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Community Highlights: Meet Ryan Sneddon of Naptown Scoop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Sneddon.

Hi Ryan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I went to college in South Carolina (go Gamecocks) and stayed for about 1.5 years after graduation. One day at work, my coworker Matt asked if I wanted to go to our new brewery that night. First, I said yes. Then, I asked how he knew about the brewery.

He said he read a newsletter that kept him up to date with everything in the city. I started reading it and loved it. Fast forward a few months and I’ve quit my job to start my own company, though I don’t know what. Then Covid hits and like many people, I moved home.

We didn’t have any such newsletter here, so I started writing my own. That was August 2020. We now have a combined audience of 10,000 people that we reach daily on Instagram and through the newsletter.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Business is never a smooth road. Just last week my computer broke. That cost me almost 20% of the money I’d invested in the company up to this point. Luckily, we haven’t had other huge financial setbacks.

The hardest part is doing everything—or almost everything—alone. For the first ten months, the only help I had was when I hired freelancers to write blog content for us. It was sporadic and took a bit off my plate, but not enough. Now I have a salesperson and she takes a huge weight off.

Working on something solo is lonely. There are late nights where nobody is keeping you accountable. It’d be easy to quit. But I write something to prevent that at the top of my to-do list each day: Don’t Quit. Every Day.

As long as I follow that simple advice every single day, I’m guaranteed to get where I’m going. It might take a week; it might take 40 years. But I’ll get there.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
The Naptown Scoop is primarily an email newsletter that’s sent three times a week. We cover all events and news happening within a 10-mile radius of Annapolis.

It’s written in a fun voice, which is a nice contrast from traditional news. We make jokes, poke fun at ourselves and the city, and get our audience involved.

Relationships are the primary differentiator between us and traditional news sources. There are readers who respond to our emails every week, sometimes every day. I know them. So when they respond to our emails, I know where they’re coming from. I know why things upset them. I can even predict who will respond to certain emails because I know it will hit a nerve.

And that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s what the business world likes to call a moat—the thing that makes you unbeatable. People remember being ignored and I make sure that never happens. If you respond to a Naptown Scoop email, you’re going to get an answer within 24 hours. If you comment on our Instagram, we’re going to comment back. If you DM us a question on Instagram, we’re going to get you a complete answer fast.

It builds a phenomenal brand strength. Within one year, we’ve captured 25% of Annapolis in our net between Instagram and the newsletter. I know there’s some overlap there, but it’s still a strong brand. Just to give you an example, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get recognized in downtown Annapolis. Without fail, if I’m going out in public, someone is going to stop me and say, “You’re the Naptown Scoop guy, right?” A lot of the time, they already know my name when they stop me.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
My favorite thing about Annapolis is the wide range of people it attracts. As far as residents go, you’ve got CEOs of hundred million and billion dollar companies and you’ve got sailmakers. You can walk across town and hear all sorts of accents—southern, west coast, Australian, New Zealand, and more.

Tourists are a similar story. They don’t stay as long—though some never leave. But if you walk around town on a weekend, you’ll see license plates from at least 30 states if you pay attention. And you’ll hear many languages that aren’t English.

Everyone wants a piece of the action here because the living is so good.

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Image Credits

Please credit Blue Angel photo to Mark Moser

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