Let’s start with the basics. What is a curated email newsletter?
Think Dave Pell’s Next Draft. Quartz’s Daily Brief. Peter Cooper’s Cooper Press. Brian Clark’s Further. Brian Gardner’s No Sidebar. Pamela Wilson’s Weekend Digest. Ryan Hanley’s The Sunday Seven. Jason Hirschhorn’s MediaREDEF.
What do all of these email newsletters have in common? They all sift through a mountain of information on a specific topic (like news, health, HTML, entertainment, lifestyle, content marketing) and pluck out the best content.
This is what it means to curate.
They then package that curated content into an email, add a little commentary about each link, and deliver it to your email inbox.
Some do it daily. Others do it weekly.
Why go through all the trouble?
For a number of reasons. These people curate because they:
- Find themselves sifting through all of this information anyway.
- Enjoy learning about this topic.
- Enjoy sharing their discoveries.
- Enjoy bringing often-overlooked resources to people’s attention.
- Enjoy doing it so you don’t have to.
In other words, they do it so you can spend your time focusing on other activities — but not miss out on anything important. Ever felt that way?
There’s a good chance you’ve heard Brian Clark and Robert Bruce talk about curated email newsletters. It’s been a hot topic over on New Rainmaker.
Some of the episodes include:
- Position Your Content Curation for Success With These 5 Essential Elements
- 7 Ways to Find a Topical Market that Will Fuel Your Digital Commerce Business
- How an Email Newsletter Publisher Built an Audience of 223,991 Subscribers
Unfortunately, this topic has also led to some confusion. So, let’s work through a few questions that have been raised about curated email newsletters.
Does this mean we should stop creating original content?
No. Original content is still important. If we all stopped creating original content, then eventually the curators would have nothing to curate.
Of course, in some cases, like Dave Pell and Cooper Press, curated content is their original content. For the others, however, it’s a supplement to what they already do.
But what’s important to understand about curated email newsletters is this (as explained by Brian Clark on How to Use Content Curation to Create a Recurring Revenue Business):
There really is an opportunity here because you can still build an audience as long as you are creating the value. Here you are creating the value by finding the best, eliminating the dreck, and sending that to people.
Is a curated email newsletter a new business model?
No. It’s not a new business model. As Brian explained in the quote above, a curated email newsletter is just a new way to build authority and build an audience.
In fact, the curated email newsletter is perfect for the people who need to start building their email list, but don’t have the bandwidth to create original content.
So, how do you make money from a curated email newsletter? Here are a few examples:
- Run sponsors and ads like Cooper Press.
- Become an affiliate to sell other people’s products.
- Create your own product.
Think of it as just another spoke in your content marketing wheel. Which brings us to the final question.
Should you start a curated email newsletter?
When we hear about a great idea from someone we respect, we’re often tempted to dive headlong into that hole. But like my Lithuanian great-aunt used to tell me, “Never dive head first into a hole. Unless you’re wearing steel briefs.”
Thanks, Aunt Ona.
I think what she meant was, “unless you know what’s down there.” To show you what to expect, Pamela Wilson and I put together this decision tree so you can decide if you should start a curated email newsletter.
Explore and enjoy!
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Over to you …
Once you’ve worked your way through this decision tree, why not jump over to LinkedIn and share your thoughts.
I’d love to answer any outstanding questions, too!