Find out how these brands steer clear of the spam filter.

It seems like everybody has a newsletter these days: the online retailer you bought one thing from two years ago, the acquaintance who repurposed the email addresses on a friend’s birthday party e-vite, your vegan sister’s food blog.

With so many brands and marketers flooding consumers’ inboxes, what keeps audiences from clicking “unsubscribe”? Let’s take a look at eight newsletters offering a content mix that keeps readers coming back.

1. LENNY Letter

GIRLS creator Lena Dunham and showrunner Jenni Konner took their creative partnership to the next level with LENNY Letter, a bi-weekly feminist newsletter featuring fiction, essays, artwork, and interviews — all created by, with, and for female artists and gamechangers. Thanks to a combination of Dunham’s star power and editor Jess Grose’s talented curatorial eye, the newsletter’s audience has grown to over 400,000 followers, with an unheard-of open rate of 65 percent.

2. The Muse

Career website The Muse’s newsletter offers helpful professional advice for jobseekers and lifestyle content from around the web. The letter is split into categories that emphasize holistic success: “Work Hard,” “Live Smart,” “Play Often,” and a roundup of noteworthy posts is sent out in a weekly “Sunday Inspiration” email.

3. Grub Street

Grub Street’s content is pretty straightforward – where to eat, what to eat, and why – and the food site’s newsletter is similarly clear cut. A simple list of “What to Read Today” surfaces on-site content covering restaurant reviews and recommendations, culinary trends, and food industry news.

4. Medium

Publishing platform Medium contains an overwhelming expanse of content. Their Daily Digest newsletter sends readers curated content based on topics they’re interested in, what’s popular and trending, and pieces recommended by users and brands that they follow.

5. Charity:Water

Ultra-chic non-profit Charity:Water has an unsurprisingly awesome newsletter, customized to inform each donor of where their contributions are in the development pipeline. The group offers helpful, transparent, and easy-to-understand updates regarding the allocation of funds, accompanied by a visual timeline that lays out the details of the project for interested donors.

6. Ann Friedman Weekly

Journalist Ann Friedman has turned herself into a powerhouse feminist brand with the distribution of her weekly newsletter. The letter is a quirky combination of stories she’s reading, stories she’s writing, pop culture pie charts, “gif-spiration,” and paid user-generated advertisements. It’s easily digestible, engaging, and conveys Friedman’s distinct point of view without coming off as heavy-handed.

7. Vox Sentences

Vox Sentences does the work of sifting through the web for its readers to surface the best stories of the day. The short summaries are – you guessed it – one sentence each, and give readers a topline understanding of each article with the option to click through.

8. BrainPickings

In the midst of a frenzied online news landscape, BrainPickings offers an escape. The site’s “Weekly Interestingness Digest” hits inboxes every Sunday morning with the week’s unmissable articles about creativity, design, art, philosophy, and more. The newsletter’s aim is to create “room for reflection [with] one distilled digest straight to your inbox.” An uplifting antidote to an otherwise anxiety-inducing news cycle.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer brand publishing services and strategies to transform your company blog into a sophisticated trade publication that drives visibility and influence in your market. Learn more about brand publishing here.

Author Grace Stearns

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Grace has worked in PR and brand communications at publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, and Simon & Schuster. She writes about content marketing, social media, and technology for L&T's blog. A reluctant West Coast transplant, Grace lives in Brooklyn and spends a majority of her free time curled up with a good book.

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