The 10 Best Newsletter Types and Templates
If you're struggling to write a newsletter, read this.
Welcome to Newsletter Operator!
Here’s today’s rundown:
The 10 BEST newsletter templates that make writing 10X easier
The rise of unsexy B2B media
And MUCH more…
Let’s get into it.
10 Newsletter Formats and Templates You Can Copy
If you’re struggling to write a newsletter, starting from scratch, or interested in changing your newsletter content, this post is for you.
Having a great newsletter format and template will make your job as a writer easier.
Plus, your open rates and CTRs will increase with a better format too!
After researching 100+ newsletters I’ve found there are essentially 10 types of newsletters and newsletter formats.
Here they are:
1) Briefs and Bullets
Examples: Morning Brew, The Hustle, The Publish Press, The Peak, 1440, Front Office Sports, Stacked Marketer, and many more
This is the most popular type of newsletter format.
It was pioneered by MorningBrew and The Hustle, and many other newsletters have emulated this style.
It mostly consists of 2 types of sections:
These are short stories about current events. Often there are 3-5 briefs per newsletter. The top brief in a newsletter is about the biggest story of the day and is no longer than 300 words.
Secondary briefs should be between ~150 and 250 words.
Usually, all briefs in the newsletter are under 1,200 words, so the newsletter is easily consumable in under 5 minutes.
The Hustle and MorningBrew use a variety of bulleted sections in their newsletters to summarize the news or link to external content that’s fun, interesting, surprising, or useful.
When I worked at The Hustle, we surveyed readers to see what they like most about the newsletter. The “bulleted” sections in the newsletter were often readers' favorite.
At The Hustle, there have been 2 “bulleted” sections that have been in the newsletter for years:
“Snippets” (as pictured above) and “Around The Web”.
Snippets are summaries of the news, written in the Hustle’s tone and voice. Usually, The Hustle uses this section to cover and link to big stories that were not covered in the “Briefs”.
Around The Web is generally 6 short bullets that link to content that is fun, interesting, or useful.
That could be extraordinary images or facts, practical tips, useful websites or tools, or something funny or cute.
Should you write a Briefs and Bullets newsletter?
If your newsletter covers news and current events, this could be a great format for you.
However, if your newsletter is focused on education, curation only, or deep analysis this probably isn’t the best option for you.
2) TLDR summaries
Examples: TLDR newsletter, Growth Daily, ELEVATOR
The TLDR Newsletter was the first I’ve seen use this format.
It’s super smart and simple. Here’s how it works:
TLDR will link to an article in their headline, then summarize it below.
Articles and summarizes are also separated by sections like:
“Big Tech & Startups”, “Science & Futuristic Technology” and “Miscellaneous”
It almost seems too simple.
However, TLDR has over 1.2M subscribers and a 40% open rate so many readers love it.
I think what makes these works is great curation. If the curated articles and summaries are hyper-relevant to your subscribers this format will work.
If not, readers will churn or unsubscribe.
Growth Daily takes the summary format to the next level
I love Growth Daily’s take on this format.
They summarize the article linked in the headline with the first bullet. Then give an actionable takeaway with insights in the second bullet.
Should you write a TLDR summary style newsletter?
If your newsletter is focused on a niche or an industry vertical, this could be a great option.
However, the curated links you choose and your summaries need to be great and hyper-relevant for your audience.
3) All Bullets
Examples: Axios, Exec Sum, Ben’s Bites, Quartz Daily Brief, The Report
These newsletters summarize all the news you need to know into easy-to-read and skim bullets.
An example I love is Exec Sum.
It’s a newsletter for finance professionals, investment bankers, institutional investors, venture capitalists, traders, and more.
Over 80% of their newsletter content is bullets (100+ bullets per issue).
These bullets allow readers to skim and easily find the information they need to know daily for their job.
Exec Sum has over 200,000 subscribers and one of the highest open rates I’ve ever seen.
Should you write an All Bullets style newsletter?
To make this newsletter format work you need to publish daily or 3-4 times per week.
It’s also best for newsletters that have an audience of professionals who need a daily summary of news, events, and key information for their careers.
Most likely an “All Bullets” style newsletter will work best in the finance, venture capital, crypto, private equity, and political niches.
4) Curated List
Examples: 5 Bullet Friday, Sahil Bloom’s The Friday Five, James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter, Farnam Street’s Brain Food, Marketing Examples, The Daily Good, Moz Top 10
This type of newsletter has a numbered templated that the writer fills in.
They’re best explained with examples:
Tim Ferriss’ 5 Bullet Friday
Tim lists 5 things he has been loving, using, or reading that week. These could be books, articles, gadgets, quotes, products, music, and more.
James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter
James shares 3 short ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question for readers to ponder every Thursday.
Marketing Example’s Newsletter
Every Monday, Harry from Marketing Examples shares 3 short examples, 2 copywriting tips, and 1 favorite tweet.
Moz Top 10
Twice a month Moz shares the 10 most valuable articles about SEO they find.
Should you write a Curated List style newsletter?
If you’re an expert, thought leader, or brand this could be a great format for you.
