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One key piece of advice to aspiring writers is read read read. Read more than you write.

I think that holds true for newsletters too.

Reading more newsletters than you write can be a great way to improve your style.

In some cases, you might be paying more attention reading the newsletter than the author did writing it. And that’s a good thing!

Here’s a simple exercise I do every now and again to sharpen my skills.

You can steal this too!

  1. I take three email newsletters from different people (or any three newsletters) in my inbox.
  2. I pick 3 things I like about each.
  3. Then 3 three things I don’t like about each.

Here’s an example of one I did earlier (I’m not telling you whose newsletters they are), but you can see the process.

Example of evaluating 3 different newsletters

So what are some things I look for when reading other people’s newsletters?

  • Tone. Do I like it? Why or why not?
  • Call to action – What’s the main thing they want me to do?
  • Can I skim it? Does it also stand up to close reading?
  • Does the format complement the contents?

Simple, hey? If you try the exercise, I’d love to know if you had any epiphanies on how to improve your own newsletters.