I started a sorting and culling action for the email newsletters that I've subscribed to over the past couple of decades and it has been liberating - like the feeling of clearing your wardrobe and realising a few weeks or months down the line that no, you don't miss any of that stuff or regret giving it away.
I'm not sure how many marketing/brand-type newsletters I was signed up for (in addition to all those from retailers, publishing services and other hobbies-related stuff). But it's certainly multiples more than the 5 or so I had back in 2009 when records on the current laptop begin. Back then, I was getting, say, one work-related email newsletter per day of the working week, which seems quaintly handleable.
My culling criteria were completely unscientific. I decided anything that appears on or near the weekend in my inbox is bad manners and likely written by workaholic desperados I don't want to know anyway - the sort of lost souls who haunt LinkedIn at the weekend. So sorry, any US-based companies who think they're hitting the Friday morning spot when in fact it's late afternoon here.
Then I used gut reaction. Is this a newsletter that causes a sinking feeling when it flops into the inbox, or one I'm keen to open?
The sinking feeling can be caused by design (difficult to read), too much content (those newsletters that link to 8 or 10 or more articles are out), clickbait headlines, or re-hashed and repetitive content (some words are simply a huge yawn).
If I had to name two favourites, they'd have to be Contagious - whose newsletter was one of the five I received in 2009 - and Good Business' Friday5. Both of these have a handleable number of items - someone has made choices over what to put in and what to leave out. The newsletters have a distinct house style and the topics covered have a clear focus.
I'll leave you with a screen shot of the Contagious newsletter from 11 years ago - 24th November, 2009. Unfortunately the links don't link any more, but it's fascinating to see what topics marketing people were mulling over back then: reports are offered on Mobile Apps, Branded Utility, Goodvertising (which must have morphed into purpose-driven brand communications at some point), Social Media (what that?) and Branded Entertainment.
But nothing on email newsletters - were they missing a trick?