The effort is important, because newsletter series are designed for the long-term. They should provide value to someone who signs up today or in a few months or even years. Which makes it appealing to publishers who can generate value from these series for a long time.
The article has many more great examples including CNN’s seven-part Sleep But Better newsletter series, Wirecutter’s courses about credit cards, sleep and working from home, as well as BuzzFeed who pioneered the format five years ago with The 7-day Better Skin Challenge.
Publishers seem happy about the many new opportunities offered by newsletter series:
[…] building new audiences, deepening existing subscriber relationships, earning new sponsorship revenue by selling to topic-specific advertisers and extending out affiliate businesses by incorporating product recommendations that can help readers better accomplish the goals from the lessons.
And have the results to show for it:
- Buzzfeed drove 25,000 sign-ups in its first 36 hours and on average, the courses newsletters would have higher than average conversation rates between 35-55%.
- nearly 30,000 of Wirecutter’s newsletter subscribers are subscribed to one of the publishers’ courses
The Pew Center did a great job thinking through how the newsletter course would need to be different from other newsletters. Important points were a good visual appearance on mobile, a length limited to 600 - 800 words, fewer links, and a question that was asked to start each lesson.
And had great results also:
- Nearly 9,000 people have taken the course.
- Pew has averaged about a 60 percent open rate across all seven emails
- The newsletter has also brought in a new audience for Pew. About 70 percent of the subscribers are new to Pew’s email list
Other examples of successful newsletter series in the article are The Washington Post Voraciously Meal Plan of Action, Curbed’s The Small Fix, and Harvard Business Review’s eight-week analytics course.
So newsletter series are clearly a promising format with courses created across a wide range of topics from personal finance, to cooking, home improvement, technology or even immigration, and positive results across the board.