Mastering The Art of Value-Add Newsletters, 9 Questions with Tyler Denk, Co-Founder/CEO of beehiiv

Jared Mintzlaff

December 13, 2023

I don’t know about you, but I am just so tired of “10% off” emails from all of my favorite brands. C’mon y’all, provide me some value!

I sat down with Tyler Denk, one of the main-brains behind Morning Brew from the start, and now the Co-Founder and CEO of beehiiv. Mark my word: beehiiv is changing the game for email newsletters. You heard it here first, folks.

I asked Tyler if he’d be willing to “go there”, and, well… he really did. Here’s what he had to say about how you can leverage newsletters as an incredible growth tool. But first, check out the full interview here:

Q: Tyler, we're excited to have you. You’ve had quite the career so far between Morning Brew and now beehiiv. Could you give us a brief background on yourself and your journey to where you are today?

Tyler Denk: After studying mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland and becoming a self-taught software developer, I ventured into entrepreneurship. I co-founded a startup in college, connecting entrepreneurs with software developers. Although it wasn’t a massive success, it was a great learning experience in entrepreneurship. Later, I joined Morning Brew as an early employee, contributing to its growth and product development. Post-acquisition by Business Insider in 2020, I briefly joined Google's YouTube music team before fully committing to building beehiiv, which I had been building on the side.

Q: You mentioned that you move around a lot and are currently in Colombia. How has this lifestyle impacted you as a Founder?

Tyler Denk: Traveling and living in different cultures hasn’t directly impacted my work, but it has contributed significantly to my life and happiness. I value the discipline and routine I maintain, which allows me to work efficiently no matter where I am. These experiences have given me a balanced perspective, enriching my life while maintaining a strong work ethic.

Q: Moving on to Morning Brew, what aspects from the early days contributed to building its passionate community?

Tyler Denk: Morning Brew's early success was primarily due to its engaging, conversational tone, which was a refreshing departure from traditional business news. The newsletter provided valuable content in an accessible format, resonating with our audience and fostering a strong community of readers who actively engaged with us.

Q: What advice would you give to traditional e-commerce brands looking to build a similar passionate audience?

Tyler Denk: For e-commerce brands, I recommend focusing on creating valuable content related to their products and brand story. Instead of solely focusing on transactional emails, they should use their existing customer base to build a more engaged community by providing content that aligns with their customers' interests and values.

Traditional e-commerce brands often prioritize product sales over building a meaningful relationship with their audience. This transactional approach can lead to short-term gains but fails to cultivate long-term loyalty. The shift towards an audience-first approach is about understanding and serving your audience’s broader needs and interests, not just pushing products. It's about engaging them with content that resonates, leading to a more invested and loyal customer base.

Q:Speaking of engagement, how significant is the role of content and email in shaping a brand's identity and building a community? Also, could you touch on how it aids in sales conversion?

Tyler Denk: Content and email are crucial in defining a brand's identity. They offer a direct line to your audience, allowing you to express your brand’s voice and values consistently. This communication builds a community around shared interests and values. For sales conversion, well-crafted content that aligns with your audience's interests can guide them subtly towards your products, making conversions feel more natural and less forced.

Q: With beehiiv, how did you find a niche in such a competitive market of marketing automation and email platforms?

Tyler Denk: beehiiv specifically targets content creators and newsletter-focused businesses, a niche overlooked by larger email platforms. Drawing from my experience at Morning Brew, we created a suite of tools tailored for this audience, different from the transaction-focused models of our competitors. This focus allowed us to carve out a unique space in the market.

Q: What's your competitive edge and what future plans do you have for the platform?

Tyler Denk: beehiiv’s competitive edge lies in our focus on content creators and newsletter-focused businesses. We offer tailored tools that are specifically designed for this segment, unlike broader, more transaction-focused email platforms. Looking ahead, we plan to expand our feature set to include more advanced analytics, enhanced automation capabilities, and deeper integration options, all while maintaining our core focus on serving content-driven users.

Q: In the realm of newsletters, what models have you seen succeed, and what are some common pitfalls to avoid?

Tyler Denk: Successful newsletter models often combine insightful content with a unique voice or perspective. They provide consistent value, whether through informative articles, industry insights, or curated content.

A common pitfall is neglecting the audience's interests and preferences, resulting in content that fails to engage or retain readers. Another mistake is not paying enough attention to the frequency and timing of newsletters, which can either overwhelm or underwhelm your audience.

Q: Thank you, Tyler, for sharing your insights. For our listeners interested in Beehive, how can they get started?

Tyler Denk: Anyone interested in beehiiv can sign up for a free trial, no credit card required, on our website, We offer all premium features during the trial, and I’m always available on Twitter for any questions or feedback.

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