How to take your email newsletters to the next level

Check out these free newsletter templates and a best practices guide to help you improve your newsletters

In 2009, The Wall Street Journal declared email dead. “Email has had a good run as king of communications,” the newspaper wrote. “But its reign is over.” Nearly a decade later, in 2018, Fast Company proclaimed email “the next great media platform.”

Both are correct.

The simplistic definition of email for news organizations is, however, obsolete. Sending an automated digest of stories is no longer effective in the increasingly crowded and competitive inbox.

Email newsletters are an increasingly mobile-first platform, and to experience email’s renaissance as the “next great media platform,” news outlets must adapt to meet the changing definition of the email newsletter and the raised expectations of their readers, or risk falling behind.

Since applying email newsletter best practices can be surprisingly cumbersome, the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Lenfest Institute teamed up with YellowBrim to produce a series of open source newsletter templates.

The templates can be found here.

But because the best newsletters are born out of so much more than templates alone, we also wrote a best practices guide to frame the activities and strategies required to take your newsletter to the next level.

This resource is meant to share best practices and further the conversation about the quickly evolving state of email — what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next.

You can find the full guide here.

We’ll be sharing more about some of the challenges and pitfalls you should avoid while creating email newsletters in updates to The Newsletter Guide. Sign up here to receive email alerts when new features are published.

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