Editorial newsletters are the new blogs

Editorial newsletters are having a moment. For content marketers, this seeming renaissance can 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 – have close ties to 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 their audience or Eric Bandholz’s connection with the audience of the “Ecommerce Conversations” podcast.

These newsletters not only inform the reader about something. They express a personal point of view.

Content marketers who aren’t looking 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 blogging, an essential part of search engine optimization and engagement.

Menswear 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, an article by Mr. Porter titled “20 Summer Spirit Items to Brighten Your Mood” resembles GQ Magazine’s article, “20 Most Wanted Pieces of the Season.”

Mr. Porter’s “The Journal” could be described as a blog, but it’s also a multi-authored publication, similar to a traditional publisher.

Screenshot of GQ Magazine article, " The 20 most sought-after pieces of the season."

GQ Magazine, first published in 1931 in print, contains several articles – especially online – that differ little from Mr. Porter’s “The Journal”.

Blogs (short for “weblogs”) used to be the personal diaries of individuals. The posts might explain search engine optimization in one episode and a favorite vacation spot in the next.

This style is what many designer newsletters are doing now.

Consider Sahil Bloom. Its newsletter, “The Curiosity Chronicle”, is a mix of business philosophy, ideas and personal information. It has nearly 110,000 subscribers.

Its 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 quickly removed improbable explanations or avoided unnecessary steps became a philosophical razor. A razor literally allowed its user to ‘shave off’ explanations or actions Bloom continued.

Screenshot of Sahil Bloom's newsletter titled,

Bloom’s newsletter is informative and professional. It reads like a long column of newspaper.

In his May 18, 2022 edition, Bloom offered a series of goal-setting suggestions, but began by introducing readers to his newborn son.

He wrote: “Welcome to the most important new member of the Curiosities tribe who has joined us since Friday – my son, Roman Reddy Bloom. I spent the first 30 years of my life trying to find meaning and purpose in it all. Then one day he was staring at me. My new best friend.

Screenshot of Sahil Bloom featuring her newborn son in her May 18, 2022 newsletter.

Bloom has shared a milestone in her personal life with her readers. Her son made subsequent appearances in the newsletter.

The new opportunity

Brands can adopt the concept of the creator newsletter to build an additional engagement channel 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. Add personal experiences and anecdotes in addition to helpful editorial content. When it arrives in someone’s inbox, the newsletter should look like it came from a friend. Readers follow the author.

Provide context and value. Very often, creator newsletters provide more than an introduction or product idea. James Camp, the creator of the Nano Flips newsletter, includes business tactics and acquisition opportunities. His readers probably appreciate his newsletter for the practical advice they receive.

Write for the medium. First write for the newsletter. Don’t write a blog post to link from an email. The newsletter is the medium. Publish on a website as a secondary objective.

To be coherent. Successful creators’ newsletters are consistent. They post on a schedule. The newsletter is an appointment in the reader’s inbox. Don’t miss the appointment.

Also use the list for promotion. Although it should be personal, relational and useful, an email newsletter is also a marketing tool. Include promotional messages. Use the Pareto principle and aim for an 80/20 ratio between editorial content and promotional content.

Harry L. Blanchard