Top 10 Brands To Follow In 2020 For MAD Content Inspiration

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Need a little creative reboot? This week I’m counting down my top 10 picks for brands to follow for mad content inspiration!

Hey guys, it’s Alex! Glad you’re here. In this post, I’m sharing my top 10 FAVORITE brands you need to follow to supercharge your creative flow. 

Because, as a content creator, sometimes the BEST inspiration comes from stepping outside your niche and that bubble of an echo chamber that is your Instagram and Facebook feeds.

In fact, it’s exactly what your brain needs to spark new ideas and spot unconventional growth opportunities.   

I’m constantly picking up interesting magazines, attending new events and subscribing to online newsletters outside of my typical “marketing” and “copywriting” worlds because – and write this down – LATERAL learning is LEGIT.  

So, keep that in mind as you’re browsing the magazine shop or looking for meetups in your local area…

But, in this post, I’m sharing 10 online brands that have content so good it will become instant fuel for your copywriting mind and business growth.

And, of course, be sure to subscribe to my channel over on YouTube because once you get your creative juices flowing, you’ll need to know how to turn that inspiration into income. Which is exactly what I’m here for. I release a new video every week.

Alright guys, let’s dive in. Here are my top 10 picks for brands you should follow for mad content inspiration. Starting off the list at #10 is…

#10. TheSkimm

This site has been a favorite among content creators since their daily newsletter started back in 2012. The Skimm is a digest of news stories intended to be simple and easy to read. Their tagline also deserves a nod… “From AM to PM, the info you need, where you are. The daily Skimm prepares you for your day in minutes.”

Every morning, Monday to Friday, they send a newsletter that includes a quote of the day, a featured story, a quick summary of some selected news, and a few recommended casual readings to lighten up the mood. 

Their content is snappy, witty, and “matter of fact” and their newsletter design is a great example of email marketing that uses very little visual content but still garners impressive subscription and click through rates.  Moving right along to #9…

#9. Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings started in 2006 as a weekly email by writer and avid reader Maria Popova, which she would personally curate and send out to just seven friends.  Today, she has over one million subscribers worldwide! How cool is that?

The Brain Pickings newsletter is your dose of culture and design, aptly called “An inventory of the meaningful life”. Every Sunday, Maria sends a rundown of the week’s most inspiring and interesting articles on art, science, philosophy, creativity, literature, and ideas around truth, beauty, and meaning. 

Heads up though — it’s a really long newsletter, like really… Realllyyyyyyy… Long. So while it might be one of the most comprehensive emails you’ll receive each week, this digest guarantees top notch content and sparks plenty conversion staters and copy ideas! Now #8 on my top 10 list is…

#8. The Greatist

The Greatist is an awesome blog of health and wellbeing wisdom for millennials and Gen Zers. The Greatist aims to inspire you to live at your happiest and healthiest, without being miserable in the process. Because having fun, without the guilt, is the Greatist!

Their newsletter sends a concise and visual round-up of five new and interesting stories from their site every week ranging from workouts and recipes to inspiring practices and lifestyle tips. 

If you’re a writer looking to inspire those aged 18-35 years, I highly recommend you check out this simple and beautiful brand. Ok, lucky #7 goes too…

#7. Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Newspaper Blackout, Steal Like an Artist, and Show Your Work

Every week, the self-proclaimed “writer who draws” curates a list of 10 things he believes are worth sharing, from new art, to great writing, to other worthy musings to check out.

What makes Austen’s newsletter great is that you feel like you’re receiving an email from a friend who just wants to share cool stuff that he found online. We all have that one friend…

You’re not only getting cool content on creativity and life in general but his genuine, casual tone is a great example of using personality and authenticity in email copywriting. Which leads me to #6…

#6. Jay Clouse

Here is another entrepreneur known for his authentic and conversational copywriting. Founder of the Unreal Collective, Jay Clouse helps creatives thrive as business owners.

On his blog, Jay reflects on his latest learnings from building his own business. His down-to-earth tone creates a powerful connection with his subscribers, creating an environment of trust and engagement as he shares his experiences and unapologetically reveals his feelings, wins and mistakes. Ok, we’re halfway through #5 on the list is…

#5. Next Draft

Next Draft is dead simple and that’s part of the reason I love it. Curated and written by writer and news addict, Dave Pell, Next Draft shares the day’s most fascinating news. 

Every day, Dave visits over 70 news sites and plucks out the ten most fascinating stories of the day, which then he curates and summarizes in a very witty and entertaining way. 

He’s not only fun to read, but he’s able to deliver information in a fast, clear, and digestible way, which takes some badass copywriting skills. After all, he calls himself the “Managing Editor of the Internet”. So, on behalf of the entire internet, thanks Dave! Now, for #4 on my list…

#4. Really Good Emails

Sooo. Do I even need to tell you why you should subscribe to Really Good Emails. God, I just love a benefit-driven brand name.

Really Good Emails is a curated collection of the best looking promotional email campaigns and newsletters out there

They showcase the most optimized, innovative, and functional emails from both a coding and design perspective…

But, their website copy deserves a nod too. Go subscribe to their newsletter and get a good chuckle at their pop-up Call To Action 

Their newsletter features great email templates, copywriting samples, and design tweaks to make your customers look forward to seeing you in their inbox.

Ok, we are getting close to the number 1 spot on my top ten list of brands to follow in 2020! The third spot goes to…

#3. This Is True

Now while this old-school looking blog should maybe take a page out of the “Really Good Emails” design playbook, “This Is True” has some of the best, and most thought-provoking, entertainment on the Internet.

Founded by Randy Cassingham, the newsletter gives you a thoroughly researched, well-written, and captivating report about everything from dog breeds and strange crimes to weather and unicorns! 

Never underestimate the value of random facts, no matter how bizarre! After all, you never know when you’ll need to drop some interesting tidbits of trivia in your copy to make your story more compelling and humorous. 

Even Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, has claimed that he has never received a single “This Is True” email without laughing out loud.

Now, the #2 spot goes to a sinfully simple newsletter that provides mad content inspiration.

#2. Think Clearly

Initially a consulting practice with clients like Google and Bloomberg, today, Think Clearly is a public newsletter that delivers creative wisdom on learning, leadership and personal growth. 

But here’s what makes it really special — It’s all handwritten! 

That’s right. Think Clearly is where a love letter meets email marketing! You can sign up for uplifting notes and reflections to help you tap into your analytical AND creative mind.

Alright, drumroll please, we are finally at #1 on my list of top ten brands to follow in 2020 for mad content inspiration. The top spot goes to…

#1. Vox

If you want to understand complex topics in just a few minutes… Look no further than Vox, the media brand behind one of my favorite NetFlix shows to binge watch, Explained. Honestly, that show has answered so many questions for me.

Vox also has a killer online content platform that I highly recommend if you have no interest in watching the news. They do a great job at making topics like politics and policy easier to understand… And will get you up to speed on the best stories of the day.

Their tagline? Understand the news. Simple as that. And, every good copywriter needs to be in the know on what is going on in the lives of their audience. So Vox is also a great source to conceptualize a relatable story angle and add relevancy in your copy. 

If you want to learn some great storytelling techniques that you can use in your copy, check out my video on 4 Storytelling Formulas To Create Content That Sells.

Watch This Instead:

And that wraps up our list this week! Thanks so much for watching!

Remember to subscribe, to my YouTube Channel till next week, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!

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