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Sponsoring works well for newsletters

Hello newsletter friends, Lots of new subscribers this week and also lots of replies with great quest
The week in
A weekly update for newsletter editors and audience managers, sent every Tuesday morning in the US, afternoon in Europe, and evening in Asia.
Hello newsletter friends,
Lots of new subscribers this week and also lots of replies with great questions and feedback, which is even more important to me. I especially like suggestions for topics to cover in The week in newsletters.
Newsletter sponsoring 💰 was requested a few times, which is funny since here at Revue we tried sponsoring ourselves for the first time this week. We worked with Dan Oshinsky and sponsored the October edition of Not a Newsletter. Did you see it? Did you like it?
Please keep those requests, questions and other friendly emails ✉️ coming, and please do forward this newsletter if you enjoy it. Your friends or colleagues can check out the archive and subscribe here.
Have a great week 💌,
Mark.
Newsletter ads and sponsoring
While most of the discussion about monetizing newsletters is about subscriptions and paid newsletters these days, there are many quality newsletters that are highly successful with ads or sponsoring.
As a great case in point, I just received today’s issue of Morning Brew, which does a great job on sponsoring. It has three pieces of sponsored content - the name of the sponsor of the issue right at the top, a sponsored post written by Morning Brew about the sponsor’s product as the 6th section of the email, and two smaller links as part of the Brew’s Bets at the end.
I find that Morning Brew does a great job of curating their sponsors. While the content clearly would not have been included without payment by the sponsor, it’s very much on topic (an investment proposition as part of a financial newsletter) and in style (same length and layout as other sections). So it should be valuable to at least some readers, and unobtrusive for the others.
We just had a similar experience at Revue when we decided to sponsor the October edition of Not a Newsletter. We were interested in sponsoring because many newsletter authors read Not a Newsletter. But we also wanted to make sure that the content adds value and we’re not seen as an irritating promotion. The publisher of Not a Newsletter, Dan Oshinsky, solved that nicely by interviewing a Revue author and writing a spotlight himself. Readers happy, author happy, sponsor happy :)
A different approach is newsletter ads. They are often easier to run for authors because they don’t need to worry about negotiating a deal with a sponsor or creating content. Instead, they work with a programmatic platform that uses targeting to show personalized ads. An example of this is Revue user FastCompany who (sometimes) runs programmatic ads in their daily newsletter Compass.
If that looks interesting, you’re probably wondering how to find sponsors or advertisers and what to charge.
Some newsletter authors do it themselves, essentially reaching out to potential sponsors. And there are a number of ad and sponsoring platforms that newsletter authors can use to find advertisers, arrange deals and run the campaigns. The main ones are:
  • LiveIntent - a large programmatic ads platform for newsletters
  • Paved - newsletter sponsoring platform with a focus on tech
  • BuySellAds - a mix of sponsoring and ads
  • upstart.me - smaller sponsoring platform created by a newsletter author
So what’s in it for authors in terms of payments? The answer is, of course, it depends. The ranges are largely dependent on list size and open rate, but also for example type of audience (e.g. highly specific B2B versus more general B2C). As an initial guidance, some ranges I have seen are:
  • $0,50 - $2,00 CPM for programmatic newsletter ads
  • $0,05 - $0,10 per unique open per issue for sponsoring
An interesting example are the classifieds that Ann Friedman offers in her amazing newsletter. Ann is very transparent about her pricing, which comes down to about half a cent per unique open:
I’ve got 40,000 subscribers and a 45% open rate. The Classifieds are like old-fashioned newspaper ads, but wrapped in the loving embrace of GIFs and links, and delivered via email. Rates start at $75 for 140 characters.
The week in newsletters
But, hey, it’s not all about the money 💸, so here’s what else you need to know about newsletters this week 📬
Not a Newsletter October 2019
One-person publisher Southerly
Thread about getting more subscribers
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Mark from Revue

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