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How email newsletters are evolving

Signing up for an email newsletter used to be a risky business, but two things have dramatically lowered the risk. 

  1. Unsubscribing has become a more reliable process, with many companies offering a 'less frequent' option. 
  2. Users have figured out how to avoid having newsletters get in the way of more urgent messages. (Plus, urgent messages just don't go through email that often anymore.) 

Now we're experiencing an amazing flowering of email newsletters. 

  • small-base newsletters are becoming more important
  • engagement is more prized than reach
  • newsletter variety has exploded. 

Here's a good recap of what's happening with publisher newsletters, from NiemanLab: Here's how to build a better newsletter

And here are some really cool newsletters for you to browse:

  • Recomendo: 6 brief recommendations for cool stuff every week. Co-authored by Kevin Kelly
  • Om Weekly is an intermittent personal newsletter by the inimitable Kelly Barrett, but if she's not your cup of tea, you should still review her 2014 article about how newsletters are evolving
  • No Mercy / No Malice covers the media landscape and more with Scott Galloway's withering insight. 
  • Dexigner sends a monthly dose of man-made beauty from around the world. 
  • Storythings is a weekly newsletter with summaries and links to diverse and powerful stories on the internet.
  • If you think you have a book in you, you have to subscribe to David Moldawer's Maven Game. If like me, you doubt you'll ever write a book, you'll still enjoy his advice on "writing, speaking, and sharing--without hating yourself in the morning."

I'm assuming that you already know about theSkimm, NextDraft, and Quartz. These allow me to put the news in perspective and keep up with all the new memes. 

I just realized that I don't have enough beauty in my inbox, so I just signed up for the National Geographic newsletter. I'll let you know how that goes.