The Aud Dev Digest / June 29, 2021

An amazing tomato strategy, plus two other things

Samantha Zabell
2 min readJun 29, 2021

Okay, the first thing is from a while ago but it absolutely DELIGHTED me and it also allows me to make a pun. Here we go:

1️⃣ How did we not realize that the key to audience growth was actual growth? I loved reading about Alex Groves’s “Garden Party” newsletter, an eight-week email course about growing t🍅mat🍅es. So specific, so useful, so on-brand. It’s any growth-minded person’s dream, on many levels! (Alt puns: You say tomato, I say audience development at its finest; good things stem from focused newsletters; I heard this through the (tomato) vine…)

2️⃣ One of the reasons this caught my eye is because of the incredibly-huge-almost-fake number. Is 500,000% even a real percent? Does that mean we just started with… zero? Or that we weren’t acknowledging what a creator *actually* was? And then I read the piece (not just the headline) and realized they’re talking about job listings that use “creator” as a buzzword. It would seem all of the platforms are finally realizing it’s time to bolster their products for the people that keep those products afloat: the………….. creators. Also, a fun, kind of concerning, kicker:

The hobbies your parents told you not to waste your time with are now a driving the decisions of some of the world’s most powerful companies.

3️⃣ Spotted a really smart engagement strategy via

last week: gift articles. I love the in-app tool tip that prompts you to share it specifically with non-subscribers, and makes the reader feel more powerful/meaningful in what they’re sharing and with whom. And we love a feature that is backed by research and data:

Through our research, we found that readers were more likely to engage with journalism that had been shared by someone they know rather than a company account.

I loved reading through everything that went into this update, from choosing the icon to designing the user flow to clarifying the goal: “spark conversations among curious people.” Read more from the team:

The Closing Tweet:

talking about how Instagram works. I know this is a tweet of an Instagram video but I never said that wasn’t allowed.



Samantha Zabell

Audience development strategist, previously at Medium, Time Inc., Real Simple