Lessons Learned Writing A Newsletter For 2 Years

Two Years ago I didn’t write a newsletter. 12 Months ago I didn’t run a profitable newsletter. Read about how I lost $137 in the first year here.

I’ve spent 104 Thursdays reading and editing for 2 to 10 hours. And made a few thousand dollars in the process.

Summary

  • Revenue doesn’t just appear.

Let me introduce myself.

I’m Andrew. I worked a full-time job in Influencer Marketing. Specifically I was analyzing pricing for campaigns and built the models we used to figure out who to pay and how much.

My side business was a social media growth agency for Influencers.

You could say I was fully entrenched in the Influencer Marketing Industry.

Two years ago I created a curated newsletter because my industry didn’t have one.

I should be more exact. It had plenty. None were great.

Thus I created InfluenceWeekly.co

Read past issues here.

Revenue Doesn’t Just Appear.

Sponsors don’t appear out of nowhere, like RKO’s. (WWE reference for those wondering).

A funny note about a newsletter, nobody knows how many people are subscribed unless you tell them. No follower count to show off.

Early on, you may only have a hundred. You may only have a dozen.

In week 16 and I only had 422 subscribers.

And I have already had a sponsor.

And that sponsor led to another potential sponsor. Just seeing a sponsor caused someone to email me asking for rates.

I’m not making the case to fake an ad. Which if you do have top spots, you should be promoting things you like. I’m just saying you should do almost anything you can do to get a first advertiser.

One single big push isn’t sustainable. This can lead to burnout.

I have learned not to try any particular BIG thing. I did this early on. And it almost led to my burnout.

I used my LinkedIn contact list to do a cold email introducing them to the newsletter. Many people hated it. It was not the best thing I did but at least it led to signups. At least I thought so at the beginning.

Honestly the thing that has kept me going is that I have a bunch of tasks I can do each day no matter what. They are not part of a big project. They are just things that I have come to prove out move the needle on one of two area: Subscribers or Revenue.

They include curating great articles…Reaching out to people who are doing great things. Connecting with people in the industry who I want to talk to.

Statistics matter, but not as much as I think.

I continue to use data to make decisions. It’s better than using my gut. Especially because I don’t have twenty years in this industry to use. What the numbers told me early on, are a completely different story than what they are telling me now.

MailChimp gives me stats on who clicks what. I didn’t notice it early on, but the top articles always get the most clicks. If I hadn’t seen that physical location pattern, I would have assumed that I was making the right choices.

I kept the content positive towards the industry. I tried one week to include a few negative articles and one about “fraud”. It did very well, in terms of clicks.

While I take a hint from the stats, I don’t let those drive editorial decisions. I still focus on insights and analytical articles over raw opinions.

Don’t be slow.

If you have any idea, just go with it. Don’t let the “pressure” of sending a great email keep you from sending an email each week.

Also if you want to try a lead generation way, go for it. I worked on content marketing for months that ended up driving a few signups but if I had just published earlier I might have gotten more.

Work only on things that matter.

Format matters, to an extent. Don’t over think it. I started with text only. I only added images in the next 6 months. And then took them out after another 6 months because they didn’t add value.

Anything I can do, to get more subscribers or get more revenue, I’ll do it.

Just like YC Startup School says: Talk to Users, Make Something People Want.

I make sure to keep talking to my readers, future readers and potential sponsors.

Success is a process, not a goal.

I currently have a killer process on how to get more subscribers consistently and also more advertisers. It takes work. I know the process.

If you’re struggling, reach out to me at my new venture, which is helping writers and publishers monetize through ads. email me at Andrew@hypeletter.com

Former Santa | Maker | Coffee Drinker

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