And how I’ve successfully curated mine for the past 18 months.

I wanted to start a newsletter.

So I signed up for a Substack account in September 2020.

I knew the value in starting a newsletter and growing an email list. But days went by and I didn’t published anything. Then weeks.

Then months.

January 2021 rolled around. Still no newsletter…

I was stalling. I had nothing to write about (or so I thought). I wasn’t an “expert” in any field. What “value” did I have to share…?

For months, my imposter syndrome kept me from starting.

I finally got fed up with inaction and published my first edition January 19th, 2021. Instead of trying to be an expert, I curated content around topics I was interested in.

It worked. And I’ve been doing it for 77 weeks.

I’ve grown my email list from zero to over 2k subscribers. I’ve even earned some income from publishing it.

So here’s a rundown of how I curate my newsletter each week.

Your tl;dr summary:

  • How I Curate via Other Newsletters
  • How I Curate via Twitter (and how you can do it on any social platform)
  • How I Compile & Plan My Curated Content (using Airtable & Web Clipper)

Note: this is my current process. It’s seen several iterations — and may see several more. My process might not work for you. Use the general strategies here with different tools if needed. The point is, your process doesn’t have to be perfect. The most important thing is to start, find what works, and change what doesn’t.

How I Curate via Other Newsletters

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters.

Many of which offer helpful content and curate links to even more helpful content. But it’s taken me 17 months to get this list.

Here’s how you can get there much faster.

Finding Newsletters

You’re likely already subscribed to a few helpful newsletters yourself — bonus points if they’re newsletters you can curate content from for your own.

Check out these newsletter directories for more:

(h/t to Letterstack for these great resources)

Sorting Newsletters

Sifting through all of these newsletters inundating your inbox is overwhelming. And to complicate things, they come sporadically.

So you need to sort and batch. Here’s one way to do it.

  1. Gmail Labels. Create a label (aka. folders) for the newsletters you want to pull content from. Start with a label called “Newsletter Curation” or something like that. Then, use Gmail’s filter function to Skip The Inbox
    and send any desired newsletters straight to the newsletter folder you just created.

2. Batch your gathering of newsletter links. Sort through your new curated newsletter label once or twice a week, instead of every time you see a newsletter land in your inbox. It’ll save time — but more than anything — it’ll save the mental energy and anxiety of thinking, “I have to leave that email unopened so I remember to read it later!”

To batch most effective & efficient:

  1. Pick a curation day.
  2. Set a 1-hour timer.
  3. Start curating.

How I Curate via Twitter (and other Social Media)

You may prefer Instagram or LinkedIn for sourcing content, but I’ll share my Twitter strategy here. Understand you can use this same strategy for other social platforms.

Twitter is a great resource for content within certain niches: tech, crypto, marketing, finance, health & fitness, productivity and creator economy all come to mind.

Twitter’s most valuable curation tool?

The bookmark feature.

Bookmark a Tweet

Once in a while I’ll come across a tweet or thread I *need* to share in my newsletter. So I’ll bookmark it like this:

Bookmark tweets and  threads— or add them to a bookmark folder (Twitter Blue feature).

I created a Bookmark folder (using Twitter Blue) which I named “Newsletter Tweets” to help organize these tweets & threads.

Simple as that. Once the time comes to gather my curated links for the week, I have yet another place to find quality material.

How I Compile & Plan My Curated Content

I use Airtable to organize all my curated links.

Airtable is basically a flashier, more fun(ctional) spreadsheet. If you’re more comfortable in Google Sheets or Excel — go with it!

After I’ve sorted through all my newsletters and bookmarked tweets, I add the chosen links to my “GC Links” Airtable base.

Here’s a live view of (part of) my GC Links Airtable base:

GC Links Airtable Base — grouped by Status (Saved, Scheduled, Published).

I use 7 columns to keep track of my links:

  1. Name of Article/Resource — so I know the title of the resource.
  2. URL — for obvious reasons.
  3. Creator/author — to give credit to the original creator.
  4. Source — if I found this or was recommended via someone else, I like to give them credit.
  5. Category — all my curated links fall into one or more categories: Start, Grow, Improve, Monetize; this column is crucial for organization and potential delegation to a VA.
  6. Status — have I scheduled or published an article, or merely saved it?
  7. Edition published — I like to keep track of which edition I published each link.

(You could easily recreate this table in Excel or Sheets.)

Then I group my base by the Status column.

I do this to see which articles I have merely saved, the ones I’ve scheduled in my upcoming editions, and the ones I’ve published.

When it’s time to choose my links for the week, I can easily filter or scan the list to find the articles that I want to share — and ignore the ones I’ve already published.

Want a free Airtable Template like mine? Grab an empty copy of my base here.

Saving Time with Airtable’s Web Clipper

I use Airtable’s free web clipper Chrome extension to quickly capture an article while consuming content.

It saves you from having to open your Airtable base to save a link — just click the extension!

How it works:

  1. You find a resource you love
  2. Click the Airtable Web Clipper icon in your extensions
  3. Page name & URL are clipped automatically
  4. Add the content’s details (Author, Category, Status, etc)
  5. Hit “Add Record” to add it to your Airtable base without leaving the page

You can Try out the Airtable Web Clipper here.

That’s it!

All there is to it.

99% of my curated content makes it into my newsletter like this.

I’ll stumble across the odd article throughout the week in other corners of the web. Or someone might share an article or tool with me.

But this is my whole process!