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What are your newsletter plans for 2020?

Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hey, it’s Mark from Revue, the new year is in full swing, and so are we. Quite fittingly we’ll start 2020 with issue number 22 😎
The beginning of the year is also the time when people make plans - New Year’s resolutions, setting yearly objectives, or reviewing the strategy. While strategy always sounds like hordes of consultants 👩‍💼 descending on newsrooms to do months of market research 🗒️, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Actually, there are a few great newsletter strategy frameworks that only take about an hour to complete ⏰ and can really help you to regain that focus 👓 needed for your newsletter to thrive, or to finally launch 🚀 that newsletter you’ve been pondering.
Feel free to reply if you’ve worked out your strategy and would like feedback. Happy to review it.

Newsletter strategy frameworks
One great newsletter planning framework was developed by Lauren BraceyScheidt while reviewing NPR’s newsletter lineup. It’s called the “Newsletter Identity Exercise” and intended for starting newsletters, but also very useful for reviewing strategy.
It’s basically a series of questions that force you to think through who your newsletter is for and how to make sure it provides value for them. Some examples of the questions are:
Who are your newsletter subscribers? What audience will this newsletter serve?
Where does this audience hang out? Where do they get their news?
What content and format will best serve this audience?
What does success look like in 6 months?
Who is responsible for getting this newsletter done, day after week after month? How does this fit into your team’s workflow?
There’s are very convenient Google doc that you can use as a template and that has great examples of how you could answer the questions.
Another great framework is the Opt-In tool developed by Tamara Power-Drutis and Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz for Crosscut Public Media and the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Opt-In is an online tool that starts by asking you if you want to start a new newsletter or optimize an existing one. If you decide to optimize an existing one, it will let you pick the problems you are trying to solve such as:
Low open rate? Low click rate? Low read rate?
Low subscription rate? High unsubscribe rate?
Low conversion to paying subscriber/member?
Low delivery? High spam/blacklist rating?
Low advertiser interest? Low sponsor interest?
We don’t know what our subscribers want?
From here it takes you through the necessary steps to identify areas of improvement and how to tackle them. It will take about an hour to complete and lets you log in to save your work and continue later. It’s available at
The last option is somewhat broader, aimed at defining an audience rather than just a newsletter. It was created by Sarah Marshall, head of audience at Vogue.
It looks a lot like the lean canvas for creating companies and is intended to be a group exercise where participants go through a series of questions about an audience:
1. Who are they?
2. What do they think about?
3. How does it matter?
4. Where do they spend their time?
5. When do they consume?
The canvas template and instructions can be found in this Google presentation.
The week in newsletters
It was a slow week in terms of news about newsletters 💤. So since you’re always asking for suggestions for great newsletters, here are four Twitter threads with just that 💌 Click on the Twitter image or handle to open the thread.
Polina’s tweet is from July, but she writes both the amazing Termsheet and Profile newsletters, so there are lots of replies.
Polina Marinova
What are the best non-business newsletters you read?
Next in chronological order is our own tweet from December with lots of suggestions by readers of TWiN. I summarized some of them in issue #20, but more have been added in the meantime. Feel free to add yours if you haven’t done that yet.
It’s that time of the year again 🎉. So please let us know what your favourite 💌 newsletter was of 2⃣0⃣1⃣9⃣.

Any topic is fair game except your own. Looking forward to lots of great suggestions 👀.
Two other recent tweets with more great newsletters, mostly from the founder / maker communities.
Mike Maples, Jr
Hey founders: What is your favorite email newsletter?
Trent Hawthorne
What's the best email newsletter you subscribe to, and why?
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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