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I only “niched down” to focus on newsletters in April 2022.
It’s been 7 whole months.
But niching down to focus on this topic was the best thing I have done for my newsletter. It’s helped me…
→ focus my content
→ grow the newsletter
→ position my brand as a bit of a “Newsletter Guy”
All huge wins I was struggling with before finding my niche.
But it’s also 10x’d the amount of questions I get about newsletters!
So I want to answer some of those questions here. Let’s dive in!
I keep this relatively simple. But here’s what I’ve tried and found most effective lately:
Twitter and LinkedIn are where many of us “live” — but that’s not always where your subscribers are. They’re also noisy that require a lot of shouting into the void before people start to listen.
Other social platforms that you should consider are Instagram, TikTok, and Medium (yes, it’s also a social platform). I mentioned Medium earlier in Question #1. There are very few (if any) downsides to republishing on Medium. Just be sure to adjust your canonical link settings if you have the original post on your website so you don’t piss off Google:
Instagram is a non-obvious option for newsletters because it’s so image-focused. But you can leverage the link in your bio to drive new subscribers, and entice them with…
a) teaser content that encourages a sign-up
b) a carousel-style post that offers a version of your newsletter content
If you do some hashtag research, you could also leverage those to get new eyeballs.
TikTok is the #1 social platform with growth potential (in general). Which makes it a tempting platform for growing a newsletter. If you’re comfortable on video, give it a shot. I’d check out what Justin Moore and Jay Clouse are both doing for some ideas/inspiration.
First, let me share some articles I’ve written on newsletter growth:
The challenge with growing a newsletter today: there are more ways than ever to grow your newsletter — and there are more people than ever trying to do the same.
So now everyone can start a newsletter. So quality of content becomes increasingly important. Yes, newsletter growth is important. But it should not be a bigger focus *in the beginning* than the quality of content in your newsletter.
So naturally, you’ll grow your newsletter by publishing something people want to open & consume.
Similar to what Ethan Brooks explains in this episode of the Copyblogger podcast. He summarizes Eric Nuzum’s framework for podcast growth by describing 4 attributes in which you can be unique — and you can apply these to most creative pursuits:
The problem, Ethan explains, is most people focus on ONE of these attributes. But to stand out and succeed, you need to differentiate with TWO. So you are unique — we all are — but maybe your audience, topic, and angle are not. That’s where you have the opportunity to differentiate. That’s where you can start creating quality content.
The best part about focusing on quality? People want to share *good* content. It grows on its own merit.
So I could go on about growth & promotion strategies for your newsletter. But I truly believe focusing on unique, quality content is going to set you apart that much faster.
Still, if you’re still hungry for growth strategies, check out my 1KS Roadmap email course. It’s 5 days of emails guiding you on the journey to 1,000 subscribers — and it’s free!
Yeah, that’s tough! I don’t envy your position. Business owners and upper management get a ton of email, and so much of it is a waste of their time. So their negative take on email understandable.
But there is still so much value in growing an email list for your business. Having that direct conduit of contact with your prospects and customers is invaluable.
Surely there is information about your industry that your prospects and customers may need or want to know about. Any information you’d share in a news release, blog post, or social post can be leveraged in a newsletter. Maybe it’s important news they should know about. Maybe it's education they need. And maybe it’s even entertainment.
The point is, everyone has email. Everyone checks their email — even reluctantly at times. And sending your customers important, timely and/or helpful information will position you as a source of knowledge and expertise on the topic. Probably something your boss wouldn’t be able to argue with.
Idea generation is a common challenge for content creators. You are not alone, friend. Fortunately, common challenges usually mean someone’s come up with a solution:
Enter the content grid/bucket/matrix (choose your adventure!)
I’ve seen these published by the gents at Ship 30 For 30, by Justin Welsh, and by others.
Another way is to listen. What are people asking you? What are the experts saying about your topic? Do you agree? What’s your spiky point of view?
The last point I’ll make is about using rapid feedback loops for ideas. Tweet something and listen for signal. Twitter is a wonderful way to test ideas and gather new ones.
I wrote about this a few months back, check it out here:
There’s a good amount to dig in there, so I’ll spare you the reading here :)
It doesn’t cost you anything to be there, and I can’t think of any downside to being there.
Paved is more challenging in that you can’t pitch advertisers, they have to “find” you. But again it costs you nothing to be there. Just understand Paved takes a 30% cut of your ad rate, so price accordingly.
But to increase your chance of filling sponsorships, you should also try…
It’s both very important and not important at all (don’t you hate that answer?)…
It depends on your newsletter goals. Are you hoping to monetize your newsletter? A bigger audience can lead to more optionality for revenue:
Small audiences are harder to monetize.
You’ll have a tough time earning significant revenue with 89 subscribers, no matter what you’re selling.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, it’s just extremely challenging.
But there’s nuance to everything. As my friend Matt Giaro has written, focusing on metrics like subscriber counts & open rates — to the extent most of us are— is stupid.
(Matt’s talking about open rates in that article, but the same argument can be made for subscriber count.)
The point is: if your newsletter is earning you the revenue you desire, then it doesn’t matter how big or small it is. Like I mentioned in my answer to #3 above, the bigger focus should be on producing unique, high quality content so you don’t have to worry so much about subscriber count.
It happens. Writing doesn’t always come easy. Some weeks I’d much rather slump on the couch and watch Netflix.
But I have two forcing functions working in my favor:
Not everyone has advertisers — but we can all make a commitment. We can all be consistent and resilient.
Here’s how to build in resiliency to your writing & publishing efforts:
Welcome Email 100%.
It’s the low-hanging fruit that keeps on giving. And every newsletter platform has the option to create one.
My GC⚡ Welcome Email has 3 popular articles in it to help get new subscribers acquainted with my “greatest hits”.
You could also take this a step further and include a ‘welcome’ sequence.
I only include one Welcome email — then subscribers are sent directly into the regular GC⚡ weekly newsletter rhythm. But you could always share your “greatest hits” in a sequential order that makes sense.
Not all platforms offer email sequences. You can read over this article I wrote explaining that and much more from the 5 most popular email & newsletter platforms:
I hope you’ve found this helpful!
If people enjoy this, I’ll do it again. Just reply to this tweet letting me know your questions:
You can also email me: dylan[at]growthcurrency.net
The path to money is quicker than you think…
My open rates were suffering - until I made 2 changes.