The Rise of Video and the Resilience of Newsletters
With the rise of TikTok and Instagram reels, video has dominated the web for the last 5 years, and shows no signs of stopping. For those of us (ahem, me) that prefer articles and reading to watching a video, this has been very frustrating. Even the local news’ weather report page leads with a video instead of the three-sentence summary.
Luckily, there’s been an unstoppable object to video’s immovable force: email newsletters.
The Power of Email Newsletters
According to recent data, email marketing continues to be an effective way to engage customers, with 77% of marketers reporting increased engagement in the past year. Email also beats social media in terms of engagement rates, with an average open rate of 22.86% and an average click-through rate of 3.71%.
Newsletter platform Substack has seen a massive increase in paid subscriptions, with over one million subscribers in late 2021, up from 50,000 in mid-2019. As of March 2023, Substack has over two million active paid subscribers.
Personal Transformation and Digital Minimalism
Those of you who also run a business may relate to this. Pretty much to the day since I started Arnold Marketing Consultants, I stopped posting on social media. I stopped looking at social media. I went from a twitter-scrolling news addict to being totally unplugged from the news dramas of the day.
My free time is limited and precious, and in that free time, I crave space, peace, minimalism, and thoughtfulness. The fragmented nature of social media, its short, outrage-bait headlines, and tribalism contribute too much emotional noise. So I simply stopped looking.
Does this make me a less informed citizen? Of course it does. I still need to know who and why I’m voting for at the ballot box.
But is there maybe a better balance between getting “news” in a constant steady pulse-raising stressor drip all day, and being intentional about what you let into your brain? Case in point: I recently became aware of some salacious murder story that’s been all over, because the local talk radio spent at least an HOUR talking about it. For a crime that happened to individuals in another state. I just went to CNN.com to see if the story would be listed, and it was the second largest headline.
And let’s not even get into the ouroboros that is Twitter drama about Twitter drama.
Enough shaking my fist at clouds.
Navigating the Information Landscape: My Regular Reads
Here are the main sources of information I read regularly:
The topics vary wildly and usually follow the trending news stories, but they are layered with a depth of research and unique connections I don’t see from many others. It’s not the most thought-provoking newsletter, but it’s a way to get some entertainment in without it feeling too nonsubstantive.
Tech, marketing, and humanity – Prof G ties these all together in a way that’s elegant and elevated. Sometimes he gets too up his own ass, but this is by far my favorite piece of media I consume.
He’s been at the highest echelons of power and isn’t afraid to tell that power it’s being dumb. Case in point: he was calling out Twitter for having a part-time CEO (Jack Dorsey, Square) while being on the board of Twitter.
He walks the walk. The research is solid.
This is the most political source of information I get anymore (I truly do not watch the news, read the news, or look at social media).
I’m sure it’s horribly controversial in some way, but for the most part, I’ve found the articles to be measured and reasonable. It claims to be non-partisan but I would say it leans more to the right, which is a nice contrast, as I spent the years prior to starting my business steeped in as far left as you can get, and I was dissatisfied with that imbalance.
It is a little too news-of-the-day for me but I pick and choose one to three articles a week to deep-dive into.
I referenced Hubspot earlier, and this is a wonderful extension of their world-class content marketing. The Hustle is a daily newsletter, focused on tech and macro trends. They deep-dive into topics and also give you some skimmable headlines.
It’s another competitor to the 5-minute “start of the day” newsletters like The Skimm, Bleacher Report, or Morning Brew. But I find it most relevant to entrepreneurs and business owners.
The one source of truth on optimizing your time to not just be more productive, but more balanced, using the new world of AI to do so. Marissa knows her shit. I’ve spent years studying productivity and time management, and her newsletter always teaches me something new. With society (hopefully) moving away from the grind culture and moving toward a more intentional and holistic life, it’s nice to not have Gary Vee shame you for not waking up at 4 AM.
My team knows exactly when this gets published, because without fail, I share multiple screenshots from this newsletter.
It’s a quick hit but packed with clever and usable information on everything from pricing, to copywriting, to brand positioning.
The Enduring Value of Newsletters
In summary, newsletters are a breath of fresh air. In the marketing world there always seems to be a new shiny object, and it’s a relief to see that something “tried and true” is sticking around and remaining effective.
People crave content that’s easy to digest, valuable, and slightly entertaining. We at AMC always try to make sure our newsletters check that box, and that our clients’ content does, as well!