You’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about the rise of newsletters and you’re starting to wonder if email newsletters are important and whether you should care…
After all, you already have a successful blog that you’re rightfully proud of. You made it happen through years of consistent blogging, tweaking your articles, SEO, and, just for good measure, a bit more blogging.
In contrast, you’ve had a newsletter opt-in form on your page for ages but never did much with it.
Is now the time to revisit this distribution channel? Let’s find out.
The resurgence of email newsletters
As with many things in the commercial world, the moves of the big players in the newsletter world are an indication of the demand and opportunity there is for newsletters.
Best email newsletter tools: Who are the current large players?
Like with all tech, there’s no shortage of players in the newsletter game. Let’s check out a few of the bigger platforms..
One that’s been around for a long time is Mailchimp. If you subscribe to newsletters, chances are quite a few of them are powered by Mailchimp. The company just got acquired by Intuit for an eye-watering $12 billion. When you think about how Mailchimp is just one of many email service providers, you really get an indication of just how much the email newsletter market is worth!
Revue is another platform making all the right noises at the moment. In January 2021 they announced that Twitter acquired the platform. Over the last few weeks many big Twitter accounts suddenly started sporting a newsletter subscribe button right on their Twitter profiles, as shown here:
There’s also Substack, which prides itself on ease of setting up a paid newsletter. They recently raised $65 million, with a market valuation at $650 million. Finally, Bulletin is Facebook’s foray into the world of independent content creation; boasting writers like Malcolm Gladwell and Erin Andrews as their early partners. This is definitely one to keep an eye on even if only due to Facebook’s incredibly large built-in user base.
Popular email newsletters: Newsletters making bank
So, we’ve had a very quick look at some of the newsletter platforms. Now, let’s cast our eye over to some popular and profitable newsletters:
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Cord Cutter Weekly, a popular newsletter with over 28,000 subscribers, is about, well, cutting the cord and moving to streaming. (Full disclosure, Cord Cutter Weekly is published with Newsletter Glue)
Not Boring bills itself as “the most fun way to learn about what’s going on in business and the strategy behind the decisions companies make”, currently has over 60,000 subscribers.
The Hustle, with over 1.5 million readers, was acquired by HubSpot earlier this year, valuing it at approximately $27 million.
Morning Brew reportedly had over 2.5 million subscribers as of February 2021, and sold a majority stake to Insider Inc., the parent company of Business Insider, in late 2020. This deal put the company’s value at around $75 million!
As you can see, newsletters are big business and on the rise. But are email newsletters worth it to you? Let’s see.
Why newsletters are important and do you need one?
To answer that, let’s take a quick look at some of the many perks of newsletters:
Create a more engaged fanbase
If you’re writing a popular, search engine-optimised blog, it’s hard to get personal.
In contrast, newsletters are a more intimate medium. You show up every week in a subscriber’s personal inbox; address them by name and share your thoughts on a specific subject. They can hit ‘reply’ and respond to what you’ve written. It’s much easier to build rapport and people feel like they know you. It’s a step further than finding a random article on the internet. This leads us to the next point…
Subscribers choose you
When someone likes a random blog post they’ve just read, they can make a personal choice to subscribe. This serves as proof that they enjoy and want more of your own special brand of content. This is far better proof that your writing is good than site traffic.
Own your audience
With a newsletter subscriber list, you “own” your audience versus subjecting yourself to the whims of Facebook/Twitter/insert social platform of your choice. If a social media platform suddenly changes their rules or closes up shop, your loyal fans are gone in an instant. Just like that. Poof!
With an email subscriber list, you own your contacts and take them with you if you decide to change platforms.
Send content directly to subscribers
Sending a newsletter is a more proactive approach. Instead of passively waiting for readers to come to you, you’re sending content directly to your subscribers.
Got a call-to-action? Engagement rates will surely be higher if you have a big shiny Buy Now button in an email that you actively send out.
Newsletter vs Blog: Why not have both?
It doesn’t have to be a case of newsletter vs blog. Why not have both? The above benefits of newsletters don’t have to be at the expense of your blog readers. They’re in addition to them!
You’ve already got a successful blog so you’re clearly skilled at building an audience. Why not apply that to newsletter subscribers? A bunch of extra readers are right there, just waiting to be snapped up.
If you’re concerned that writing a newsletter takes up more time than you have available, it might be worthwhile checking out Newsletter Glue (that’s us!). It connects your email service to WordPress so you can publish newsletters the way you publish blog posts. Customers say we save them an hour or more per newsletter.
Go where your readers are
Are email newsletters worth it? To answer that, we asked Kev Quirk, popular blogger, cybersecurity nerd and user of Newsletter Glue to tell us what happened when he tried to call it a day on his newsletter…
In 2020, Kev started a newsletter to supplement his blog (which gets 10,000s monthly visitors). After a year of publishing weekly, he decided it was too much work and emailed his subscribers to let them know he’ll be killing it. Readers could either continue reading the blog via the website or RSS.
Immediately, he received 80-100 emails saying “don’t stop!”
You see, his subscribers loved his content and worried they’d forget to check his blog. They also don’t use RSS.
“Lots of messages poured in that basically said goodbye. It was so sad.”
So, he made a compromise. The newsletter would remain, but with one important change: Instead of being a roundup of “stuff” from around the internet as well as his own content, he’d simply send out new posts when they were published on his site. That worked really well!
Thanks, Kev. I couldn’t have said it better: “go where your readers are.”
How to create a newsletter for your blog
So now that we’ve determined that email newsletters are worth it, let’s explore your options for building one.
If you have the time and resources, creating a separate newsletter can be an invaluable resource for tapping into new audiences and building a more engaged subscriber base.
However, that isn’t the only way to do it. Kev’s story shows how he was successful with both a separate newsletter and a newsletter that simply worked as a distribution channel for his blog.
If you’d like to create a standalone newsletter that’s discoverable and on-brand with the rest of your blog, watch this tutorial video.
Alternatively, if you’d like to create the same workflow as Kev, watch this video to find out how you can easily send blog posts as newsletters using Newsletter Glue.
You’ve got the successful blog. Now, add a successful newsletter to your empire.