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From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Butter.ATL Newsletter

Bronze Distinction in Newsletters

Audience Honor in Newsletters

About this entry

There's so much happening in Atlanta, a cultural mecca that touts a 33% Black population. In 2021, the Georgia Film and TV Tax Credit jumped to a record $1.2 Billion. Airbnb just opened a new tech hub here, Microsoft is expanding in Atlanta, and Intuit just bought MailChimp which is Atlanta-born and bred. Georgia introduced its first Jewish U.S. senator, Jon Ossof, and first Black U.S. senator, Raphael Warnock. World series champions, HBCUs, the epicenter of hip-hop… With so much booming in entertainment, tech, culture, and creativity, Atlanta’s local newsrooms are critically important, and Butter.ATL was well-poised to become one. 

Butter.ATL, the sister media company of Dagger (a full-service ad agency headquartered in Atlanta), provides a niche service offering for Dagger clients with an appetite for high-velocity content at the intersection of creative inspiration and cultural relevance. But what it’s REALLY known for is its Instagram. @Butter.ATL is Atlanta’s definitive culture channel and a sought-after stage for the city’s cultural icons (so much so that Ludacris named his newest single after us. No cap - look it up). With over 100,000 followers, brand sponsorships, and original programming that features ATL legends like Killer Mike, Goodie Mobb, and DJ Scream, Butter has become an entity whose popularity boasts followers - and active commenters - like Chrissy Teigen, Usher, Big Boi from Outkast, and others. 

Butter.ATL’s newsletter launched in beta in Q4 2020, and in earnest in Q1 2021, with the intention of bringing together natives, residents, those outside Atlanta who recognize the city’s rich and dynamic culture, and those who want to keep up with the latest and best news and information.

Butter.ATL's editorial arm is born and bred with a digital-first ethos after the era of mobile proliferation. Our small, local newsroom set out to fight local news erosion tooth and nail to build civic engagement and social cohesion. Led by journalistic entrepreneurs who are creative and disciplined strategists, Butter.ATL is willing and able to invest for the long term to serve the information needs of the Atlanta community.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The Butter.ATL newsletter is a 3x-weekly love letter to Atlanta, with curated and trustworthy information that reminds the audience how lucky we are to have this city, and what it takes to keep making it greater every day. It drives the culture forward by putting a spotlight on the cultural mecca that Atlanta is. But tonally, it won't resemble the journalistic stylings of the big publishers. Butter speaks from an authentically rooted place to tell the city’s stories, and the metrics prove that people love that 1-to-1 connection. People feel seen, heard, and represented, and it really dials up the hometown pride. 

Our strategy was based on our analysis of the disconnect between traditional Atlanta media and the possibilities of reaching our audience where they are. Butter.ATL’s prominent Instagram feed had already proven our ability to connect with social media followers with easily digestible content through vivid, captivating visuals. Our newsletter simply needed to take the same care that mainstream media would take reporting the facts, while dialing up the energy of the city and the love for Atlanta that is evident among its residents. 

We open the week with brief aggregated news, sharing three paragraph-sized news items, followed by bullet-point quick hits that the audience should be aware of and have some ability to discuss when in conversation with friends. 

Then, when other newsletters and publishers were reluctant to cover events in 2021, we filled that gap. On Wednesday, we share all the city’s hottest events and ongoings with safety protocols, mask requirements, mandatory testing, outdoor alternatives, and of course those that are virtual. 

On Fridays, we provide a fun off-ramp to the weekend, recommending our favorite recent local articles, new music, and feature stories for readers to enjoy over the two-day break. We also specifically wait until later in the afternoon to send as a way of rewarding the audience and respecting the fact that they were probably being hit with all sorts of newsletters (many they likely didn’t even sign up to receive). Ours is the one they’re happy to get at the end of the day. Our open rates, click-throughs, and subscriber numbers prove that our strategy is effective.


Butter.ATL’s newsletter has grown rapidly into thousands of highly engaged subscribers and performs well ahead of current newsletter averages with a 28.1% open rate, beating the average in both the Media, Entertainment, Publishing sectors (23.9%), and overall open rate (21.5%). Beyond the numbers, many prominent Atlantans — including Mayor Andre Dickens, music industry mogul/producer Jermaine Dupri, and celebrated local authors and academics like Dorothy A. Brown of Emory University  —  have participated in interviews with Butter.ATL, codifying our standing as a bonified media outlet.

The whole backlog of Butter.ATL newsletters is linked below and known on the website as “The Churn.”

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Dagger / Butter.ATL, Butter.ATL


Entry Credits