5 rules of effective newslettering from Product Hunt, Buzzfeed, and Rusty Forster’s Today in Tabs


Good newsletters are like good underwear: always long enough to cover the subject, but usually short enough to ensure comfort. We looked at our favourites - Product Hunt, Medium, Buzzfeed, and Rusty Forster’s Today in Tabs - to figure out why we open and read them, while the rest of the newsletters gather dust.

1. The Subject Line

Everything starts with a single subject line. What one thing can you say to your readers to increase your open rate? Today in Tabs and Buzzfeed regularly excel at this, because we are dying to know what happens next: “Today in Tabs: Bitch Better Have My Tabs”, “Today in Tabs: Sunglasses & Advil”, “Are You Kidding Me?” and “Aaaah that’s nice”. Can your subject line be, to put it mildly, more fun? It’s not that hard to stand out in the sea of boring.

2. It’s a Party

Seriously. Rusty Foster’s Today in Tabs is having a party right in your inbox. Here’s how that newsletter does it: “Welcome to Tabs, coming to you today from deep inside my lower intestine, as I have at this point climbed completely up my own ass and disappeared,” Mr. Foster began his newsletter on the squabble. The result was a 30 percent uptick in subscribers and attention.

3. Emoji the Future

Emoji is a super easy way to make your newsletters more fun to read, and not many people take full advantage of all the possibilities, even though Mailchimp and others support emoji fully, even in the subject line. Sweet!

4. Work that FOMO

Medium newsletters take a FOMO approach, because all the people are reading all the things, and you’re missing out. Here’s a sampling: “A Product Manager’s Job” published in What I Learned Building by Josh Elman, “Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce” published by Andrew Wilkinson“, and “Ashton Kutcher’s Investment Strategy” published by Product Hunt. You can see how Medium is working off the trending, popular, and virality-proof subject lines, keeping us all informed through the brilliant use of FOMO.

5. Track All The Things

Once your newsletter goes out, how are you tracking if it’s making waves? You want to identify and track your top metrics, like open rate, new leads, and conversions, and come up with the right formula for your newsletter that works.

Newsletters don’t have to gather dust, firends. Organizations powered up by content always win, because you crowdsource the best content out there and organize it by subjects your team is tracking. Marketing teams using Pressly for content discovery have a much, much easier time putting awesome newsletters together. Check out how marketers use Pressly, today.