If you’re considering starting a newsletter, you might be unsure about what kind of content to create and share, what your audience would find valuable, or how to grow a newsletter audience.
Sometimes the best place to draw inspiration is from examples you admire. So let’s look at nine other newsletters you can use for insight into what works well to build up an audience or online business.
9 newsletter ideas to draw inspiration from
Starting a newsletter is a great idea. It can help provide even more value for your audience, gives you an owned list of subscribers, and can help you bring in even more customers and revenue for your business.
Create an advice column
The first advice column was created in 1690 as part of London’s bi-weekly Athenian Mercury and has been a staple ever since. Famous columns like Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers have become household names, but smaller, more niche advice columns have existed alongside them.
Freelance writing membership site Peak Freelance has launched its own weekly “Dear Freelancer” newsletter to provide freelancers with advice and tips to be successful.
Each week they answer questions from freelancers like, “How do I know the right rates?” and, “How should I charge?” To offer the most value they answer these questions with in-depth responses based on professional freelancer experience.
Think about what insights you have to offer your audience. Perhaps an advice column is exactly the route to take for your own newsletter.
Share news or trending topics
Another newsletter idea is to share news or trending topics in a weekly newsletter format. One popular example of this that has gained massive traction within the marketing space is The Daily Carnage from marketing agency Carney.
The newsletter is divided into sections like Listen, Read, Watch, and other more fluid topics. They include podcast episodes, articles, and videos, all covering industry news, polls, questions, and other interactive elements. This newsletter helps keep marketers in the know with the latest industry updates.
Another similar option is called NextDraft, developed by creator Dave Pell. He’s built up a daily news newsletter with over 139,000 subscribers by simply analyzing, summarizing, and sharing each weekday’s top 10 news topics.
You can do something similar within your own niche, compiling, explaining, and sharing popular trends or updates that are helpful to your target audience. This can help you establish yourself as a go-to authority on certain topics and increase the trust your subscribers have in you.
Try snail mail
Here’s a new strategy for you—a snail mail newsletter. Now, you don’t have to send out every version of your newsletter as snail mail. But one creator made a splash by launching her brand new newsletter to certain recipients via snail mail before it hit inboxes.
A week ago I spent the day at FedEx printing out the first newsletter I’ll be sending digitally next week.
The goal of this newsletter is to help you take a moment and reflect on your growth and how you are showing up in your life.
It’s a physical representation of what… pic.twitter.com/V9hs0JMaCA
— Amanda Goetz (@AmandaMGoetz) June 6, 2023
If you’re able to snag some subscribers’ physical addresses, consider creating a physical version of your newsletter to send. Plus, take a page from Amanda’s Life’s A Game newsletter and send out a little something extra—like a Community Chest card she mailed to subscribers. Her subscribers loved it, and it was certainly a way to make a splash.
Try this yourself, or get creative and think of another way to launch your newsletter with a bang. It’ll get people talking, increasing awareness of your new channel.
Share your newsletter archive
You can prove your newsletter’s value before people even subscribe to it. Offer either your most recent newsletter or your entire newsletter archive to be viewed before someone makes the decision to subscribe.
The 1440 newsletter shares top news, culture, sports, politics, and business stories and offers a link to “Today’s Briefing” on its website so interested subscribers can check out an actual version of the newsletter before subscribing.
Other newsletters—like the aforementioned The Daily Carnage, Morning Brew, and more, include a full archive of all past newsletters.
If you know you provide value, don’t gatekeep it. Those who truly see the value in your content are going to subscribe to receive it in their inboxes—even if they could go to your newsletter’s website instead.
Turn your newsletter into a podcast
Repurposing content is always a good idea—and why not include your newsletter in that, too? Take a page out of the daily business and technology newsletter The Hustle’s page and repurpose your newsletter content into a podcast episode.
You can either dig deeper into your newsletter’s topic or use your podcast for supplemental information. This is a great way to help all of your content offerings mesh well together, building an audience for both and ensuring they go hand in hand.
Focus on the visuals
You don’t have to be a writer to create a successful newsletter. Let your other skills guide your newsletter, whether you’re an artist, videographer, photographer, graphic designer, or what have you.
One great example of this comes from the newsletter Chartr.
This newsletter is all about data visualization, using charts to showcase information. The newsletter is used to explain more about what subscribers are seeing in each chart.
But there are so many ways to make a visual newsletter that your subscribers will love:
- Link to videos you’ve made
- Showcase your photography
- Create a weekly comic
- Mockup humorous UI (like @soren_iverson on Twitter)
If you’re a visual content creator, make that the focus of your newsletter. It’ll fit perfectly in with your existing content and provide you with another outlet for sharing your skills.
Use your progress as a case study
If you’re trying something new—like running a new business, growing your income, learning a new skill, etc.—your newsletter can be the perfect place to document your progress.
This is exactly what Brendan Aw does in his newsletter The Raw Baw.
This strategy is something Brendan recommends for any creator newsletter:
Write case studies from any aspect of your personal life.
Aim to provide one lesson each week for your audience.
— Brendan Aw (@brendanaw) June 6, 2023
Providing a lesson a week, as he mentions in his tweet, is a great option. Or you can simply provide a weekly or monthly recap on your own progress: what you did, what the results were, how they compared with your goals, etc.
Find a niche
If you’re still unsure of how to go about your newsletter, niching down is key. Who do you want to appeal to? How can you help a specific audience?
The newsletter Cardigan Club is the perfect example of this. It’s a newsletter about burnout and self-care—but specifically for therapists.
What is the niche you’ve already created for your business and the content you develop? See if you can take that a step further with your newsletter. If you appeal to a very particular sect of your audience, it’s unlikely that a similar newsletter exists. This removes competition and increases the number of people who might subscribe to your newsletter over others.
Create a roundup
Finally, our last idea is to create a roundup newsletter. These types of newsletters tend to gather other great articles and pieces of content on the internet and share them in one place, helping subscribers find amazing content more easily.
The TLDR newsletter is a great example of this. Focusing mostly on the tech industry, the TDLR newsletter sections out top tech-related articles into categories like “Big Tech & Startups,” “Science & Futuristic Technology,” or “Programming, Design & Data Science.”
Roundup newsletters can be extremely valuable—you just need to make sure one hasn’t been created in your niche yet. Or if one does exist in your niche, that your newsletter is better. This type of newsletter can be just as time-consuming to put together as a written or visual one as it takes time to gather the top articles of the week.
However, it can be easy to build an audience for a roundup newsletter. This enables those in your industry to find the top content without having to search for it themselves.
Create your own newsletter
Creating a newsletter can be a great way to build your audience. Email marketing is a key strategy for creative businesses—you just need to get started with an idea. Find inspiration from our list or get started with your own idea. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.