Here’s what email marketers can learn from Morning Brew’s expansion

By Henry Powderly

Morning Brew founders Alex Lieberman (left) and Austin Rief.

While marketers of all kinds are laboring over dozens of personas that make up their target audiences, the team at highly successful newsletter brand Morning Brew think they have found a better way.

Target one persona … just one.

“We picked a real human being, detailed out what this human does,” said Alex Lieberman, co-founder CEO of Morning Brew, “literally codified a persona and their behavior that we can reference in any point in time.”

That persona is a lot like Lieberman and co-founder and COO Austin Rief, who together started Morning Brew when they were both in college. It’s a young, high-earning professional, living in a coastal city who is highly aspirational, is tech-forward, is really passionate about business and likes watching Ted talks, said Lieberman.

“The core characteristic of the person is someone who is curious,” he said.

But can a single persona really encapsulate a daily newsletter audience that Morning Brew now counts above 1 million subscribers? Of course not, but Lieberman and Rief believe their creation is relatable enough to the entire universe of Morning Brew readers that its entire content strategy is tied to speaking that person’s language.

One voice to rule them

This week, Morning Brew launched the first in what it says will be a slate of specific industry-focused newsletters. On Tuesday, it rolled out a new daily email on emerging technology, which the founders say will focus on the business of AR and VR, blockchain, drones, robotics and other hot-tech topics. More topical newsletters are on the way, but Morning Brew wouldn’t say what those will be.

The new verticals will carry the same advertising model as Morning Brew’s original newsletter. No banner ads, just “Sponsored by” branding at the top and native advertising throughout that the founders recently told Forbes is bringing in about $200,000 in revenue a week. But even those ads are written in-house in the same voice as the rest of their newsletter.

Rief said the company has built out a detailed voice guide, and though its writing team is like any other, a diverse makeup of people with different styles and opinions on Oxford commas, all of them hew to the same voice.

When email works, it really works

Morning Brew sees a roughly 45 percent open rate, an enviable metric for any brand that has its own newsletters. Its voice and its focus on engaging the target persona play a big role.

Brands tend to overcomplicate email, said Rief. “If people think about it in a more simple fashion, you are creating an email because you believe that you can serve content to an audience that will be worth their time in reading,” he said.

Morning Brew’s goal is simple: Give them your undivided attention for five minutes before the start of the workday and they’ll give you great content.

“The content you create needs to be informed by who your audience is and 100 times better than anything else they are getting,” said Reif.

It’s that focus on shipping great content …read more

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