When we published our article “The Return of the Newsletter” in May of 2019 we knew we were going to publish a newsletter for Content Creators Planner, we just weren’t sure when.
Much like anything else in marketing now that we’ve done it we kind of wish we had done it sooner (no major regrets, it’s not like we haven’t been busy).
Our newsletter, Creativity Published, has done a TON for our brand. We’ll get into our own results in a bit, but first, let’s talk about why “Now is the Best Time to Start Your Newsletter.”
Now more than ever our attention is being pulled in a million directions.
And unfortunately our attention span has decreased.
Social media and search are more crowded than ever. On hand this is great because it means you have to provide better quality in order to be heard and stick around.
In the internet marketing space when newsletters were first a thing on the internet they were basically marketers pushing how amazing they were to their email list.
The same could be true of markets outside of the internet marketing space. Newsletters felt very much like a one-sided conversation where a company was talking at you about themselves as opposed to encouraging engagement and providing value.
There’s been a resurgence and rise in newsletters because our email inbox is more personal and holds our attention.
Newsletters have also become much easier to read on mobile, which accounts for 46% of all email opens according to Hubspot.
Content continues to grow as a driving force in marketing, customer engagement, and customer acquisition.
Newsletters are content.
According to industry standards, newsletters average an open rate of 22%!
As I was doing research for this post the majority of the data available tended towards more corporate types of newsletters or newsletters such as the Hustle or Morning Brew which have acquired massively large subscriber lists.
Which tells me that the opportunity is ripe.
In other words, marketers haven’t found a way to ruin newsletters yet. ????
There are different schools of thought when it comes to what type of a newsletter you should create, but more than anything you need to do what feels right for you.
If you like writing long form content, have at it.
Prefer to aggregate other people’s content? Give it a go.
Maybe it’s more of a mixture of things (kind of like my #FtheHustle newsletter).
What I enjoy creating is a personal, story based content along with some suggested things to read, listen to, watch, and a couple of book recommendations. I also include something humorous and bit of encouragement and inspiration.
Jodi’s newsletter, Freshly Squeezed, is a completely different format and both work incredibly well.
Our Creativity Published newsletter for this brand is a bit of a combination of both.
YOU get to decide what works for you and serves your audience.
Newsletters for subscriber growth and profits
With plenty of different ways to drive traffic online today you can end up trying a little bit of everything and never getting traction on anything.
Here’s a smattering of what you can be doing:
While all of those things work, unless you have a team or can clone yourself, getting good at all of these things so they convert is going to be a challenge.
For the last few years I’ve been saying that if I could recommend entrepreneurs get good at ONE thing first it would be writing!
What better way to get good at writing than a weekly newsletter?
Here’s where the magic starts happening with a newsletter.
Not only is it a more intimate type of content but it’s a natural type of content for a referral program.
And naturally there are some great tools for creating and growing a referral program.
The two we’re looking at using are:
I’ve signed up for SparkLoop for #FtheHustle. I’ll be rolling it out with the next issue.
We’re looking at Viral Loops for Creativity Published but haven’t decided which direction we’re going (we’re leaning towards Viral Loops so we can test both ????).
The short version of what these tools do are create referral-based campaigns to grow your email list.
You send out your newsletter which has a referral link embedded in it. Your subscriber clicks on the link to join and then shares their unique referral link. For every email sign-up they refer they get points.
You set the rewards based on the point level.
Example: for 5 points (referrals), they get a poster
for 20 points they get a mug
for 40 points they get a t-shirt
Of course your rewards don’t have to be physical swag or products. You can reward your subscribers with digital products and courses.
The beauty of swag is that it has a much higher chance of being shared. In other words, people taking photos, tagging you, sharing it socially, etc.
I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a type of content since I started podcasting back in 2013.
I started my podcast because I wanted to have more fun.
Had I known how much fun it would be and what it would do for my business I would have started it sooner (and I believe there is still plenty of opportunity in the podcasting space. Too many people give up or quit podcasting too soon).
While I don’t have data on this, so this is solely based on opinion, but I think the quality of subscribers you gain from a newsletter is going to be higher over the long run.
You can start a newsletter with your current email service provider (we use Active Campaign) or choose to sign up with one of the tools that are built specifically for newsletters, such as Substack or Revue (and if you search for alternatives for either you’ll find plenty).
We’ve chosen simply to use ActiveCampaign for Creativity Published and I’m using ConvertKit for #FtheHustle.
Personally I’d recommend using your current email service provider where you’re growing your existing email ist.
You can also publish your newsletters on your website and as publications and content on Medium (and even articles on social if that’s something you do).
As we continue to focus on growing our Creativity Published newsletter here as well as our individual newsletters, we’ll share the progress and results we’re getting from dedicating more time and energy into this content and traffic source.
Lastly, don’t forget that you can very easily monetize a newsletter as well.
We are after all in business, right?
Whether you do it through paid sponsorships, affiliate offers, or your own product offers.
There are plenty of ways to ensure your newsletter supports your business goals and content strategy.
Just make sure you put your subscribers first.
If you have a newsletter or are thinking of doing one we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or email us what you’re doing and how it’s working.
Take a look at Yotpo for referrals too. People need to subscribe to your #FtheHustle newsletter to see one of the best all-round newsletters for variety and edutainment. Really “thumb-stopping” stuff. Maybe you can add a sign-up link for that one here, Kim.
Thank you, Jan! I appreciate the kind words! Good idea on the sign-up link!