5 Time Saving Steps to Creating Your First Newsletter
Email newsletters are bigger than ever before, and with the rise of the digital sphere, the ways in which we can create and consume content are constantly adapting and evolving. One method which has gained particular popularity in recent months is the email newsletter.
Sometimes disregarded as a dated method of communication, the newsletter has risen to new heights with the introduction of regular inbox drops from big-name journalists and celebrities alike.
In the age of social media overload, the throwback simplicity and intimacy of email has a new-found appeal. With this in mind, are you ready to start your own newsletter? It couldn’t be easier. Here’s my step-by-step guide to getting your word out:
1. Plan Your Format & Sending Schedule
The most popular types of newsletter currently include personal essays, links to things around the internet, and those that cater to a specific audience, such as Jezebel.com. Once you’ve decided what format or combination of formats suits you best, think about how often you want to send your newsletter.
You might choose to stick to a weekly schedule so that your subscribers know exactly when they will receive your newsletter in their inbox, or decide to have no schedule at all so that there is no pressure. Either way, make sure you inform your subscribers (and more importantly those thinking about subscribing) of your schedule and stick to it as best you can.
2. Choose Your Platform
The go-to platforms for creating a newsletter are TinyLetter and MailChimp. If you’re just starting out, TinyLetter is easy to navigate (requiring little to zero coding experience) and free, although you can’t hugely alter the look of your email and subscribers are restricted to 5,000.
If you grow your list beyond that number, or have some coding experience and want more control over design, MailChimp might be a better choice – but going with this option will cost you at least £8 a month if you have thousands of subscribers or want to use premium services (like scheduled delivery by time zone).
3. Build Your First Email Newsletter
If you choose to go with a straightforward text format, building your first email newsletter should be quite simple. Most newsletter editors will include a paragraph toolbar with familiar options for text editing and options to include pictures or gifs.
If you decide to delve into the code (for example, to embed music or podcast players) try a free Codecademy HTML course to build your skills.
4. Grow Your Following
Your chosen newsletter provider will have an online sign-up form that you can share with people before and after you send your first email – friends, family and colleagues are a great place to start. The beauty of email is that people can forward it (don’t be afraid to encourage this), so your subscriber numbers will grow naturally.
Some newsletters offer paid-for classifieds where you can advertise your newsletter to like-minded subscribers, and you can also try cross-platform promotion from your social media accounts. Although don’t get too caught up in the numbers – the average TinyLetter email has just 265 subscribers.
5. Understand Your Analytics & Financing Options
Once you have some subscribers and you’ve sent your first email, there are a few ways to find out how many people opened it. Depending on which newsletter platform you’re using, you will find this information on your dashboard or by clicking on one of your sent emails.
The unique open rate is the percentage or number of people who opened your email, and the total or gross open rate includes people who opened it more than once. The click rate is the number of people who clicked on a link in your email. These figures can be good for showing to advertisers or brands interested in partnerships if you do eventually decide to monetise your newsletter – the higher the numbers, the better (high click rates are especially attractive to advertisers).