12 Exceptional Newsletters That Will Change Your Approach to Email Forever
By Kelly Forst April 7, 2021
These are not your average emails. Get ready to be inspired.
The best email newsletters provide value and captivate subscribers week after week. That’s how smart email marketers get their audience to open, click, and share their newsletter again and again.
But how do you consistently produce and deliver an engaging newsletter? A little inspiration from the most successful email newsletters can help!
The AWeber team is constantly scouring the internet for the top email newsletters on the planet. Here, we narrow the results down to 12 of our favorite email newsletters.
1. Total Annarchy by Ann Handley
In her bi-weekly email newsletter Total Annarchy, Handley, a masterful digital marketer and author of “Everybody Writes,” shares writing tips, links to useful content, and, as she says,“some high-spirited shenanigans.”
Why is this newsletter great?
- Ann’s newsletter is written in a confident, bold tone that’s uniquely hers.
- Ann is one of the true authorities in content marketing and writing, and she shares her wisdom with her Total Annarchy subscribers — making this an incredibly valuable newsletter for marketers.
- Total Annarchy is a long-form newsletter, but length isn’t the sole indicator of quality. Because Total Annarchy is jam packed with fantastic content and education, this newsletter leaves the reader craving more. As SaaS marketer Tom Tate says, “Total Annarchy is like a hearty bowl of soup. Full of useful content, both original and curated. Can’t recommend this newsletter enough.”
2. James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter
Every Thursday, James Clear — author of Atomic Habits and thought leader in the self-development space — sends a newsletter he calls The 3-2-1 Newsletter. Readers expect 3 short ideas, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to drive deep thought in the newsletter.
Why is this newsletter exceptional?
- The name of the newsletter immediately tells readers what they can expect. Every single week, readers know to expect 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 thought-provoking question.
- Simple, streamlined design keeps readers focused on the content of the newsletter.
- Clear’s 3 ideas are easily shareable on Twitter. The inclusion of shareable links makes it incredibly easy to post something that resonated with you on your social channels, which not only shows the world that you align with that belief, but raises awareness of Clear’s newsletter as well.
With more than 13,000 subscribers, FoundersGrid is a weekly email newsletter focused on delivering the best tech and startup news. It’s packed with valuable content in a digestible format.
What to like about this newsletter
- The newsletter is scannable and easy to digest.
- FoundersGrid curates and summarizes news from reputable sources. Readers can be confident they can find all the news they need in this one newsletter.
4. Work in Progress
Formerly called The Daily, Work in Progress is a newsletter from entrepreneur and business expert Jay Clouse. He reflects on his latest learnings from building his own business. His down-to-earth and human tone builds a relationship with subscribers that keeps them reading and coming back.
What to love about this newsletter
- Jay’s voice and tone are uniquely his. You get a sense of who he is, what he stands for, and how he feels about a topic.
- Jay writes with a deep understanding of his audience and their problems.
5. Product Thoughts
For anyone who wants to learn about product management and business leadership, Product Thoughts is a must-subscribe. In a weekly email, the newsletter helps more than 1,500 product leaders stay on top of the latest strategies and tips.
“He includes a thought, something he’s working on, and a trend at the beginning — almost a short blog post — and then includes a curated section of good posts from around the web. It saves me a lot of time because I don’t have to search for this content myself.”
-Meghan Nesta, Product Manager at AWeber
6. Early to Rise by Craig Ballantyne
Week after week, Ballantyne delivers a well-written and insightful newsletter – Early to Rise – which provides his own thoughts on health, wealth, and life. The secret to his success? His deliberate, consistent, and unusual writing schedule.
Ballantyne wakes up at 4 a.m. every day. For two hours straight, he writes. And writes. And writes. He calls this window his ‘magic time,’ when he’s most productive.
What to love about this newsletter
- Craig’s content is totally original. A different take on an often discussed topic, Craig’s passion for the morning routine comes through.
- His writing is wrapped in interesting and relevant anecdotes, so it’s never dull or boring.
Eddie Shleyner is a master storyteller. That talent is fully reflected in his newsletter VeryGoodCopy, which boasts over 18,700 subscribers. He shares his wisdom through powerful anecdotes and stories that his readers can relate to. He goes against the grain by publishing “micro interviews” with thought leaders, getting right to the heart of the most important takeaways about copy and content writing advice.
Why AWeber’s copywriter & content marketer thinks you should subscribe:
“Eddie knows how to use words to evoke emotion and create powerful connections with his readers, starting with his storytelling. I eagerly read line by line, knowing that the lesson between the lines will be well worth the time to read. His writing is truly selfless, giving every word and ounce of wisdom he has to his audience. That’s the mark of a masterful writer.”
– Kelly Forst, Content Marketer at AWeber
8. Smashing Newsletter
Some email newsletters stand out because they’re unique. Others rise above the rest with an unwavering dedication to quality. Smashing Newsletter manages to do both in their bi-monthly letter to subscribers.
“I LOVE Smashing Newsletter because every edition is jam packed with synopses that clearly communicate which articles from the bunch might captivate me, instead of just teasing me into clicking. I also love the fact that there’s a table of contents at the beginning of each newsletter.”
– Chris Vasquez, Director of Product at AWeber
9. Morning Brew
Another long-form newsletter, Morning Brew is packed with valuable content for their business focused audience. They have multiple versions of the newsletter for different industries, and you can easily subscribe to at the bottom of each newsletter.
What makes Morning Brew worthwhile:
- Recently, the Morning Brew has been adding a coffee cup emoji at the beginning of their subject lines. This adds a branded element to the subject line and makes it immediately identifiable to their readers sorting through emails first thing in the morning.
- It’s personal. I may not be interested in retail news, but I want the latest marketing trends, so I subscribe to Marketing Brew.
10. The Hustle
Over 1.5 million people subscribe to The Hustle. There’s a reason so many people trust this newsletter for their news. Every morning, The Hustle sends an email with the latest business and technology news, written in a smart yet humorous voice. The read is not only educational but enjoyable.
Why this newsletter is great:
- The Hustle is written as if to a best friend. The writers understand the value of understanding their audience and write in a friendly, humorous and entertaining way.
- The lengthiness of this newsletter is a check in the pro box for subscribing to The Hustle. It covers everything from the biggest news of the day, to curated short snippets of news from other sources, features a story highlighting one of their SMB readers, and analysis of stock market trends presented in an uncomplicated way.
- The Hustle’s referral program is a stroke of genius. When readers share The Hustle with friends using their unique referral code, they earn points, which makes them eligible for gifts and exclusive access.
theSkimm is a daily email geared towards women and delivered at approximately 6:30 a.m.
What makes this newsletter great:
- The tone of the newsletter is fun and lighthearted, despite the often grim news stories plaguing our feeds these days. Big news stories are never brushed off, but theSkimm’s writers know how to present hard news in a friendly way.
- The 90’s references and pop culture sprinkled throughout demonstrate they know their audience of predominantly millennial readers.
- They make their readers feel special. At the end of each newsletter, theSkimm calls out their subscribers celebrating big and small wins, like career moves, making a community impact, and birthdays.
12. The AWeber Newsletter
If you want to stay on top of the latest email marketing trends, see more success with email, and get strategy tips from the experts, the AWeber blog newsletter — FWD: Thinking — is a necessity. Our weekly newsletter is packed with valuable email marketing content in an easy-to-skim format.
We’re email marketing addicts and proud of it. When you subscribe, you’ll learn from email experts who spend hours testing new email marketing strategies. (so you don’t need to!)
Additional reporting by Liz Willits