I have a confession to make. I have a love/hate relationship with email newsletters. On the one hand, I get annoyed with them for distracting me with their push notifications. Ooh, I got an email! I wonder if it’s a life-changing message or an update from a long-lost friend. Nope, it’s just a flingin’ flangin’ newsletter. Then there’s the fact that they visually clog up my inbox. Why do I have 1,000+ unread email messages? Oh, right. Because roughly 99.9% of them are newsletters or automated messages.
Okay, so we’ve covered the hate part.
But where is the love?
There’s a reason why I continue to sign up for email newsletters in spite of all of the nuisances that I’ve described above. It’s because when an email newsletter is truly well-written and curated, it can be interesting, informative, and even inspiring.
So here are 5 email newsletters that consistently deliver quality content.
1. Total Annarchy
I’m an unabashed Ann Handley fan. After seeing her speak at several conferences and reading her book, Everybody Writes, I consider her my content marketing role model. And her new-ish newsletter, Total Annarchy, just confirms this.
Each edition begins with a little story (or an “ann-ecdote,” if you will) and contains tons of useful tidbits on writing, marketing, and work/life in general. If you want, you can simply read the contents of the newsletter and leave it at that. But so far I’ve found it impossible to get through one without clicking on several of the links. There’s just too much good stuff in there! For example, one of the gems in the latest newsletter was this “Time Traveler” tool from Merriam Webster that shows you which words first appeared in print in any given year. I also love the cadence—I think once every two weeks is perfect, especially because of the depth of the content.
2. The Art of Non-Conformity
If you’ve ever felt like you were longing to live a remarkable life in a conventional world, then you’ll appreciate Chris Guillebeau’s weekly newsletter, The Art of Non-Conformity. Chris does all sorts of amazing things, like putting on World Domination Summit, traveling to every country in the world before the age of 35, and writing books like Born For This, The Happiness of Pursuit, and The $100 Startup. So it’s not too surprising that his newsletter contains inspiring stories of people following their dreams, a roundup of cool side hustles, and travel hacking tips. If any of those topics appeal to you, definitely check out The Art of Non-Conformity.
3. Sunday Sessions with Deanne Love
I love Sunday Sessions with Deanne Love so much I already wrote an entire blog post about it. Deanne has a wildly successful business as a hula hoop instructor, but with Sunday Sessions she’s branching out to offer advice on entrepreneurship and marketing. Deanne is a master at writing in a conversational, down-to-earth tone. Her subject lines are pure genius. Because she’s a friend of mine in real life, I’ve had to open a few of her newsletters just to check that they weren’t actually emails that were intended for me. In this weekly newsletter, which comes out on Sundays in Australia (which means Saturday afternoonish here on the West Coast), she covers topics ranging from understanding your audience to replacing negative self-talk to the perils of trusting what you see on social media. Consider her your hilarious marketing mentor.
4. The Hustle
Every weekday morning (and now on Sundays!), The Hustle delivers the latest in business. The weekday edition features quick snippets about a few different stories, while the Sunday edition is a more in-depth look at a single topic. Overall, their angle skews towards startups and tech, but they also cover larger, more established companies when they’re a part of something that’s especially newsworthy. The tone is snarky and entertaining—the coworker who told me about The Hustle described it as “news for millennials,” which is kind of cringe-worthy, but it gives you an idea about what sort of tone to expect.
Definitely one of the best things ever about The Hustle is the welcome email you get when you subscribe. From the attention-grabbing subject line: “Look what you did, you little jerk…” to descriptions of staff members doing everything from golf claps to taking shots of tequila, this email is just a hint of what’s in store for you now that you’re a subscriber. This isn’t accidental, by the way. At Con Con, CEO Sam Parr described how he’s very intentional about all the little details, or as he put it “the really, really boring stuff.” For the record, I don’t find this stuff boring at all—I think it’s super interesting!
5. The Skimm
Similar to The Hustle, The Skimm is a newsletter that comes out every weekday and offers quick snippets on several topics. But rather than focusing on business, The Skimm offers more of a broad overview of what’s going on in the world. You’ll get the latest in politics, world news, sports, and even celebrity gossip. I appreciate the quick summaries of the top headlines of the day.
While I would say that the writing of The Hustle skews more masculine, The Skimm definitely skews more feminine, and sometimes news stories are couched in terms that come across as flippant or even disrespectful. So I don’t always love the way they choose to present information, but I like the format. The bite-size sections make it easy to get a high-level view of several timely topics without getting too bogged down in the details.
These email newsletters can inform you, inspire you, and maybe make you a little better at writing and marketing to boot. I’d love to hear your recommendations. Are there any newsletters you love that consistently deliver excellent content? Drop me a line in the comments to let me know!