It’s very easy to write and if the curation is good these newsletters have high open rates and click rates.
However, if you’ve just started creating content this may not be a good option.
To make a Curated List newsletter work, people need to care about your opinions and curations.
Tim Ferriss, James Clear, Sahil Bloom, and Harry Dry all built an audience and trust by creating original content before they started a curated newsletter.
Because of the trust they earned, people care about their curations.
5) High-Value Curations
Examples: Creator Wizard, Who Sponsors Stuff, The Daily Lead, The Wolf’s Franchises Of The Week, The Offer Sheet, Scott’s Cheap Flights
This type of newsletter uses research and expertise to find highly valuable curations for its audience.
In the case of Creator Wizard and Who Sponsors Stuff, these newsletters share sponsorship opportunities with content creators and media brands.
The Offer Sheet shares lucrative short-term rental investment opportunities.
Scott’s Cheap Flights list budget flight deals that are available at your local airport.
Each of these newsletters can make the reader money or save them money.
Plus, the curations are not easy to find. They take time, research, expertise, or even unique technology or data to find and share.
Should you write a High-Value Curation style newsletter?
If you can find things that make people money, save them money, or make their life much better, go for it.
These newsletters are easy to monetize because readers are willing to pay for High-Value Curations.
Often these newsletters will include ~20%-30% of the curations for free, and the rest only for paid subscribers.
6) Daily Analysis
Examples: Stratechery, Milk Road, Noahpinion, Van Trump Report, Sinocism
This format was pioneered by Stratechery, which Ben Thompson started in 2013.
Generally, these newsletters do a daily analysis of an industry.
For Stratechery, that’s tech.
For Milk Road, crypto.
For Van Trump Report, agriculture.
Should you write a Daily Analysis style newsletter?
For most people, probably not.
You need to be an expert on an industry and write a deep analysis of it daily.
I don’t think most people have the skill or drive to do it.
However, for the people and teams that can, these newsletters can be lucrative.
Van Trump Report brings in ~20M per year in paid subscriptions.
Stratechery is estimated to have well over 26,000 paid subscribers at $12/month or $120/year, which means $3M+ per year in revenue.
7) Weekly Deep Dives
Examples: The Generalist, Demand Curve, Marketing Examined, Every, Growth In Reverse, Just Go Grind, SatPost by Trung Phan, Contrarian Thinking, Houck's Newsletter
These newsletters do weekly deep dives on one topic.
Here are a few examples:
The Generalist publishes research and analysis of trends in tech, crypto, and AI
Growth In Reverse break downs how top content creators grow
Marketing Examined shares weekly marketing case studies
Houck's Newsletter covers startup growth tactics
There’s an unlimited amount of topics and niches weekly dive newsletters can cover and grow in.
Should you write a Weekly Deep Dive style newsletter?
This is a great option for new content creators or brands that want to grow their audience organically and establish themselves as experts.
Deeps Dive's get shared more than curated newsletter content.
Plus, deep dives can be repurposed into social media content that reaches more people.
8) Visual Newsletters
Examples: Chartr, Growth Design, Visual Capitalist, Bay Area Times, Atlas Obscura
Visual newsletters make data into infographics and charts.
Chartr is the most popular with over 400,000 subscribers. They cover business, tech, entertainment, and society with infographics and “brief” style copy below the images.
Should you write a Visual style newsletter?
If you have the skill to make beautiful and useful infographics this could be a great option.
I think we’ll see more visual newsletters in more niches soon.
Also, you may want to include a visual, graph, or chart in one part of your newsletter as a section.
This is a lot easier than creating 3+ visuals for every newsletter you sent.
9) Link Curation With Machine learning and Algorithms
Examples: Refind, Essentials
These newsletters use algorithms to analyze thousands of articles and share the best with you, tailored to your interests.
After signing up, users select topics and interests, then they get that type of content in the newsletter.
Should you start a newsletter like this?
Refind and Essentials are great. But this is a tough newsletter type to get right.
You’re competing with other newsletters and news aggregators like Apple and Google News.
10) Short and Daily
Examples: A.Word.A.Day, Get 8 AM
This is a fun type of newsletter.
A.Word.A.Day literally publishes a word a day. Along with its meaning, etymology, and more information about the word.
It has 400,000 subscribers and has been around since 2002.
Should you start a Short and Daily newsletter?
Maybe. There are a ton of possibilities and cool angles for a newsletter like this.
However, because of how short and simple they can be, growing and monetizing the newsletter may be much harder.
Other Newsletter Formats
That’s all for today!
If there are more newsletter formats, types, templates, or sections you love — reply to this email or comment on this post.
I’d love to hear about them.
The Best Links
How The Pragmatic Engineer grew to 400k subscribers and $1.5M+ per year (link)
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A $20M per year one-person newsletter business (link)
How to sell more newsletter ads and sponsorships (link)
Greg Isenberg gets a $635k offer to buy his AI newsletter (link)
The easiest way to start making money from your newsletter (link)
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The 2% per month email address churn rule (link)
📰 Newsletter News
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