How to Start a Newsletter Business

Starting and growing your own email newsletter is like creating your own media company. Learn how to write a newsletter your audience wants to read. Increase open rate, get advertisers, and build your personal brand with a newsletter.

Newsletters are a great way to connect with your audience, share valuable content, and build a loyal following. If you're thinking about starting a weekly newsletter, or if you already have one but want to take it to the next level, this article is for you. Here's how to create a newsletter business.

How to Start Your Newsletter Business

  1. Identify a specific niche
  2. Understand the target audience
  3. Decide on a suitable format and frequency
  4. Build an exciting brand with a catchy name
  5. Select an email service provider (ESP)
  6. Start writing
Identify a specific niche
The initial and crucial step in establishing a newsletter business is to identify a subject matter that not only fuels your passion but also piques the interest of your potential audience. This could range from a specific industry or a hobby that you're deeply invested in, to a cause that you fervently advocate for. The key is to find a niche that you can speak about with authority and enthusiasm, and that your audience will find engaging and informative.
Understand your target audience
The next question to ask yourself is: who exactly are you writing for? It's essential to delve into the interests, aspirations, and challenges of your potential readers. By gaining a deep understanding of your audience, you can tailor your content to resonate with them on a personal level. This will not only keep them engaged but also ensure they return for more, thereby fostering a loyal readership.
Decide on the most suitable format
The frequency and format of your newsletter are other critical considerations. Will it be a weekly digest or a monthly roundup? Will it predominantly be text-based or will it incorporate multimedia elements like images and videos? These decisions should be guided by what will resonate best with your audience and what aligns with your own schedule and capabilities.
There are numerous email marketing tools available that provide newsletter templates, simplifying this process significantly. Some of these tools even offer a drag and drop editor, eliminating the need for any coding or graphic design skills to craft your newsletter. It's important to select an email tool that offers visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing templates that will captivate your readers.
Select an appealing name
The name of your newsletter plays a pivotal role in attracting readers. It should be catchy and memorable, and provide a clear indication of what your newsletter entails. Moreover, it should be in harmony with your existing brand identity, reinforcing the connection between your newsletter and your broader brand.
Choose a reliable email service provider
Ideally, you'll be sending your email newsletter to a large volume of subscribers, and you'll need a newsletter platform that can handle this large volume of traffic. Not all email service providers support large newsletters, so be sure to ask about subscriber limits when selecting one to work with. Some great options designed specifically for newsletter businesses:
  • ConvertKit - great opportunities to integrate with other platforms in your stack
  • Beehiiv - smart, integrated growth tools
  • Substack - all-in-one super simple to start with a network of readers built-in

How to Grow Your Newsletter

There's a variety of digital marketing strategies you can employ.
Consistently deliver high-quality content with a weekly newsletter
To keep your subscribers engaged and coming back for more, it's important to consistently deliver valuable, interesting and educational content. There are many ways to do this, whether it's sharing informative blog articles, entertaining videos, or handy infographics that your readers might benefit from. Not everything in your newsletter has to be original content created by you; be a content curator and gather the best content from across the internet.
Some creators will curate content for the free subscriber audience and then create original content exclusively for the paid version of the newsletter.
Use an engaging subject line every time
Your subject line is what gets your email subscribers excited and encourages them to open your newsletter when it arrives in their inbox. Today's consumers receive such a high volume of email marketing content each day that they'll be likely to ignore or even delete emails that don't look interesting to them.
There are many ways to create engaging subject lines. You'll want to keep things concise, and it's also important to create a sense of urgency. Tease the most valuable information in your email, but avoid giving everything away in the subject line.
Promote your newsletter
Promote your newsletter campaign on your social media accounts and your blog, and include sign-up forms on your website. Social media marketing is a critical element to the success of your newsletter. You can also consider running paid ads to reach a wider audience. This is especially effective for a paid newsletter business where you can identify the cost per subscriber and identify an ad spend that makes sense for you.
Offer exclusive content
Consider offering exclusive content or perks to your newsletter subscribers, such as discounts, early access to new products, or behind the scenes information. This makes your newsletter more valuable and encourages people to sign up. If it's a paid newsletter, include special access only available in the paid version.
Engage with your audience
Encourage your readers to interact with you and with each other. Ask for feedback and be sure to respond to keep the dialogue open. Paid newsletter subscribers will have higher expectations too. Consider creating opportunities for them to interact with you regularly like live Q&A sessions.

