The business/revenue models of newsletters can be grouped in to four:
1. Freemium + Original Content
Newsletters from the traditional news publishers come in to this category. The sole purpose of such publishers is content marketing.
2. Freemium + Curated Content
From individuals to corporations, fall into this category. While there are some who publish their own analyses and perspectives, some use this form to drive traffic to their parent site. Most of such newsletters consist of re-written version of someone else’s work.
3. Paid + Curated Content
The toughest one to crack, yet with the combination of algorithms and human intelligence, a really good set of curated work can warrant paid subscribers.
4. Paid + Original Content Some of the best ‘one person’ business has been created in this category and even a small set of ardent fans (paying) can ensure a consistent (and commendable) revenue for the publisher.
The median CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of an ad in an email is $3.45. That means if you have 100k subscribers, a weekly email would net you about $138 a month in revenue. While the CPM you can command various widely because of a whole set of factors, the takeaway is clear: you need some serious scale before this will make you much money.