Storyline Blog

Writing, news and stories about the craft of writing for an audience

Subscribed for life: When newsletters go bad

storyline creatives newsletter
TEXT BY LARA BASTAJIAN

It all started when...

I recently downloaded a banking app that keeps track of reward points when I use my credit card. Brilliant move, Bank, encourage me to spend more money. It was all well and good, until I realised that, having got hold of my personal email address, the purveyors of this app decided it was a good marketing move to spam my inbox on an almost daily basis with a variety of uninspiring non-news items and lame offers. (Thanks, I'll make sure to pay a visit to that paint shop that's just joined your scheme.)

Naturally, after a few of these newsletters, I looked for the good ol' unsubscribe button. Alas, no such button could be located—possibly contrary to some marketing regulations, but hey, this is Cyprus so who enforces these things anyway—and I began to despair. I even sent a hail mary email—"Hey rewards guys, I don't want to receive your emails, pretty please, take me off your list!" Unsurprisingly, my pleas went unheard. (I can actually imagine some minion reading my email and chuckling "you're mine now, mwahahahah"—I may have an overactive imagination).

“Good newsletters are a thing of beauty, condensing and distilling the best from the sites you actually want to follow.”

So this was a long-winded way of introducing today's unglamorous but ubiquitous topic: newsletters. While I'm convinced that the vast majority of newsletters lie unopened in the graveyard of subscribers' spam folders, good newsletters are a thing of beauty, condensing and distilling the best from the sites you actually want to follow. I personally love my tailored weekly emails from Medium (having 'followed' my preferred authors and topics) and as a literary nerd, I always peek in on the latest from Lithub and Penguin Random House's Signature Reads emails.

But for real, companies, I know it's hard to grow your list and then to actually put together decent newsletters that people want to read, and you must be really happy to see subscriber numbers rise, but for the love of all that is holy, always integrate an unsubscribe button! And if that option remains unpalatable, read this Contently article on businesses that do their best to keep their subscribers interested with humour and goodwill.

On a final note, and because this is our blog, so why resist the chance to plug Storyline, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and subscribe to our newsletter. If you do, I will send pizza and a labradoodle puppy to your home*. Our publication rate has been one newsletter every three months so far, so we can guarantee you won't get annoyed by seeing us pop up in your inbox too frequently.

*Promises of pizza and puppies are subject to change and entirely non-binding. But here's a pic anyway.


A great lover of words and the power they wield, Lara worked as an editor in major publishing houses in London before moving into communications in Brussels. After abandoning life as a Eurocrat, she moved to Cyprus for sun, sea and total immersion in the world of writing and editing at Storyline. Talk to her at: lara@storylinecreatives.com.