4 Simple Rules Successful Newsletters Follow for Loyal Readership


Your list of email addresses could be your company's more valuable asset becaue it's the only following you truly own. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest of the gaggle dictate who sees what and when. Your list of email addresses will always belong to you. Better yet, you control exactly what they get from you and when.

An email newsletter is an essential part of any effective marketing strategy. A newsletter provides your readers with insight into your brand and brand awareness builds brand trust. Here are four simple rules you can use for building a loyal readership for your newsletter:

  1. Be authentic.
  2. Be relevant.
  3. Be fun.
  4. Be consistent.

There are many successful newsletters that follow these rules. Two that truly stand out are Morning Brew and CBInsights

Morning brew newsletter shortened moreMorning Brew has gained a large and loyal following for their daily newsletter. They have a clear and consistent brand voice and cover content their readers find interesting. Morning Brew presents the information in a way that is easy to digest. 

They also provide convenient links to dive deeper into the material they curate. By sticking to this simple formula, they have gained nearly two million daily readers. In fact, they have an impressive open rate in excess of 40%. 

CBInsights offers many analysis products, but may be best known for their popular email newsletter. When they first started sending a newsletter, they reported their analyses without bias or opinion, yet they didn’t see the engagement that they wanted. They eventually began to alter their approach by moving away from the dull business reporting that’s the norm.

By inserting some personality into their newsletter, they’ve grown their list of subscribers to over 500,000. CBInsights now touts an average of 30% for their email open rate, which is 5 to 10% higher than the industry average.

 1. Be Authentic

Stick to your brand voice. Morning Brew doesn’t try to be The Wall Street Journal or The Economist. They are who they are and they appeal to a segment of the population who like their style. When you write original content or pieces that pull from other sources, keep the style aligned with your brand. Don’t jump all over the place. 

CBInsights never shies away from an opportunity to make their readers giggle. B2B news is typically serious so a bit of humor can break up the monotony. Your newsletter doesn’t have to talk about microdosing LSD or apologizing to zebras, but don’t be afraid to find your own style of bringing joy to your readers. 

 CBInslghts newsletter shortened more2. Be Relevant

Morning Brew focuses on the topics their readers want to read. This is a tough one for brands as opposed to media companies. Brands want to talk about their products, their services, or at least their content, but consumers may not be that interested. They have some level of interest in the brand or they wouldn’t be a subscriber to begin with. However, that doesn’t mean they want to repeatedly hear pitches from the brand.

Being an analysis company presented CBInsights with a unique opportunity to talk about any and all types of companies with data. Sure, they talk about the big tech companies a lot, but they also share their thoughts on smaller companies, startups and notable moments. Share relevant industry news with your readers, not just news about you.

3. Be Fun

Morning Brew has a tone that makes it easy to read, fun and engaging. As a regular reader, you know that you’ll always find some interesting content that isn’t about them. However, it aligns with the ideas the brand stands for in every issue. By reading their content and links to outside content, they deliver value to the reader and ultimately build trust in the relationship, and that’s pretty darn cool. 

CBInsights uses quirky, eye-catching subject lines to grab their readers attention like “the bank of Beyonce” and “turtlenecks-as-a-service.” They’re unusual and inspire curiosity in the reader. Subject lines are the bait for your newsletter and should lure your reader in. Be careful to ensure the reward matches the “bait” - that you are tying the subject line to meaningful value within.

4. Be Consistent

Morning Brew sends a newsletter out six days a week and CBInsights sends newsletters out three days a week. Most brands that attempt to publish a newsletter struggle to get one out every month, or even every quarter. If you’re going to have a newsletter of any type, it is important to be with your readers frequently, otherwise, you’re quickly out of sight and out of mind. 

Weekly is usually a good default, but depending on the industry, you can get away with bi-weekly. However, many newsletters that perform the best go out multiple times per week. A key message for brands is that your newsletters don’t have to be super long. Instead of one newsletter per month with six to eight pieces of content, you could have a weekly newsletter with two pieces for that week or bi-weekly with three or four. Shorter newsletters tend to perform very well.

The tactics that Morning Brew and CBInsights use may not apply directly to your readership. You need to find the right content, schedule, and voice for your own newsletter with planning as well as some trial and error. Email is still the most effective way to reach your audience on a consistent basis when you choose to. Just make sure you’re delivering more value to your reader than you are receiving from them.


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