At this year’s SXSW we got to hear from a few leaders within the newsletter market. They gave some quick tips for creating a worthwhile newsletter — and shared some of their favorites with us. 

If you are executing a newsletter every week or month you’re competing for people’s attention and need to provide quality content. 

 

“It’s so important to hold yourself accountable to creating great content that keeps people in the newsletter experience. Aim to make your newsletter the destination, not a content marketing tool.”

-Alex Lieberman, founder and CEO of Morning Brew (daily newsletter with more than a million subscribers)

 

Here are some tips when creating the newsletter component to your overall strategy. 

 

Generate your own ideas

Try to be original. Offer something that the others are not. Find ways to add in your brand personality, unique expressions of who you are that makes the reader perceive yours as different than other newsletters.

Solve a problem or serve a passion

This is hard to do with general service content but easier if serving a specific purpose or niche. Don’t try to cover all your bases…instead narrow in on something that will serve your loyal followers. If you’re solving their problem or serving a unique passion, odds are they will continue to come back and read. You are offering something very specific that the others don’t offer (at least not to your extent).

Make it a 5 min read (or less)

You want people to read through to the end. Many people read newsletters during spare moments in the day. So, the newsletters need to be a quick read. Long newsletters can feel overwhelming and not worth even starting. You can even communicate to the reader that your newsletter is approximately a 3 min read or a 5 min read before they get started. Stating this somewhere near the top can increase the number of readers.

Build a loyal audience that is loyal enough to pay

Finding that audience can take time, but those that enjoy and even share with others, will pay to subscribe to your newsletter. This not only benefits you, but it also gives the impression to the reader that they are in a “closed community” of sorts. They belong to something of value that they are invested in. 

Finding a Niche

So, how do you lock down a niche? Start by looking at the people opening your newsletter or paying for your newsletter and figure out what they do, who they are, and what they are interested in. Continue to cater your content for those people.  Pay attention to what is resonating and getting shared and read. This will take some time and research but you will have a better understanding of your audience and how they behave. With that information it’s much easier to hone in on a niche. 

 

Some of the hot topics that experts predict you will likely see in the near future being covered over a wide range of newsletters are:

  • Healthcare
  • Cannabis
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Real estate
  • HR

 


 

Some Newsletters to Follow: 

*as recommended by those on the panel at SXSW*

Ben Thompson

Matt Levine

Web Smith 2PM

Anne Helen Substack

Hunter Harris Substack

Haley Nahman

The Margins

Emily Atkin

Luke O’Neil