Newsletters are the prized-asset of online creators. On social media, people see your content without notice but with email, your audience makes a conscious decision to listen to you.
Here are my Top 10 tips on starting a newsletter and gaining your first 500 subscribers:
- Start with the end in mind:
Your goal is the ultimate fuel for the newsletter. It decides what platform you’ll use, your schedule, the metrics to track and gives you motivation for days when you’re in doubt.
What would be termed as success for you?
For me writing online for two weeks was hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I consumed large amounts of content on writing. I decided that if it could help me, it could help others as well and more than anything, I was excited to curate all I learnt and share with people. Put your goals down in writing and begin from there.
- 2. Determine your Newsletter Platform
This is huge. There are different email systems for use. And depending on your goal, choose a platform that suits you best. Substack is best for information intense emails while MailChimp and Convertkit are best for inspiration condensed emails. Again revert back to your goal.
I use ‘Substack’ because it allows me to do what I do best without having to bother about the technicalities of email marketing. The features are incredible, particularly for long-form writing. You may find another platform better for your goals. Do your research and test accordingly.
- 3. Create a publishing schedule and content calendar
When you start a newsletter, you’re making a promise to people. Be prepared to keep it. See your email as a buffet, where you’re the cook. The day the pots are empty, don’t expect your guests to come back excitedly or invite other people.
I publish every Sunday by 4 pm and that will not change bar something extreme. I also have a rough list of topics that I want to discuss over the next four months.
It’s going to be a lot of work to do this at the beginning, but when you have zero inspiration, you’ll be glad you have a list of ideas to fall back on.
- 4. Build a minimum viable audience (MVA)
It’s important to start distributing value in relation to the core of your newsletter before promoting your Newsletter. An MVA is the smallest amount of people who are a little familiar with your work. They’ll be the first to trust in you. So never forget them
I had published 10 short articles on twitter before I started the newsletter, so a small number of people were aware that I could write and Trusted me. Start pushing out the sort of content you would write in your newsletter.
- 5. Offer aggressive value
The internet is an endless loop and value is the fuel behind its engine.
This is the most important tip of all: Start a newsletter because you want to help people. Any other reason and you will waste everybody’s time. Help is subjective, so determine what helping people looks like to you.
People are looking for hope, Information, expertise, knowledge, resources and entertainment. Give any of these consistently and you’ll get back value in return.
- 6. Take it seriously
Every email you send is an opportunity to Influence or impact someone.
I actually hate emails. Many people do. So give it your best shot every darn time. Write the best you can and edit better than you’ve written.
I have the idea for my newsletter on Monday and let it simmer in my mind through the week. On Friday I write down a draft and edit it on Saturday. From that time to Sunday begins an endless stream of refining.
I think about my letters everywhere before they go out. I once remembered to remove a paragraph while passing a quite fat stool. It was 10 minutes to publishing time.
Punctuations, unnecessary paragraphs, grammatical errors, check everything. People are choosing your emails over an abundance of free content online. Remember that and give them everything you’ve got.
- 7. Check the right metrics
I celebrate every new subscriber that comes, but there are more important numbers to me that I hold dearly.
Email replies, shares on social media and open rates. If the numbers for these three are high,you’re doing something right. It won’t be long before your sub number catches up.
The replies I get from my letters are truly inspiring. People are writing better, gaining more confidence and in turn improving their lives and others —word by word, article by article. This is more important to me than anything.
- 8. Promote your newsletter
Make it an extension of yourself. Pin it to your social media profile. Add it as a signature to your email account and Share it everywhere. The more eyes on it, the better. But don’t be a nuisance with it. Remember rule 5.
It’s important not to coerce your friends or family into subscribing. In fact, I say it’s better not to have them at all. You want people who are there for the value you bring and not just because they know your name. Having 10 true fans is greater than a 100 hype crew.
- 9. Leverage the Internet
The internet gives you unprecedented access to people without a geographical barrier. Utilise it like your newsletter depends on it. Because it does. Relationships are everything on the internet. Be nice to people. Clout and clap backs on social media will hurt you in the long run.
There are some really amazing people on twitter like Emmanuel Davies, an author I had never met before. I saw his book on my Timeline on Twitter and thought it would be a huge inspiration for upcoming writers to see themselves in his shoes. If he could do it then they can.
Luckily for me, he was happy to be interviewed on my newsletter and we published a fantastic read the following week. The internet can change your life when used wisely.
- 10. Be Human and Accessible
Finally, If you want your audience to communicate with you, you can’t be seen as a stranger behind the screen pumping advice to them. You want to give them touching stories with human and personal experiences. Make them feel you through your content.
Encourage your audience to reply your newsletter. Ask them questions. Make them a strong part of the community. They’re the most important part of your emails so everything you do should revolve around giving them an opportunity to become better.
I share more tips and useful information on building a newsletter base on Twitter, Let’s connect!