Ann Friedman

Advice on Starting a Newsletter

 
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Today someone messaged me on Facebook asking for advice about starting a newsletter (sign up for MY weekly newsletter). I ended up writing way too much so I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s what I said…

I do my newsletter every week, however I know for a lot of people it makes more sense to do it every month. For me, it has helped to follow a few newsletters of people I look up to.

Austin Kleon is THE BEST. His blog and newsletter have been an inspiration.

I love the way he talks about daily blogging. He says it helps him be a better writer and makes writing books a lot easier. If he blogs every day for 3 months and then looks back over all he's written, he might notice 10 blogs all on the same subject. If you put them all together, that could be a chapter in a book! So he just uses it to pay attention to what he's paying attention to.

Every week in his newsletter he has 10 things he thinks are worth sharing. It might be stuff that he's written or stuff other people have made that are influencing him.

I also just subscribed to Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter. I really like how she structures hers. I tried doing mine a little bit like hers.

I think if you’re not a known personality a lot of people will want to follow, it’s probably best to pick some topic or theme you can keep people informed about. Obviously you want people to look at you as an expert in your field so they use you as a resource. Maybe the newsletter can be a way to share resources with them. Stuff you’ve made or podcasts, articles, books, quotes that can you’ve found helpful in your own research.

Also, I’m writing this I’m realizing I’m not following my own advice. I should probably be more focused in my newsletter too.

I use mailchimp. It’s really easy and the free version is good enough to start with. I think once you start growing your audience, it’ll make sense to start paying for it.

A lot of people will have some free offer as an incentive for signing up for the newsletter. Is there something you can give people who sign up?

There’s a whole movement around newsletters these days. Social media is garbage and we have no control over who sees our posts. With newsletters you’re guaranteed to be in their inbox. It’s more intimate. It’s more reliable.