Are you looking for some inspiration for your newsletter marketing strategy? We take a closer look at how the writing in some of today’s best newsletters ramps up those clicks.
People have been saying “email is for old people” since at least 2007. That you still hear this claim being bandied about in 2022 is really far more of a testament to the communication medium’s longevity than anything else.In fact, email is expected to grow to 4.3 billion users by 2023. That’s just one year away! Email newsletter marketing:When it comes to knowing how to write a newsletter, Maria Popova, the creator behind The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), can teach us a thing or two. This newsletter has longevity on its side; Popova has been pressing send since 2006. While The Marginalian is essentially a book review newsletter, Popova dives far deeper into each title she examines, revealing social, political, historical, and psychological nuances you’d never pick up on your own. What they do right:Native & Co is a brick-and-mortar and online store founded in 2014 in London. The company sells high-end household products sourced in Japan and Taiwan. They focus on minimalist, handcrafted, and eco-friendly wares, items with what the owners call an “aesthetical quietness.” What they do right:The Gist was launched by three Canadian college students in 2018 and has been getting much attention in recent years. They focus on bringing a long-absent women’s voice to the traditionally male-dominated world of sport. Though the company pitches itself as sports media, they focus on non-traditional distribution channels: podcast, social media, and, of course, email newsletter. What they do right:You can glean a lot of advice, inspiration, and skills from high-performing newsletters. Find your favorites or those newsletters that garner a lot of attention and spend a bit of time analyzing each issue when it lands in your inbox. If you’re keen to up your newsletter copywriting game, start filling in those “subscribe to us” forms on websites you visit frequently.
- Generates, on average, $42 for every $1 spent
- Is used by close to 90% of marketers for organic content distribution
- Sees an average bounce rate of 0.7% (yes, that low) across all industries in 2020
- Had an average all-industry open rate of over 25% in late 2021
Due to size limitations, images and text are favored over video in e-newsletters. If you’ve been busy perfecting those IG reels and TikToks, you’ll have to change tracks for your email marketing. It’s time to zero in on your newsletter copywriting skills. In our humble opinion, it’s always best to learn from, well… the best! We’ve compiled a quick-read list of a few of our favorite newsletters and tell you what the writers do right—so you can do that, too!
1. The Hustle
Entrepreneurs/Finance/TechSince the VO team are passionate subscribers of The Hustle, we only thought it right to lead with this epic newsletter. This scrappy media company started out covering the latest and greatest news in the tech startup and entrepreneur world until HubSpot acquired it in 2021. Now, it continues that journey, with a focus on marketing insights. What they do right:
- No filler: each story is full of valuable content
- Limits content to 3-5 stories in each newsletter
- Gives back to readers with things like reader commentary
- Authoritative, all-knowing, witty tone
- Attempts to be the first outlet to publish a story or story angle
Read the latest newsletter.
2. The Marginalian
- A dense yet approachable, unpretentious writing style
- Unique angles and unusual subjects
- Extremely well-researched articles
- Clearly organized sections with easy to navigate the text
- Cleverly repurposes old content
- Popova writes about what interests her—first and foremost
See a sample newsletter.
3. Yoga With Adriene
Fitness/WellnessAdriene Mishler is the bendy woman behind the top-rated YouTube channel, Yoga With Adriene. She was already doing pretty well before the pandemic hit, but since everyone found themselves stuck inside due to lockdowns, her channel quickly jumped to an astounding 10 million followers in just a year. Mishler uses her email newsletters to connect with fans and paid streaming service subscribers and offer special deals or share free curated programs (like her “30 days” series). What they do right:
- A highly personalized approach: it feels like Mishler is speaking directly to you
- Focus on learning and self-improvement
- Comforting content: poetry, affirmations
- Writing style maintained through all content—from welcome email to newsletters
- Offers lots of freebies, like yoga series, and giveaways
- Always includes the reader’s name
Subscribe to the newsletter.
4. Native & Co
- KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly)—less time-consuming, easy to digest
- Focus on a series (different product type) for each newsletter
- Leads with eye-catching imagery—content supports imagery
- Provides only essential information about each product
- A crisp, minimalist writing style in line with “zen” product range
- Puts benefits front and center, such as beneficial delivery information
Sales & MarketingAnimalz is a fully remote, full-service content agency focusing on SaaS startups as their primary client source. Over the past few years, they’ve established themselves as thought leaders in their space, with many tech copywriters and CMOs perusing their website, tuning into their podcasts, and, of course, subscribing to their “all insight, no fluff” newsletters. If anything teaches you how to write a newsletter in the content marketing space, it’ll be an email from Animalz. What they do right:
- A concise, tight, clever writing style
- Provides a sample of the “thought leadership” content they sell
- Convenient, teachable content
- Emphasis on authenticity: writers are subject experts
See a sample newsletter and subscribe.
6. The GIST
- Progressive, inclusive outlook
- Focus on high-quality athletic journalism
- Mixes narrative-focused content with raw data like athlete statistics
- Approachable, easily digestible (bite-sized) writing style
- Something for every reader: national to regional scope
Read the latest newsletter.
7. Silver Fern Farms
Food/WholesaleSilver Fern Farms is the largest wholesaler of premium grass-fed beef, lamb, and venison in New Zealand. They sell their products to supermarkets and restaurants within their country of origin and globally. Their newsletter covers a range of information, from how the market is faring to sustainability wins and recipes (using their products, of course). What they do right:
- Market-focused content for global B2B readership
- Consistent brand voice across all channels
- Expert match between imagery and copy
- Pitches their company as industry leaders
- “Fun” content like recipes (readers can directly engage with products)
- Down-to-earth, informative writing style
Learn Newsletter Copywriting by Example
Pro Tip: If you want to find great newsletters to subscribe to, we highly recommend the website SUB TO THIS. Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for the Viral Octopus newsletter, too. (It’s great—if we do say so ourselves!)Of course, another way to get better at email newsletter copywriting is to have an expert do it for you! Book our Complete Email Newsletter Service gig, and you’ll get a newsletter strategy that builds trust, delivers helpful content, and keeps your customers engaged. Our handpicked team, including an expert strategist, designer, and copywriter, will ensure your newsletters combine information with subtle persuasion to delight your customers while nudging them towards your goals. Let’s evolve together!