How to Sell Newsletter Ads – Advice and Examples From Experts

PLUS: Learnings from 750+ email subject lines, 0 to 350k subscribers with no audience, and more

Welcome to The Newsletter Operator!

In today’s email:

  • How to make an awesome media kit and sell ads in your newsletter

  • Building a newsletter from 0 to 350k+ subscribers with no audience

  • Learnings from writing 750+ email subject lines for The Hustle

  • And much more…

Deep Dive

How To Make a Great Media Kit + Advice From 3 Newsletter Ad Sales Experts

To sell ads in your newsletter, you need a sponsor page and media kit. I curated the 20 best media kit and sponsorship page examples here.

Here’s what the best have in common:

Introduce your brand

Explain what your newsletter is. Who it helps. And show how your newsletter is different or better than others in your space.

Example from the Milk Road media kit

Keep this section short and sweet:

  • “Milk Road is the fastest growing crypto newsletter in the world”

  • “Houck's Newsletter has become the go-to weekly advice column for founders”

  • “Newsletter Operator is the #1 industry news and growth advice source for newsletter-first media companies and content creators”

  • “TLDR is a daily newsletter read by over 1,000,000 software engineers, tech executives and decision-makers, and other tech employees.”

  • “2.3M open-minded subscribers wake up to 1440 every morning. We're committed to delivering facts without motives. If this aligns with your brand, we should get in touch.”

Milk Road takes this a step further by showing how their newsletter compares to competitors with this chart:

Your numbers and audience

Example from Ben’s Bites and Houck's Newsletter


  • Total subscribers

  • Unique Open Rate

  • Total CTR

  • Ad Clicks (per placement)

  • How fast you’re growing

  • Who your readers are

  • Where your readers work

  • Where readers are located

  • Job level and titles

  • How much readers earn

Example from Milk Road

Show your impact

Example from Milk Road

Showcase reader testimonial, awards, and features in other publications. If you have testimonials from prestigious people in your industry, that’s even better.

Ad units

Example from Milk Road

Explain what sponsorship options you offer and what they look like.

Rate card / ad pricing

Example from TLDR

List your price per placement. Save the advertiser time by also listing CPM, ad clicks, and CPC here.

Some folks recommend offering custom pricing and ad options based on the brand. If you want to do that, don’t share pricing in your media kit.

Past Sponsors, Sponsor Testimonials, Case Studies, and Repeat Sponsors

Example from TLDR

The more advertiser results you can show, the better.

Some newsletters include past sponsor logos and testimonials. Others make case studies like this example from Alts:

Sponsorship Process

Example from TLDR

Explain what it’s like to work with you and what happens after someone buys a sponsorship.

What if you don’t have all the information above?

That’s ok. Include what you have now. Then keep collecting information from readers and sponsors so you can add it to your media kit later.

What Experts Say About Media Kits and Selling

Okay, now you know the elements of a great media kit.

How do you turn that sponsorship interest into revenue?

Well, I asked 3 newsletter ad sales experts how. Here’s what I learned:

Katy Huff, co-founder of MadRev

Save the brand time

“Tell advertisers how many clicks they’ll get per ad. Not just your overall CTR. The best pages just list the ad clicks as a number amount. This saves the brand time from having to do the math.”

Tell them which sponsors renew

“I love when newsletters include a list of brands that have run an ad more than once. Seeing who renews is a good signal for brands that might have similar target audiences.”

Incentivize the brand to buy more

“Offer a package discount. So list the price of 1 ad (for example $1,000), and list the price of 3 ads ($2,750) with a discount.”

Get on the phone

“Ask for a call so you can learn their objectives (what if they want to become your title sponsor for the rest of the year?). You won’t know if all you offer is a package of 4 ad slots.”

Learn what outcomes they want

“Even if you have tons of subs, opens, clicks, etc. – realize that getting sponsorships has nothing to do with you. Your #1 priority must be to articulate how you can help the brand achieve a set of specific business outcomes. These outcomes are rarely as simple as ‘get more views or clicks’. “

Understanding the advertiser's options - show how you’re different or better

“How to understand your “BATNA” (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) as well as the brands. Consider if the advertiser was not going to partner with you. What are their alternatives? Show the brand that your audience and sponsorship offerings are a better investment than the alternatives.”

Know your numbers and your sponsor's numbers

“Know your open rates and ad clickthrough rates, and get at least a rough idea of conversion rate from other sponsors if you can.

(This is hard if sponsors don't want to share much, but any bit of info helps!)”

Don't sell - strategize!

“You should go into this with the mindset of a strategic consultant and try to figure out how to best promote their product to your audience.”

Make it easy to reach you

“A contact page is a must-have, and just mentioning sponsorship opportunities in your regular newsletter too will help.”

Ask for feedback

“Don't forget to ask sponsors for feedback, and if they are happy, ask them to book more with you! More than 33% of our sponsors booked more than once with us. This number got better once we regularly asked sponsors to book again.”

The Best Links

📈 Growth

Jay Clouse’s advice for creators (link)

5 things creators with 50k+ subscribers have in common (link)

Growing a newsletter to 350k+ subscribers with no audience (link)

💰 Monetization

A breakdown of Ship 30 for 30’s email marketing funnel (link)

How Lenny Rachitsky gets 18k people to pay for his newsletter (link)

The best news brands at converting readers to paying subscribers (link)

📬 Engagement

What I’ve learned writing and editing 750+ email subject lines for The Hustle (link)

📰 Newsletter News

How two recent graduates sold their video agency to Morning Brew (link)

What the next crop of media startups will look like (link)

Twitter launches a new subscription feature (link)


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