Subscribers to the New York Times have another reason to be loyal to the publisher. Now every Thursday their inboxes will light up with a newsletter highlighting articles and photography from the New York Times Magazine.  This is old hat for The Times, which is ahead of the curve with more than 30 targeted newsletters in its repertoire, spanning topics from politics to parenting. Recently, the paper has been expanding their newsletter portfolio at a staggering rate, with over a dozen launched in the past 12 months.

On top of the print and online publications, this begs the question to some – why?  It is a fact that newsletters now collectively rank among the top five sources for referral traffic, above Pinterest. They also have an average gross open rate of 50 percent, which outstrips the industry average for media and publishing by about 25 percent, according to a study by the technology company Silverpop.

Intuitively the paper has also realized that newsletters are not cannibalizing engagement with their other products because they reach readers checking their mail, rather than them consciously navigating to their site.  Moreover, the content is curated to an individuals  passions, dividing the audience into specific segments that they opt into.

The executive director of the product, Dork Alahydoian has the same mandate for his team as other divisions of The Times: “People are looking to us for some of this editorial judgment and curation, trying to figure out what they should be reading and why,” he said.  So in turn the paper has been using a variety of technical tactics and email best practices to increase open and clickthorugh rates.

Topics that readers prefer are given priority, even if they aren’t in alignment with the newsroom focus. The NYT Living newsletter, for example, pulls content from the Style, Travel, Food and Home sections and puts them all in one place, looking to appeal more to what the user wants.

Read more about the newsletters offered here.