This post is about the rise of newsletters in B2B marketing, but I have to set the stage by sharing a passion of mine and plugging one of my favorite new musicians.
I’m a big music nerd. I like to spend time away from work exploring new artists and bands.
I like to be the first one to be turned on to something new and tell my friends about it.
I’m a professional content creator, but moonlight as a music curator for myself and anyone who wants to take my recommendations.
The album I can’t put down this year is Arlo Park’s “Collapsed in Sunbeams”. I’ve listened to it 100 times, own it on vinyl, and can’t wait to find an opportunity when this world gets back to normal to see her perform live.
I got a question the other week from one of my friends who likes it, but not on the same level as me.
“Why do you like it so much?”
This is always one of the toughest questions with art. Sometimes it’s difficult to express passion concisely, but with this one I took a step back to reflect.
Typically, the answer is a combination of things; her beautiful voice, straight forward lyrics where she doesn’t take herself too seriously, the production, etc.
It was all of these things, but something a bit deeper.
As I listened to the album again before I responded I finally had my answer.
It was everything I just mentioned put together in a wonderful package where the wrapping paper is full of nostalgia and tied with a bow that’s pulled from the 90’s.
It wasn’t until I got this question that I realized that my affinity for this record was directed in moments of nostalgia for me. This record represented a sound two decades removed that brought me back to sitting in the backseat of my parent's 90's Honda Accord with the FM radio blasting through the Alpine speakers in the back.
A little TLC.
A heavy dose of Mary J. Blige on the highs.
The nostalgia takeover is for real. It was the reason I connected so strongly with Arlo Park’s debut record. It was the reason why I’m writing this blog post so I could tie my favorite record of 2021 (so far) into something with marketing context.
The punchline: What’s Old is New Again
I’m feeling this not only in the music that I have been consuming lately, but also B2B Marketing in 2021.
I’ve talked about how I started off my marketing career marketing to marketers. It was like a playground. I got the chance to cut my teeth in B2B marketing by networking, developing campaigns, and building audiences of people who were just like me.
After that experience I had several different stops where my primary audience were people in different industries and not like me at all. I studied Public Safety, Corporate Security, Retail, K-12 Education, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest observations when I reentered the world of B2B marketing mania is that I noticed that so much had changed. Marketers were showing how they created their work, networking in public, collaborating on content, and passionately sharing their takes on why B2B was broken across any social channel that had a publish button.
These were all great changes and have been identifying ways that I can get plugged into these streams to help build the brand for The Juice. The one thing that I didn’t expect when I jumped back in was to observe the momentum around the e-mail newsletter.
A decade ago I had worked for a company that helped it’s customers power their email programs and newsletters were always an item we positioned in any RFP we got. When I left I never really heard about newsletters again….until now.
Newsletters are back and they are bigger than ever. It’s officially Newsletters 2.0 and I am here for it.
Newsletters give marketers the opportunity to communicate with our audience in whatever frequency that we desire. There are no hooks, traps, or gimmicks when it comes to the newsletters that I am reading. The content marketers putting the newsletters together serve more as curators than authors.
They might be sharing their content, but most of the great newsletters are sharing content from their industry. Their weekly drop in your inbox is an opportunity for marketers to give back to their audience and share some things they are reading to you much like how the algorithms of Spotify or Netflix work.
Newsletters 2.0 pushes the marketer to embrace curation and meet their audience the same way that they are used to in the Curator Era.
WTF is the Curator Era?
I’m not really sure. I kind of just made it up, but hear me out here.
When I put on my Apple Watch and AirPods to go for a run the algorithms of Apple Music curates a playlist of songs that I will like.
I get Google News alerts that are tailored for me and the things that I care about.
When I’m done with work and don’t want to cook my wife and I order ClusterTruck where they offer a menu curated to our liking.
After that we clean up and watch Netflix where the platforms serve up shows for us that are similar to Shameless….Frank is such a piece of work.
This is what I am talking about when I say Curator Era. It’s what we expect as humans. Shouldn’t it be what we expect as consumers of B2B content, too?
I think so.
I started putting together The Juice’s newsletter a few months ago (Not signed up? Join the party here). It was my way to provide value to our audience by sharing the content that we were consuming while we are working towards our product launch.
People have started responding back to the emails. These emails are moments of validation when I know that we are on the right track for what we are doing.
The concept of email newsletters might be old, but they are a driving force in helping to contribute to a better B2B marketing community. They are easily accessible, frictionless, and those who are doing them right fill their communications with content that inspires.
I had so much fun talking with Hiba Amin on the 3C Podcast last week about how Soapbox is using their newsletter to drive engagement with their audience that I thought it might be helpful to conclude this post by sharing the newsletters that we are subscribed to at The Juice.
I asked our team and here are some newsletters that we look forward to getting in our inboxes every week.
The Juice’s Favorite Newsletter List:
- Ross Simmonds’ Newsletter
I thought that his Twitter account was the killer feature in his content suite and then I started receiving his newsletter. He covers real case studies about real companies that get you to think. Sign up
- Content Folks by Fio
Short lessons and practical examples that are for the content marketer. I met Fio in a Slack group and recorded an episode with her (coming soon). She was former Editor at Hotjar and has so much knowledge on the content marketing space. Do yourself a favor and subscribe and thank me later. Sign up
- Content Marketing Career Advice Newsletter by Superpath
- Marketing Brew
We enjoy the sense of humor and consistency that Marketing Brew brings. It might be one of the bigger newsletters that we are a fan of, but it never seems watered down. We appreciate it for that. Sign up
- OpenView Newsletter
We love this newsletter because it’s centered around building and scaling amazing software companies. That is what we are working on here at The Juice and we get a lot of good advice from reading their content. Also, be on the lookout for the 3C Podcast this week. You might hear some knowledge dropped from a member of the OpenView team. Sign up
- First Round Review
Who doesn’t need advice from people in tech who have been there and done that? The First Round Review brings it with each drop and always gives us inspiration as we prepare for our launch. Sign up
- James Clear 3-2-1
This newsletter is delivered every Thursday from the author of New York Times best seller, Atomic Habits. This newsletter is about creating better habits, building processes, being more efficient, and overall creating a better life. Sign up
- Please Advise!
- Daily Carnage
- The Weekly Marketing Newsletter by Animalz
Animalz is the mark of consistency in B2B content. Not a week goes by without us learning something new from a piece of content that one of their writers put together. It’s easy to digest and full of insights. Sign up
Don’t have an email newsletter yet for your company?
That’s ok. There are plenty of opportunities to find inspiration in the list above.
We can all start embracing opportunities to share other people’s work that inspires us with our audience. It’s good operating and is mere table stakes as we move forward in the era of the curator.