Editorial newsletters are having a moment. For content marketers, this apparent renaissance may be an opportunity to engage an audience and attract subscribers.
The creator economy has produced several email newsletter stars, including Packy McCormick and Sahil Bloom. These creators and others — podcasters, social media-ites — have strong connections with their readers, some of whom even pay to subscribe.
Creator newsletters differ from what one might get from a publisher because they have a personal quality. It’s similar to the relationship between a TikTok influencer and her audience or Eric Bandholz’s connection with the “Ecommerce Conversations” podcast audience.
These newsletters not only inform the reader of something. They express a personal point of view.
Content marketers who are not out to build a personal brand can use some of these approaches to attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers and prospects.
The New Blogs
Content marketers are familiar with blogs, a staple of search engine optimization and engagement.
Men’s fashion retailer Mr Porter publishes “The Journal,” which readers might describe as a blog. In some sections, it is barely distinguishable from GQ magazine. For example, one post by Mr Porter titled “20 Summer-Minded Items To Brighten Your Mood” resembles GQ Magazine’s article, “20 Most Wanted Pieces of the Season.”
Blogs (short for “weblogs”) were once personal journals from individuals. The posts could explain search engine optimization in one installment and a favorite vacation spot in the next.
This style is what many creator newsletters do now.
Consider Sahil Bloom. His newsletter, “The Curiosity Chronicle,” is a blend of business philosophy, ideas, and personal information. He has almost 110,000 subscribers.
His July 27, 2022, edition was all about “razors.”
“A ‘razor’ is a rule of thumb that simplifies decision making,” Bloom wrote.
“The origin of the term comes from philosophy, where any principle that allowed one to quickly remove unlikely explanations or avoid unnecessary steps became referred to as a philosophical razor. A razor literally allowed its user to ‘shave off’ explanations or actions,” Bloom continued.
In his May 18, 2022, edition, Bloom offered a series of goal-setting suggestions but started by introducing the readers to his newborn son.
He wrote, “Welcome to the most important new member of the curiosity tribe who joined us since Friday — my son, Roman Reddy Bloom. I spent the first 30 years of my life trying to find the meaning and purpose of all of this. Then one day, it was staring right back at me. My new best friend.”
The New Opportunity
Brands can adopt the concept of the creator newsletter to build an additional channel of engagement while collecting email addresses. Here are a few ways to get started.
Use personality. Consider using individuals, such as company founders, as the face of the newsletter. Include personal experiences and anecdotes in addition to helpful editorial content. When it arrives in someone’s inbox, the newsletter should feel like it is coming from a friend. Readers follow the author.
Provide context and value. Very often, creator newsletters provide more than a product intro or idea. James Camp, the creator of the Nano Flips newsletter, includes business tactics and acquisition opportunities. His readers likely value his newsletter for the actionable advice they receive.
Write for the medium. Write for the newsletter first. Don’t write a blog post to link from an email. The newsletter is the medium. Publish to a website as a secondary objective.
Be consistent. Successful creator newsletters are consistent. They publish on a schedule. The newsletter is an appointment in the reader’s inbox. Don’t miss the appointment.
Use the list for promotion, too. Although it should be personal, relational, and helpful, an email newsletter is also a marketing device. Include promotional messages. Use the Pareto principle and aim for an 80/20 ratio of editorial to promotional content.