Let’s Talk About Email: Kara Cutruzzula

Author: Corina Leslie

July 20, 2020
Let’s Talk About Email: Kara Cutruzzula

From all the newsletters I get, I always look forward to Kara Cutruzzula’s. Her daily emails about work and creativity are the perfect morning boost – or the ideal break in the middle of a hectic day. Before I invite you to subscribe, stay with us for a short Q & A about email.

Kara – who’s written for The New York Times, Newsweek, and MONEY – told us:

  • what the best thing is about sending a newsletter,
  • the “secret” to growing an email list,
  • why we can relax about which email signoff to use.

So, let’s talk about email!

The best email you received today:

A great note from my mom, who starts every single email to me, “Hello sweet darling daughter.” 

The last email you sent:

A work email to my friend Adam containing a draft of a newsletter I’m writing for NextAdvisor, a new personal finance website—you will like it!

The most intriguing subject line you’ve ever seen:

Anything involving “you” or “yours” is bound to get someone’s attention.

Your biggest email pet peeve:

Not exactly a pet peeve, but I realized life becomes easier if you’re not stressing about a signoff (Best, Always, Truly, With appreciation, etc). Now I usually only write my name after my last sentence. No signoff needed.

How often do you check your email?

Too often, these days. Once I had a great streak of “batching” emails and only checked twice a day. Now would be a good time to revisit that habit.

The word or phrase you most use in your emails:

!!!!!! I love an exclamation mark. !!!!!! Why be afraid to show enthusiasm?

The best thing about sending a newsletter:

I’ve met wonderful, kind, and creative people through Brass Ring Daily. Also, writing it every day also makes me feel like, however the rest of the day goes, I’ve at least accomplished this one thing.

Kara Cutruzzula newsletter
“I found the first image that I posted on Facebook when I launched Brass Ring Daily asking people to subscribe,” Kara Cutruzzula told us.
If you could email any famous person, who would it be – and why?

My grandpa. He’s 98 years old and has never sent an email in his life! 

The newsletters you look forward to the most:

Deez Links by Delia Cai, Laura Olin’s Thursday newsletter, Overthinking It by Sara Lieberman, Talking Shrimp by Laura Belgray, Agents and Books by Kate McKean, and So Relatable by Chrissy Hennessey (among many others!)

An email you wish you’d never sent:

The hastily written, the typo-ridden, the ones that aren’t as thoughtful as they could be. I probably should regret sending those, but “imperfect” and sent is still better than “perfect” and sitting in the drafts folder.

An email you’d be happy to get: 

We look forward to publishing your poem in The New Yorker.

To inbox zero or to not inbox zero?

I’m a fan of the Zero, but only for emails in the Primary folder. Everything else is a bonus.

No. 1 reason why you unsubscribe:

Cynicism or negativity. They don’t need a personal invitation to my inbox.

Biggest no-no in an email campaign:

If you’re writing a long email, be indulgent with your paragraph breaks! And make your design and text as simple and crisp and clean as possible. Don’t try to be cool with different fonts and colors. Be clear.

The best way to grow your email list:

Write consistently. Then you’ll find consistent readers. And hopefully they’ll tell people about it. Works better than any other trick.

One thing that should change about email:

We shouldn’t be scared to answer old emails! The psychological guilt can eat away at you, so respond, respond, respond.

A brand email you always open:

I’ve been enjoying TIME’s The Leadership Brief, featuring CEOs in conversation with deputy editor (and my friend) Eben Shapiro.

What do you most love about email?

Emails are essential links in our relationships. If we always remember there is a person on the other end, we can embrace the advantages of email rather than focusing on any downsides.

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Kara Cutruzzula is a journalist, editor, lyricist, and playwright. Her work has appeared in TIME, Vulture, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, and Billboard – just to name a few.

Her first book comes out on September 8, 2020. It’s a motivational journal called Do It For Yourself, in collaboration with Subliming creator Tessa Forrest.

Subscribe to Kara’s Brass Ring Daily

Read her recent article about email, for Forge magazine

See what her advice is for boosting email engagement

Follow Kara on Twitter