November 1, 2018

Breaking through the noise when it’s louder than ever.


There has never been a louder cacophony of voices vying for your attention online. If you’re anything like us (i.e. you value your sanity), you know how important it is to cut through all that noise and find the content that really matters. But here’s the thing: your customers are no different. We may be biased, but we think this is a great reason to create a thoughtful, curated newsletter or blog that will build trust between your brand and your customers.


If you need inspiration, look no further than the sites listed below. Whether you’re a brand, a publisher, or an independent author, there are plenty of ways to produce and aggregate valuable content for your audience.

In the brand-driven content category, let’s start with HubSpot – a marketing software company that hosts blogs on sales, marketing, and customer service. HubSpot provides content ranging from strategies for healthy customer interactions to in-depth articles on marketing trends. If you want to learn about how to make your marketing campaigns more “human” or how to get the most out of customer engagement, HubSpot is a solid place to start.

Quartz is one of the best online destinations for incisive pieces about politics, technology, and culture, so it’s no surprise that its weekly newsletter Quartzy is crammed with useful information about trends and personalities. It would be impossible to tell you exactly what Quartzy is about every week – recent themes have included fashion pioneers, under-appreciated summer TV shows, and the many uses of CBD oil – but it’s always full of witty, well-written takes on diverse subjects. Quartzy promises to be a “guide to living well in the new global economy,” and it delivers on that promise week after week.

Khe Hy started RadReads in 2015 when he realized there was a space for a blog that discusses personal development, introspection, and career building with a multidisciplinary emphasis on “philosophy, neuroscience, the arts, technology, sports, and pop culture.” The blog covers a dizzying array of topics, from the importance of consistency in your creative life to (how fitting) the process of starting a newsletter. And the newsletter itself (which now has more than 15,000 subscribers) is a dynamic collection of curated articles and interviews that cover leadership, business trends, and a sprawling range of other subjects.

There’s a reason why almost 700,000 people open a Morning Brew newsletter every day. Each one is full of the latest information on a wide array of subjects, such as stock markets, the C-suite, and social media. The newsletter also contains summaries that put each story in context, as well as predictions, timelines, and other types of analysis.

While there’s no shortage of compelling content shared by brands and publishers, there are a few authors who seem almost preternaturally gifted at collecting and commenting upon material that will resonate with a huge audience. Maria Popova is one of them, and her Brain Pickings blog is a fascinating tour of “pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more.” Brain Pickings includes long excerpts of original text by legendary authors (from Mary Shelley to Oliver Sacks to Friedrich Nietzsche), as well as Popova’s always-astute insights about them.

Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter is a trove of articles, podcasts, and other recommendations, as well as a “classifieds” section that includes upcoming events and businesses that Friedman supports. Each newsletter also contains “I endorse” and “You endorse” sections that highlight projects and authors that Friedman wants to promote, along with causes for readers to investigate and strategies for taking action. You’ll even find a section dedicated to GIFspiration!


As we compiled this list, we noticed a few things that all of these sites have in common:

#1 – First, they provide diverse content. While there’s nothing wrong with an article or interview that exhaustively covers a narrow topic, you should never expect all your readers to be interested in the same thing (even if they’re in the same industry).

#2 – Second, they offer practical advice and information. Readers of your newsletter or blog will always want to know how a post affects them, so you need to make that connection explicit. In other words, offer them “news you can use.”

#3 – And third, they focus on unconventional analyses of business trends, current events, and everything else. What’s the point in visiting a blog – much less inviting a company to send newsletters straight to your already-crowded inbox – if you’re just getting repackaged information that can be found somewhere else?


There may be more sources of information online than ever before, but this has led to a dramatic influx of misleading articles, trite commentary, and outright nonsense. Consumers need outlets they can trust, and they’ll be grateful if your blog or newsletter is one of them.

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