lacked with people.”
Moyo also published an e-book, Tiers and Tantrums, that compiled newsletters written throughout 2020, saying: “It was a bit of an experiment…we were nostalgic about how we got through that time together and Lemon-Aid was effectively a journal entry every day.”
Moyo added that it was “really nice to see it evolve into a different product” and that “in the future, it might evolve into something else” but emphasised that future growth would be “dictated by readers” – potentially including specific products for parents with different aged children, such as teenagers.
Lemon-Aid is one of six newsletters shortlisted in the newsletter category of Press Gazette’s inaugural Future of Media Awards, which Moyo described as a “massive step forward” for family content.
“I was over the moon to be nominated…it’s not traditional, it’s not about politics or hard news which in my experience in this industry are the ones that win the awards.
“Content for families is massively overlooked and undervalued, so to be nominated alongside other fantastic newsletters is saying something and a massive step forward.
“This is the Future of Media Awards, and diversifying our content is the future of media. We need to recognise that there are different types of audiences out there that want different things, and Lemon-Aid is proof of that.”
Press Gazette is hosting the Future of Media Technology Conference. For more information, visit NSMG.live
Picture: Lynda Moyo