Want to be better-informed about business and financial news, but don’t want to read The Wall Street Journal cover to cover every morning?
You’re not alone. Over a million subscribers to Morning Brew feel similarly, preferring their business news quirky rather than murky. Morning Brew dispenses with the typical dull, overly professional tone and brings a youthful swagger and hefty dose of humor to the news.
If you enjoy a good pun, puzzle, and brainteaser along with your daily financial highlights, then Morning Brew may be the perfect way to start your day.
The Story Behind Morning Brew
Compelling businesses tend to have compelling origin stories. Morning Brew is no exception.
As an undergrad business major at the University of Michigan in 2014, Alex Lieberman noticed a pattern among his fellow business students: They all wanted to appear informed and claimed to read The Wall Street Journal every day, except that they didn’t. Not in full, anyway; they glanced through it, giving it a few minutes at most. Often, they missed key takeaways by trying to consume an entire newspaper over a rushed dining-hall breakfast.
So for fun, Lieberman launched what he called The Market Corner to his friends, a summary of the day’s business news told with some good old-fashioned college snark. One of the first subscribers, Austin Rief, reached out to Lieberman to ask if he wanted help with the project. The two teamed up, and before Lieberman graduated in 2015, they rebranded their little newsletter as Morning Brew. After graduating, Lieberman continued cranking out Morning Brew as a side gig with Rief, despite a demanding day job at Morgan Stanley.
Readership grew faster than Lieberman anticipated, and early sponsors started expressing interest. By 2016, Lieberman left Morgan Stanley, and when Rief graduated in 2017, he dove full-time into Morning Brew. Before the end of the year, the two had raised $750,000 in seed funding. Most of that came from friends and family, proving that your personal connections make a viable option for funding your small business.
By January 2018, Morning Brew reached 125,000 subscribers. By November 2018, the two co-founders made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Media List. As of 2020, Morning Brew’s subscriber list has exploded to over 2 million, and they expect to earn over $20 million in 2020.
What You Get From Morning Brew
It’s hard not to appreciate the combination of brevity and wit that Morning Brew offers. When I read through my first edition of Morning Brew, I was treated to a pop quiz followed by a series of quick news summaries with titles such as “Disney Shoots First, Asks Questions Vader,” a brief outline of Disney’s gamble on its new Galaxy’s Edge Star Wars theme park.
The non-existent price tag is nice too; subscribing is free.
The Morning Brew newsletter goes out daily Monday through Saturday. It opens with an interesting tidbit or piece of trivia to set the tone and remind you this isn’t the business section of your dad’s newspaper. From there, it may include a pop quiz or brainteaser.
Next, it outlines six pre-market figures, plus the daily price trend of each for context:
- S&P 500
- Dow-Jones Industrial Average
- 10-Year Treasury Yield
- Price of gold
- Price of oil
After a sentence or two recapping the forces shaping the market today, Morning Brew jumps into the meat of the newsletter: a series of quick business news stories. For example, “iTunes Is Going to the Operating System in the Sky” outlined Apple’s plans to phase out iTunes in eight punchy sentences.
On Mondays, Morning Brew breaks down the economic calendar for the week. Events such as Federal Reserve meetings, major earnings reports, and significant political events make the cut.
And for fun, you get quirky little quizzes with titles such as “Quizimodo,” sporting an image of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Morning Brew wraps up with a light “Breakroom” section summarizing sports news and anything else noteworthy going on in the world. On Fridays, there’s a puzzle here, for which anything goes.
All in all, the daily newsletter consists of easy-to-skim, entertaining business and financial news. It doesn’t center around one single industry but instead aims to keep readers informed about the big picture of business and money trends.
Morning Brew is funded by advertisers. And it’s an impressive range of advertisers at that, with names including Fidelity Investments, Discover Card, and Duke University.
