5 Powerful Newsletters That Teach More Than a College Degree

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Which college graduation anniversary does this year mark? Your 5th, 10th, 20th, or more? Don’t worry, I won’t make you answer. The truth is: The answer doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that marketing and technology are advancing faster than ever. The demand to continue learning and growing never lets up as you work to keep up. But how does that learning happen? The answer may surprise you.

Quartz surveyed 1,357 top-tier executives to reveal the answer. The survey found that these executives don’t stay current by poring over industry magazines or relevant print publications. The majority, 94 percent, get news from email newsletters.

No doubt your inbox is overflowing with emails ― so which newsletters are really worth your time? Here are five powerful newsletters that are so valuable they will earn a spot in your inbox.

1. Swipe File

Jimmy Daly knows a lot about powerful marketing. The marketer used what is called a Skyscraper Technique and got 30K page views and 1K email subscribers and ranked No. 2 for his suggested term. The post also attracted more than 5,600 social shares, including attention from marketing authorities such as Neil Patel of Quick Sprout, who has over 224K Twitter followers. Accident? Nope. Technique. And that is what is great about Swipe File.

On his sign-up page, Daly says, “Swipe File is a newsletter for people who want more from their work. It’s an exploration of this awkward time between college and retirement. So far, 7,000 people dig it, including folks from Google, Apple, Spotify, New York Times, Marriott, and Harvard.”

The newsletter is diverse in that it doesn’t focus just on all things marketing, but on topics that relate to your work. For example, the newsletter recently featured an article titled “Happiness Does Not Equal Productivity,” in which Daly explains that research says that forcing workers to appear more pleasant and cheerful than they actually feel can result in unexpected challenges.

He also wrote an article titled “How to Design a Life” where he highlights an excerpt from Tim Ferriss’ podcast with designer Debbie Millman. She talks about an exercise she has her students complete called “Your Ten-Year Plan for a Remarkable Life.”

Key takeaway. Subscribe to this newsletter because it will keep you well-rounded as a marketer. It provides creative insights to help you think about things differently, so you can approach problems in new ways and forge connections that otherwise could have been lost.

2. Copyblogger

You’ve likely heard about Copyblogger. The site has been around since 2006 and teaches people how to create killer content. Today most of what’s featured in Copyblogger’s newsletter is considered “content marketing,” but when founder Brian Clark started, that term didn’t exist.

The newsletter currently has a list of more than 334,000 recipients, and if you’re not reading it, you’re missing out on some great tools that should be in every marketer’s arsenal. Copyblogger covers everything from writing online copy effectively to using social media strategically to reaching new customers successfully.

For example, check out this post written by Clark, titled “5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang.”

Clark writes that master copywriter Eugene Schwartz often spent an entire week on the first 50 words of a sales piece — the headline and the opening paragraph.

Then he goes on to teach you how to write a killer headline with an opening that creates the momentum required to keep your audience reading your content.

In another post, Copyblogger gives tips on “Fanning the Social Media Flame for Viral Exposure.”

The author argues that marketers can’t leave viral potential up to chance. They must take the reins and demand results. She writes:

“What is more common is that marketers need to fan their content to help it ignite and go viral. And sometimes that means stepping in when an accidental hit shows signs of life. How do you recognize those signs to take advantage?”

The rest of the articles dives into some specific ways to get more attention and includes real-world examples.

Key takeaway. Copyblogger is a must for B2B marketers. You can swipe strategies and squeeze every bit of potential from each piece of content that you produce.

3. SaaS Weekly

SaaS Weekly is written by Hiten Shah, who founded Crazy Egg and Quick Sprout. The newsletter focuses on SaaS marketing; however, it’s relevant to all marketers.

Shah wrote the article titled “Set Your Company Up for Marketing Success by Working Backwards from 15 Million Blog Visits.”

The article highlights that, after doing marketing research, the author found that founders and marketers get too focused on short-term tactics that lead to temporary spikes in traffic that look good on paper but don’t move them toward more sustainable month-over-month growth. He then argues that the only way to accomplish this goal is by working backwards. Shah writes:

“By working backwards from massive websites with millions of visitors to those that are just starting out, we’ll walk through the steps a company needs to scale from each stage to the next.”

The rest of the article provides specific research and strategies that you can borrow from others to grow your traffic.

Key takeaway. This newsletter is great for providing specific case studies of marketing strategies. You can dissect each case study and determine whether the underlying strategy is relevant to your business.

4. Content Marketing Institute

Over half of all marketers say they will increase spending on content marketing in the next 12 months. That means the majority of content marketers will be heavily investing in this marketing strategy, and the Content Marketing Institute is a great resource for spending those dollars more wisely.

When signing up, you can choose to receive a daily blog alert, which provides the latest news and insights from the CMI blog. You can also choose to receive a weekly newsletter, which is a summary of the week’s CMI blog articles and content from the company’s founder, Joe Pulizzi.

For example, Pulizzi recently wrote “New York Times Leverages Snapchat as a Marketing Tool,” which highlights The New York Times’ debut as a Snapchat Discover publisher and puts it in the context of content marketing.

And there is this article that helps marketers fine-tune their buyer personas, titled “Are Your Buyer Personas Ready to Take On the World?”

The author cautions about the risk of using one set of personas everywhere. She says, “Sometimes, even small differences between regional and cultural personas affect the bottom line, according to Cassio Politi. In his talk at 2016 Content Marketing World, he delivered a message for multinational brands.”

Key takeaway. This newsletter will keep you up to date on marketing trends to watch and give you new insights into approaches for traditional marketing. Start with the weekly newsletter for a small upfront time investment and then move on to the daily blog if you crave more.

5. MarketingProfs Today

MarketingProfs is all about practical advice. They give marketers useful insights, lessons, and perspectives through their daily newsletter. You can check out past newsletters here to get a sense of what content you’ll receive, but what follows is a sampling. A recent issue featured “Five Lessons for All Marketers from the Departure of Coke’s CMO,” and the newsletter highlights a quick survey and infographic.

The article goes on to explain that Coca-Cola decided to eliminate the position of CMO in its organization — a bold and rare move. Instead, the corporation is moving to a “chief growth officer” role, which may be a new trend for rising marketers to watch.

MarketingProfs also recently published “15 Proven Methods for Increasing Organic Traffic in 2017.” The author asked 17 SEO experts for their tried-and-true strategies that have led to their own businesses’ growth and shared those with readers.

Key takeaway. MarketingProfs is targeted to the professional marketer and features marketing tips, but it also shares knowledge useful for assisting with career advancement, such as articles focused on personal branding and running your team more efficiently. These are great resources for marketers looking to stay on top of industry news and strengthen their relevance in the market.

Making the Most of Insights

When subscribing to newsletters, you may have the best of intentions, but work is busy and it’s difficult to read everything. So check out the list above and start with one. Mark time on your calendar to read it each week and evaluate your investment. Take notes. Create strategies you can start implementing in your work. And when you’re ready, add another newsletter into the mix.

Like eating a balanced diet, consuming information works best when you select a variety of sources. That way, you can cover all the bases. And in the end, always measure your results to ensure each piece of content you read is giving you a positive ROI on your time.

What are your favorite marketing-related newsletters? Please share your most valuable finds!