It’s been just over a year, and I would like to update you on progress at Yonder and ask you to spread the news.
Yonder is entering its second year of publication. As I launched it, my strategist – the ever-optimistic Jeremy Zilar – told me that all that Yonder needed to do during its first year was to survive. It did. Not only did it survive, but it grew – and with almost no promotion. The first year was a somewhat experimental phase for us: I tried out different topics and different kinds of writing to see how they worked with the rhythm of publication.
As I did this, our small team added photos, search tools and permalinks for the web site. Yonder now has a pretty successful and attractive Facebook page, and @yondernews is ready for a more serious launch on Twitter.
I want to thank you, as ever, for your feedback up to this point, and I hope you’ll now share our URL with friends and colleagues who might be interested in Yonder.
But first, a bit more of a progress report:
Last May, we began collaborating with Worldcrunch, a partnership that still continues. All these links have increased our readership substantially, while Yonder is still free of charge. A month ago, I also decided to change the day of publication (now Friday 6 p.m. EST). In this way, we hope to give readers more time to open and read Yonder over the weekend. It was a good decision – we are already starting to see increased readership.
Over the last few months, we’ve done some monitoring, and the results are very encouraging:
The average open rate among Yonder subscribers is 42.8 percent. This is amazing if you consider that in this industry, the average open rate is 16.5 percent. I figure that these first results are an indication that using my own voice in writing articles was the right decision. Yonder is the type of product that gathers a specific audience – it is a niche product, if you will. Yonder will continue to offer its voice and its views, will keep on connecting the dots of this increasingly fragmented world.
If one looks at the map of Yonder readers, we are spread across five continents. North American readers make up over 50 percent of our readership, but Slovenia (my motherland) accounts for 15 percent of our readership, followed by France, Italy, Great Britain India, Australia. There are even a few people from Latin America.
I intend to make the website more active by posting short pieces during the week. We hope these short updates will expand Yonder’s horizon and bring the publication even closer to you. In the long run, I would love to invite some talented writers and bring them under Yonder’s roof, but for now, we are just taking small steps towards expanding our reach.
In the meantime, we are proud to have endorsements from some of Yonder’s loyal readers. We are so glad to have them with us. Let me share some of their comments.
“I almost never read blogs, but I look forward every week to finding Yonder in my inbox. The writing is informative, nuanced, and smart. The coverage of China is especially good, both for readers who wouldn’t know a city like Tianjin from a hole in the wall, and for old China hands. The columns relating the (mis)adventures of a Slovenian in New York are laugh-aloud hilarious, but always probe below the surface of American life in unexpected ways. Highly recommended.”
– Judith T. Zeitlin 蔡九迪, professor in Chinese literature, University of Chicago.
“Yonder is never less than entertaining, always beautifully written and often startlingly original in its insights and the counter-intuitive connections it makes. We all have too much to read. I make a point of reading Yonder.”
– Simon Long, “Banyan” columnist, The Economist.
“Yonder is a perfect example of the power of the New Digital Journalism – fearless original thinking delivered with great writing. It’s reportage powered by experience on the ground, infused with a global perspective.”
– Miro Cernetig, former Globe and Mail bureau chief in Beijing and New York. Founder of Catalytico .
“Working with top newspapers and magazines around the world offers me a unique perch to see the best journalism that’s out there, regardless of language or geography. In that context, Andrej’s voice and eyes and ways of thinking truly stand out. He writes with an intelligence that is as breezy and down-to-earth as it far-flung and deeply informed. Even more than the observations of a well-traveled cosmopolitan, Yonder’s are the stories of a curious and thoughtful (and funny) man of this world.”
– Jeff Israely, editor, Worldcrunch.
Thanks and onwards,