Newsletter inspiration or examples you love!

Posted January 11, 2021 in
Content Content

Connor DeLaney

"If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."

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Hey Content Managers! Since you would probably be the go-to for newsletters, I'm looking for tips, ideas, examples, and inspiration you use for newsletters. These could be examples of newsletters you really like, sections you enjoy seeing in the newsletters, or maybe even things you really don't like seeing! 

I ask because I want to continue innovating our IMPACT+ Digest that I send each Tuesday as well as looking for inspiration for a new project I'm creating about events (top secret information).

Can't wait to see what this group sends my way!
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Kayleigh Mihalko
I tend to like email newsletters that are consistent and I know what to expect. Every Monday I receive one from Mark Manson called Mind F*ck Monday. He wrote the book Everything Is F*cked A Book About Hope.

I know what to expect and about how long it will take to read. 

Each weekly email has an intro and then three things of his choosing. Here is his intro from this week's email:

Welcome to another Mindf*ck Monday, the only weekly newsletter that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Each week, I send you three potentially life-changing ideas to help you become a slightly less awful human being. You can read a web version of this newsletter on MarkManson.net.
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Connor DeLaney
Love it! I completely agree that consistency in when it's sent and length is key so readers make it part of their schedule. Seems like I need to pick up this book as well.

Any chance you could share a screenshot of the newsletter? I'd love to take a look :) 

Thanks Kayleigh Mihalko !!
Kayleigh Mihalko
Here is a screen shot of this week's email.

MM.PNG
View full-size Download
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Connor DeLaney
You're the best, thank you! 
Chris Marr
A short list of may faves:

  • Ann Handley
  • Chris Brogan
  • James Clear
  • Paul Jarvis (until he stopped)
  • Daily Dad
  • Daily Stoic
  • Noah Kagan
  • Maria Popova at Brain Pickings
  • Tim Ferriss 5 Bullet Friday
  • Austin Kleon

What do they have in common? 

  • Mostly short and focused
  • I like James Clear's '3-2-1' concept and Tim Ferriss' 5-Bullet structure.
  • Most of them don't have much in the way of design elements - plain text, mostly. 

...and The Latest, of course! 

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Lia Parisyan
Do you find that certain generations prefer text-heavy vs. design rich? It's hard to gauge in B2B Marketing because then generations tend to span Gen X to Gen Z (older), but working with Gen Zers (and younger) at a startup, I noticed they're definitely more inclined to visually compelling emails and comms in general.

I would love to do a study on this in the B2B space. 
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Liz Moorehead
Lia Parisyan This is a fantastic topic. Here's what's fascinating about that. There is TONS of data out there that shows that more design-free newsletters tend to perform better than those that are more visual and image-heavy.

When I first started doing THE LATEST, I didn't believe it. But we actually ran tests when we first started that showed even though people said they wanted more visuals, but we saw higher click-through rates and engagement when the email was kept to a more plain-text format with images only added when explicitly needed:

Images vs no images in email newsletters (experiment & data)

That article includes a lot of backstory and other data about designed vs. "plain text" looking email performance. 

One thing I learned from the whole experience is that there is definitely a disconnect from what people say they want and what the data shows us that people enjoy or at least interact with more.
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Lia Parisyan
Thanks for sharing. 

Does the data apply to B2C—specifically retail? I think about the emails I get from Madewell, Anthropologie, etc. and they are very visual and product-focused. 

Many of them use personalization engines to remind me of a must-have dress I left behind or try to entice me with price drops and special promotions. 

Have brands in this space experimented with heavier text emails as a differentiator? Influencer diary excerpts, travel diaries, etc.
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Connor DeLaney
Lia Parisyan  love that question... I know I gravitate to a more visual newsletter format and technically I fall in that GenZ arena. I would also guess that it really depends on the type of content they are discussing. For example, I could see a newsletter/digest focused around upcoming events may be more visual and an audience would engage with that whereas a thought leadership newsletter like some of Chris Marr 's examples would be more text-heavy because that trust and value have already been established.

Liz Moorehead   John Becker   Ramona Sukhraj - Think this could be something worth looking into? I'm sure there is some research on it but something we could note down in the future as a worthwhile topic.
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Lia Parisyan
Also, I wonder if there is some bias based on your role. For instance, I do a lot of Design Ops work, so I skew visual. I would definitely ask the person their job function to see if there is some correlation between their text vs. visual preference. 


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Liz Moorehead
This role comment is very very important here. As a word nerd and someone who is very busy (not to say you aren't!), I just tend to prefer easy-to-skim less visual email newsletters that get me to the good stuff immediately. 
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Connor DeLaney
Makes a lot of sense  Chris Marr ! Seems like short, efficient, effective communication is the best way to go.  Kayleigh Mihalko  shared a similar sentiment, keep it simple and direct. 
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Lia Parisyan
Not a Newsletter, but I'm a fan of YouTube's digest because it's quick hits and personalized to my browsing history. 
Newer to the game, I'm enjoying the content from Marketerhire. 
Bloomberg has multiple daily digests, really interesting to see how the tone and approach shifts from one to another. 

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Connor DeLaney
ooo I love the YouTube Digest! That's a great suggestion I didn't think of, plus the personalized touch makes it unique to each user. Going to look into Marketerhire's, not sure I've seen it before. Thanks for the suggestions  Lia Parisyan !
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Aaron Boatin
Great timing. We are working on a quarterly customer news letter as part of this this quarter's rocks. 

Thanks  Chris Marr for some examples to check out.

I'm wrestling with textual versus graphical. 
  • My fear with is that with textual, the recipient's response might be TL;DR
  • With graphical, there is a fine line between immediate perception of value and the brain telling the receipt it is another ad / spam message. (hopefully our clients won't feel that way)
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