Newsletter Business Model

Is a newsletter business profitable?
Yes, a newsletter business can be very profitable when executed correctly. Newsletter writers can monetize their newsletter by selling products and services, including affiliate links, or selling ad space. There are a variety of business models that can lead to a highly lucrative newsletter business.
Free version and paid version
Many newsletter platforms make it possible for you to incorporate payment gateways. That way you can easily segment subscribers by free and paid versions of your newsletter. While your paid subscribers may be a fraction of your free subscribers, monthly recurring revenue is valuable for any growing business.
Sell products or services
If you have a product or service that your audience would be interested in, you can subtly incorporate it into your newsletter. This could be a book, a course, a coaching program, or anything else that you offer. A newsletter business is a great way to help you stand out among your peers and offer value to your subscribers for free.
Affiliate marketing
If you don't have your own products or services to sell, you can earn money by promoting other people's products through affiliate marketing. This means that you receive a commission whenever someone makes a purchase through a special link in your newsletter.
If you go this route, you'll need to be excellent at curating products for your audience, and you'll need to build up your online reputation. Many consumers enjoy buying products from influencers they trust, but you'll likely need to build a following somewhere else, such as a blog or social media platforms, and then encourage your followers to sign up for your newsletter from there.
Sponsored content
You can also make money by including sponsored content in your newsletter. Many companies like to work with influencers as part of their email marketing strategy, whether it's placing an ad in your newsletter or sponsoring the entire email.
Just make sure to disclose to your readers that the content is sponsored. Your subscribers won't want to feel like they're being spammed.

Newsletter content ideas and topics

Business newsletter
A business newsletter is a great vertical to get started with. It's important though to pick a specific area of business you want to dive into. You'll want to select a specific niche or industry you have insight into. You don't need to be the expert but you need to come with a novel perspective. Whether you're analyzing business news or current events, your audience will want to hear your angle on emerging business trends. With this type of newsletter content, you're likely speaking to a small business owner or entrepreneurs.
Tech news
A subset of the business newsletter is the tech newsletter. It's a great way to capture and share breaking news and emerging trends. You can offer valuable insights on current events that others might not be spending the time to process.
An example: AI tech newsletters have taken off since OpenAI released ChatGPT in 2022. Many of them cover daily AI news stories and updates.
Career development
Many readers subscriber to newsletters where they can get actionable advice, useful tips and read about success stories in their industry. Many people want to read about everyday life for people like them. It's an important step in career development and personal growth. You can offer guidance and support to people who are on a similar career path.

Shaan Puri's Writing Tips

One of Shaan’s most recent newsletter projects, Milk Road, went from launch to acquisition within 1 year. Here are some of his writing tips from his Power Writing course:
Create a curiosity gap
Start your article with a question or a hook that leaves your readers wanting to know more. This will keep them engaged and make them want to keep reading.
Copy other people
It's okay to look at what other successful writers are doing and borrow ideas from them. Just make sure to put your own spin on things and add your own unique perspective for your email marketing features.
Write like you talk
Don't worry about being too formal or using big words. Write in a conversational tone that is easy for your readers to understand.
Forget what you learned in school
Don't worry about following all the rules of grammar and punctuation. Just focus on writing in a way that is clear and engaging for your readers.
Write like a boss
Take charge and be confident in your writing. Your readers will respect and listen to you if you write with authority and conviction.
Trigger emotions
Whether you're trying to make your readers laugh, cry, or think, it's important to connect with them on an emotional level. This will help your writing stand out and be more memorable in the subscriber's inbox.
The more you write, the better you'll get. So don't be afraid to just start writing and see where it takes you. The more you practice, the more confident and proficient you'll become.
Learning how to create a newsletter takes time. The process requires careful planning and consistent effort. By choosing a niche, determining your audience, deciding on a format, and choosing a catchy name, you can set the foundation for your newsletter. 
To grow your newsletter, focus on delivering high-quality content, promoting your newsletter, offering exclusive perks to subscribers, and engaging with your audience. You can also monetize your newsletter through the sale of products or services, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content.
Finally, to improve your writing, follow Shaan Puri's writing tips. By following these steps, you can build and grow a successful newsletter business that connects with your audience and helps you achieve your goals.
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