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!

#1: What growth strategies are you trying?

I keep this relatively simple. But here’s what I’ve tried and found most effective lately:

  1. Cross-promotions with other newsletters. I added a Newsletter of the Week section in GC⚡ a few months ago. It’s my defacto cross-promotion spot — and when it’s not being used for cross-promo, I’ll throw in a SparkLoop partner (affiliate link) for some potential revenue.
  2. Sharing my articles/threads (content) with other creators and suggesting it might be valuable for their audience. So I share 1:1 but aim for 1:Many. Some creators will share with their audience, others won’t — and that’s okay. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  3. Republishing my newsletter articles on Medium & Substack. Substack’s been heavily pushing the idea of network effects with their Discovery and Recommendations features. And since GC⚡ started on Substack, I have been republishing my articles as ‘posts’ on Substack (see image below this list). Medium has been another republishing platform I’ve leveraged for more opportunities to expose more people to my content and to gain subscribers
  4. SparkLoop Partner Program. SparkLoop shares my newsletter with it’s network of partners. I pay referral partners $2.50 per new subscriber they refer to me. This is still in experiment mode. I just got set up last week with the partner program. Apply to refer Growth Currency⚡ here.
30 Days of minimal republishing effort = 30 new subscribers

#2: What social media platforms — that aren’t Twitter or LinkedIn — should I promote my newsletter on?

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:

Google can punish what it perceives to be duplicate content. This will save you from that.

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.

More: check out this article from ConvertKit on growing your newsletter with TikTok.

#3: Can you share more on promoting/growing a list?

First, let me share some articles I’ve written on newsletter growth:

» Newsletter Growth Articles

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:

  1. Who the host/writer is (creator)
  2. Who the show is for (audience)
  3. What you talk/write about (topic/niche)
  4. How do you talk/write about it (what’s the angle?)

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!

#4: How do you convince your boss — who hates getting email — of the value a newsletter can bring to your business?

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.

#5: How can I generate ideas for newsletter content?

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.

» Here’s how Dickie Bush uses a combination of frameworks to create 112 ideas in 30 minutes.

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.

#6: Can you write a full-fledged edition (article) about paid newsletters?

I wrote about this a few months back, check it out here:

» To go paid or not to go paid?

There’s a good amount to dig in there, so I’ll spare you the reading here :)

#7: How do you find sponsors for Substack newsletters without using programs like Paved or Swapstack?

My initial answer is actually a question: why not used like Paved or Swapstack?

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…

  • Sponsorgap.com: they list which brands are advertising in which newsletters of various sizes and industries. You can also pay a monthly fee to get the contact info for these brands.
  • Twitter, LinkedIn: reach out to brands or the marketing reps at your favorite brands on these platforms. It doesn’t always work, but I managed to get a few booked ads this way.
  • Other newsletters: I always check out who’s advertising in other newsletters in my “size” and with my demographic. If they paid for an ad in an adjacent newsletter, they’ll be open to advertising in mine.

#8: How important is subscriber count?

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:

  • Command higher ad rates
  • Increased sponsorship rates
  • More product/service sales
  • More website traffic

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.

» Why Smart Marketers Don’t Care About Email Open Rates

(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.

They’ll come.

#9: What do you do when writing seems like a chore?

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:

  1. I committed to publishing 100 weekly editions of my newsletter. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that commitment.
  2. I have advertisers. I don’t want to let them down. And I want to get paid.

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:

» Everyone talks about consistency. Nobody talks about this.

#10: What’s the best way of connecting new subscribers with your ‘greatest hits’?

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:

» The Top 5 Email Newsletter Platforms - and the one you should choose.

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