But you don’t have to worry about being bombarded with ads; Morning Brew typically features only one or two advertising sponsors per newsletter. They reference the advertiser in two or three places: a mention and logo toward the top and either one or two Sponsored sections embedded in the newsletter. And since Morning Brew writes the ad copy on behalf of the sponsor, it feels seamless and integrated into the newsletter.
Also, in the Breakroom section at the bottom of the newsletter, Morning Brew often includes references to a non-sponsor affiliate as an additional source of revenue. To their credit, they mark each affiliate link and disclose it as such for transparency.
To build their audience, Morning Brew relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, which accounts for 40% of their new subscribers. Part of what fuels that word-of-mouth success is a rewards program. As readers refer new subscribers, they become eligible for an ascending series of freebies.
These start with the Sunday “Light Roast” newsletter, which is only available to readers who have referred at least three other subscribers. This premium Sunday edition reviews the most interesting news of the week not previously covered, as well as providing exclusive content and insights about the week to come. Other rewards include swag such as mugs, a phone wallet, and a crewneck sweatshirt.
Still, all the referral gimmicks in the world wouldn’t work if Morning Brew didn’t deliver excellent content day in and day out. Readers ultimately pass along the newsletter because they believe it offers concise, entertaining news and financial advice for young adults.
In addition to the standard daily newsletter, Morning Brew now offers subject-specific newsletters. They currently offer three: Emerging Tech Brew, Retail Brew, and Marketing Brew.
Each of these goes out three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For people working in specific industries, they make an excellent addition to dive deeper into your area of interest.
In 2019, Morning Brew launched a podcast to supplement its newsletter.
The Brew releases its Business Casual podcast episodes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each episode typically runs in the 30- to 40-minute range and features a subject matter guest on topics as diverse as “How Much Money Does It Take to Have a Kid?” to “Are Recessions Good for Startups?”.
In keeping with the Brew brand, they tackle these serious financial and business questions with the same light and friendly tone as the newsletter.
Turbocharge Your Career & Your Money
Knowledge has always been power. In an age when we’re constantly bombarded by news, the ability to sift through the noise to find the information vital for your success is the key to unlocking that power. Here’s what you can gain from reading Morning Brew.
How Morning Brew Boosts Your Career
It pays to be better informed than your colleagues and competitors. When you know more about what’s going on in your industry, you can form better growth strategies, experiment with new marketing tactics, and capitalize on emerging trends that others haven’t heard about yet. And who doesn’t want to be the smartest and best-informed person in the room?
Still, few of us have an hour to spare each morning to read The Wall Street Journal cover to cover. Morning Brew enables you to get a bird’s-eye view of the day’s business and financial news, then drill down into any specific stories relevant to your career.
How Morning Brew Boosts Your Personal Finances
Beyond helping your career, it makes you a better investor to know what trends are driving financial markets. Even long-term investors who avoid timing the market like to know which way the wind is blowing – and who’s holding the fan. This knowledge can help you decide that you’re better off investing more in blue chip stocks this month and less in emerging markets, or vice versa.
If you pick individual stocks, Morning Brew helps you keep a finger on the pulse of which companies are making waves. If you’re a homeowner or real estate investor, news impacting your local housing market can also have a direct effect on you.
Lieberman and Rief describe their ideal reader as a young professional in their 20s who is college-educated and in the business or finance world. They live in a metropolitan coastal city, earn a six-figure salary, and technology is second nature to them. But most of all, their ideal reader is curious and motivated. They’re smart, successful, and want to grow – personally, intellectually, and, of course, financially.
If you’re a busy professional who wants to stay on top of business and financial news, and you only have a few minutes each day to do it, Morning Brew is for you.
And you don’t need to be a millennial to appreciate Morning Brew’s light-hearted tone. Readers of any age appreciate succinct, occasionally humorous news summaries, especially when the alternative is sawdust-dry business stories delivered by yawn-inducing commentators.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s free, either. If you like your money talk brief, broad, and witty, subscribe to Morning Brew here.
How do you consume your financial news? If you read Morning Brew, what are your thoughts on it?