I just crossed the 500 subscriber mark for BrainPint, my weekly newsletter for the curious that I’ve been writing for the past 23 weeks.
For the past month, I’ve been growing at ~50 subscribers per week, while the past week I peaked at 80 new subscribers a week!
I’d like to share 5 lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Growth Comes Slow, Then Fast
For 13 weeks I wrote to 25 people (mostly my friends) because I had huge impostor syndrome and didn’t dare to share my work publicly. It was a slow grind.
I had been inspired by @anthilemoon’s article Writing 100 articles in 100 days so I knew that consistency was going to be the most important. Focus on curating or writing high-quality content consistently and the growth will come.
People have been asking me how I’ve grown.
Some quick tips to get to 500:
Don’t be afraid to promote yourself if you feel like what you’re writing will help other people!
Landing Pages Are Important
Many newsletter writers don’t have a landing page for their newsletter and directly point potential subscribers to their Substack/Revue sign up pages.
While that alone isn’t too bad, why not try using a Landing Page?
You can use it to:
Say you want to move off Substack/Revue or switch ESPs, you’d have to resubmit all the links you’ve left floating around the Internet again. Sounds like a nightmare? It is. Avoid that by building a stand-alone landing page!
Don’t Be Afraid To Change
I started writing my newsletter on Revue, which is excellent for a curation-style newsletter.
But after a few weeks I felt that it was cramping my style, as I wanted to write longer-form comments and share some images. So I started the hunt for my next Email Service Provider and landed on MailerLite.
Took me a while to read up and make the changes, but now I have full control over my format, my links and it gives me more creative capital.
Benefits of moving off platform and onto custom ESP:
I was a little worried that my Open Rate & Click Through Rates would fall through and my email would end up in spam. But my friend @nicwondering taught me about DKIM/SPF/DMARC and a bunch of other technical things to keep my emails safe!
I clicked send eventually and almost all my readers loved the change. Don't be afraid to switch tactics along the way if what you started with doesn't work for you.
Follow Your Curiosity & Lift Others Up
One of the coolest things about writing a curated newsletter is being able to surface the awesome work of other creators, writers and makers.
I read a lot (150+ articles, 50+ newsletters a week) so I have no lack of content. I typically skim stuff when I read and bookmark the best content to feature weekly.
It’s the best feeling to shine a light on the work of other indie makers and writers, then be thanked by your readers & the people you feature.
By lifting others up, you gain new friends. I’m thankful to have my newsletter as my serendipity vehicle that has brought me new friendships, conversations and opportunities.
Don’t build your newsletter alone. Seek out other people who are building newsletters and collaborate and share tips to grow. It’s not a zero-sum game in the newsletter world.
I’m a member of two newsletter groups, Newsletter Geeks and Newsletter Crew, and like commenting on the Newsletter Crew group here on Indie Hackers. I also have a close circle of friends that I talk to on a daily basis. We share no-holds-barred feedback & useful resources and I’m really thankful for them.
Hope this was useful to you.
This post was less about growth in #, but more about the process as I sometimes feel like we obsess over metrics. At an early stage, learning, relationships and thoughtful reflections are more important.
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