There are Only Three Reasons Brands Buy Newsletter Sponsorships

Every email newsletter sponsor buys an action, an audience, an endorsement, or all three of these.

An AI-generated image of several brand logos.
Brands buy actions, audiences, and endorsements.

Content creators are rushing toward email newsletters in the hopes of earning big money with sponsorships and advertising, but they are likely to miss the opportunity unless they understand why brands buy.

Specifically, when a company buys a sponsorship or places an ad in an email newsletter, it is purchasing an action, an audience, an endorsement, or some combination of these.

Email newsletter operators need to understand what a sponsor or advertiser is trying to accomplish and help accomplish it.

Brands Buy Actions

Let's consider actions. Lots of advertisers want action, or more specifically, lots of actions.

Consider three recent examples from the Long-term Mindset newsletter.

Three screen captures from Long-term Mindset newsletter.
Three examples of sponsor ships from Long-term Mindset newsletter.

The first sponsor is Shortform. Shortform sells access to book summaries. In June 2024, a monthly subscription is about $24. You can bet the company wants folks to click from the newsletter sponsorship and take action, i.e., sign up for a subscription. As long as Shortform's sponsorship makes more money from subscriptions than it costs, the company will keep buying into the Long-term Mindset newsletter.

The second sponsorship is for iWorker, which wants folks to hire a virtual assistant. The third sponsor, Pernas Research, wants the Long-term Mindset subscribers to subscribe to their email newsletter.

In each case, the sponsoring brand is ultimately buying an action. The folks at the Long-term Mindset, particularly Brian Feroldi, are personalizing the sponsorship copy and image to help those sponsors get the actions they buy.

Brands Buy Audiences

One of the first questions a potential sponsor will ask is, "Who?" Who is the audience? What demographic data do you have?

The reason for this demographic question is simple. Many, if not most, marketing professionals have a good idea of who their company's best customers are.

The June 2, 2024, issue of the Creator Science newsletter featured a sponsorship from The Remote Solopreneur. This sponsorship represents a great audience fit because Creator Science is explicitly aimed at content creators, and The Remote Solopreneur is a course for content creators.

Screen capture from Creator Science newsletter.
Audience-targeted newsletter sponsorship.

In this case, there are relatively few better ways to reach an audience of content creators —especially those trying to earn a living online— than sponsoring the Creator Science newsletter.

Brands Buy Endorsement

Sponsors also pay for personal endorsements. Lots of email newsletters have audiences that are connected to an individual. For example, Sahil Bloom actually publishes two newsletters to the same audience. The Wednesday issue is called "The Curiosity Chronicle," and the Friday issue is called "The Friday Five." But both editions are collectively known as "Sahil's newsletter."

Screen captures from Sahil Bloom's newsletter.
Examples of brand endorsements from Sahil Bloom's newsletter.

When brands sponsor Sahil Bloom's newsletter, they often do it for personal endorsement. Sahil will take a picture with the sponsor's product, implying that he uses it, likes it, and trusts it.

All Three at Once

Now that we've discussed actions, audience, and endorsement individually, let's bring them together. Often, a brand wants all three of these from a newsletter sponsorship. In this desire for all three at once, we find the real source of newsletter sponsorship success.

When a newsletter operator can provide a genuine endorsement aimed at the brand's target audience, and that endorsement ultimately drives measurable actions, the proverbial sky is the only limit to success.