How to Write a Newsletter No One Will Unsubscribe

By Kevon Cheung in


February 8, 2021

Last week I opened my inbox, and I saw more and more unread newsletters piling up. I decided it was time for at least half of them to go, so I started unsubscribing.

I already had an automatic system to filter all the newsletters into different folders. This way I could only read them twice a week at dedicated times. But still, the situation was getting out of control.

I simply didn't have the time to consume all this content.

In the last year or so, newsletters have become the most popular channel to connect with an audience. The beauty is that you can own the distribution and go directly to the readers without relying on the algorithm of social media.

Before all the popularity, emails used to be this sacred channel because, on one hand, people pay high attention to their inboxes; on another hand, the channel hasn't been fully exploited.

Now, with personal voice becoming more influential and almost everyone starting their newsletters, our standard to select newsletters to subscribe to is getting higher. And canceling subscriptions are inevitable in the upcoming months.

In total, I had about 50 newsletter subscriptions. I unsubscribed half of them that belonged to one of the groups:

  1. Any marketing emails sent from companies. Even if it is not a sales or marketing email, it is usually a list of blog posts they've written. I find it boring. Unsubscribed.
  2. Any curated newsletters sent from creators. I don't need more books, articles, podcasts in my life, especially when I don't see how they affect the creator's life. Unsubscribed.
  3. Any newsletters I cannot resonate with in the first 5 seconds. Unsubscribed.

The truth is, I don't need someone to remind me to buy something. I'm conscious of what I need at the moment. I am also not looking for more articles, podcasts, or videos.

What I truly want is a connection to a small group of people I look up to. I want to learn about their lives, what they're working on, how they make decisions in life and business, etc.

I enjoy feeling connected when I read their words.

Sharing words that truly represent yourself is one way to ensure what your subscribers want is you and nothing else.

Having this reflection also sharpens the way I write my newsletters. I have been very intentional and explicit about what kind of writer I am. My newsletters don't just come with my thoughts in business, product, and marketing, they also consist of my life, my family, my daughter, my ridiculous pictures,  my (perhaps stupid) views of the world, and most importantly, my thoughts. I know that my words are not for everyone. But if you decide to hear from me, I make sure to share my truest views.

To newsletter writers out there, now is the time to think about how you can write newsletters with a unique perspective so that your readers won't be unsubscribing anytime soon.

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