Curated content is not just for sharing on Twitter. When you find a true gem, a piece of content that rises above the rest, it doesn’t make much sense to only whisper it to a crowd. It also doesn’t make a lot of sense for a business, when you consider how many tweets are sent per day (In 2012, that number was 500 million!).

You could shout about it from all the rooftops, but what if you could have many intimate, simultaneous conversations instead? It’s the type of relationship with people that can be tricky to establish and easy to destroy, especially for an ever-selling brand.

Here are 4 email newsletters that are sent on behalf of brands – that promote the brand, as well as entertain. All of them are a welcome addition to my inbox.

1. 99u Weekly Picks

“Welcome to the 99U Weekly, everything you need from the past week to work smarter and supercharge your creativity.”

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The weekly picks always include content that was first published on 99u.com, before serving up eye-catching and relevant ads. Sometimes. 99u’s latest book is featured, and the email may end with featured jobs.

Closer examination of the newsletter makes clear the ways that 99u is making money as a business. They sell ad space on their website, feature at least one sponsor in each newsletter, publish and sell books, and sell job listings to recruiters that want to tap into their large, topical community.

None of these selling tactics would work in an email newsletter if it were not for the fine attention to visual detail and the thematic cohesion between all the elements. At first glance, all that can be seen is a beautifully-made newsletter full of useful and entertaining content.

2. Lululemon

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Lululemon’s emails are always visually stunning and just in time. They deliver curated product suggestions that are in line with the time of year, an upcoming holiday or what’s trending in fitness fashion. They often feature their ambassadors in the emails; athletes who embody the values of the company.

Although their emails are the most overtly selling of the bunch, they have modernized the product catalogue of the past. Instead of tiny pictures of every product that a clothing brand offers, Lululemon delivers a slice of it’s workout clothing with clear reasons for purchasing. Their clothing and their curated emails make it easier for people to sweat in the right stuff.

3. Twitter Weekly Digests

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The @Twitter account has over 31 million followers and they still send email newsletters (further proof: email is not dead).

Twitter’s weekly email digests are a summary of interesting or popular tweets curated, using technology built by previously Vancouver-based startup Summify. Their aim is to bring the “best of Twitter” to your inbox by displaying relevant stories, tweets with a short description of any linked content, from among your connections. Links to reply, retweet or favorite are peppered throughout the email – leading you straight to Twitter.com.

Twitter’s weekly digests are a prime example of the need for selective curation. Your inbox would be no place for a list of the most recent tweets from your feed for obvious reasons. Choosing tweets that have performed well, over a longer period of time than just a moment, make for an engaging and traffic-driving email newsletter.

4. Vancouver Operagator Newsletter

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This monthly newsletter is a goldmine for any opera lover, regardless of where their roots are currently planted. Each newsletter contains content curated under the headings like “This Month in Opera History” and “Better Living Through Music.”

Readers are always given a tidbit of opera history (“July 1829 – we’re one month away from the premiere of Guillaume Tell and the libretto isn’t done yet!”) before any reminder of the upcoming opera season. The rest of the email is sentence-length summaries of content from the far reaches of the Internet.

The binding thread among everything in the newsletter is a love of music, from vinyl records to musicals. The curator has a clear passion for music that they share with their email subscribers. From there, it’s easy to include a simple reminder to snatch an opera ticket now before they’re all gone.


Curated email newsletters are used by some of the best digital brands, and smartly adopted by brands in surprising industries. Curation and email newsletters require, and deserve, time and effort to do them right, and do not ever need to result in time and effort wasted.