How to make your newsletter really worth reading (’cause it’s probably boring now)


How many newsletters in your own inbox do you actually read?

1 in 20? (be honest)

How many do you actually look forward to reading?

1 in 10?

How many do you swipe into the trash can without opening?

80% of them?

Am I right?

{giving you a minute to soak in which category your newsletter falls}

Before you think about killing your newsletter because it’s an annoying time-suck to write and you secretly suspect that you’re one of the 80%, let’s try to save your newsletter (and your reputation).

Newsletters Overlay

Your newsletter needs a compelling reason to exist or you’re up-a-creek

Maybe you don’t need a newsletter, but you DO need a consistent email communication with your subscribers or they forget you.

Your readers need to hear from you weekly, but no less than twice per month if you don’t want your subscribers to mentally opt-out from your emails.

Your blog or just a regular email that highlights one issue and goes deep works great in place of a newsletter, but whatever you choose: email on a regular schedule.

I like single topic emails because they perform better for opens and click-throughs and revenue.

I’m an unabashed email revenue mercenary, but you may choose to keep sending a newsletter for a variety of reasons:

  • internal stakeholders can’t bear to let it go
  • it drives traffic to your site even if it doesn’t drive revenue
  • major donors like it (and you like major donors)
  • your competitors send one and you don’t want to be the one guy that doesn’t
  • you want to show your customers you care, even if they don’t read it

The bigger question is: do your readers need your newsletter and if so, why?

This is an opportunity for you… because THE problem with most email newsletters is that they are still written as if three or four articles is good enough value.

Its not.

Use this to gain a competitive edge.

When you define a high value reason for your newsletter to exist, you’re more likely to move into the coveted 20% opened column..

Examples of clearly defined reasons for newsletters to exist that work:

“I read everything so you can read the best”

“When you want balanced news”

“Days most interesting news”

“Get exclusive online strategies you won’t find anywhere else”

“Insider techniques never publicly released”

“Use small habits to multiply your mental and physical performance by 10x”

“The personalized insider newsletter for all things startup in your area”

BONUS: once you clearly define the reason for your newsletter to exist… it makes finding content to write so much easier because you know exactly what topics to share and when.

Your newsletter must radiate value

Same as your blog post or one-topic emails. Your email newsletter must radiate value to your readers in each article.

I’ll admit that this is why I prefer blogs or one-topic emails.

I run a small shop, and chances are you do too.

It’s time consuming enough to provide high value on a single topic when you’ve got shoestring marketing budget and small staff.

Your newsletter must radiate personality

Corporate newsletters especially can be boring.

I blame the lawyers for that.

The copy is watered down by the time the “send” button is sent.

But this day in age, your email and newsletters must beam your personality to be memorable.

Make it feel as though your readers are hearing from a friend… and they’ll look forward to your newsletter.

Write your newsletter in your voice, or organizational voice, and in a conversational tone that reminds your readers why your point of view matters, like this fun excerpt from

Man Crates

Check out to see “voice” that sells

Cool email newsletters you oughta check out

Check out these newsletters… you don’t have to subscribe to all of them.

Many of these sites have back issue pages that you can flip through.

That way you can find inspiration without blowing up your inbox.

I’d love to know if  you have a newsletter I should highlight. If so, hit “Reply” with the link. I’d love to see it.