Why I turned my free newsletter into an advice column

It's the 2nd month since my newsletter Community Weekly is operating as advice column.

What? Advice column? How vintage you might say, a callback to the days of Sex and the city when Carry was writing an advice column for a physical magazine.

However, I had a couple of reasons to do so.

1. Evolving a niche

I'm writing about community management, and creators. And as a writer in the niche, I can safely say that you can write only so much about those topics.

Everyone has more or less the same stories, and strategies about community management are pretty dry to cover. So after I finished my Zero To Community series, I decided to cut down on that kind of content.

But what will happen to those 1200+ people who followed my newsletter for community content? How can the newsletter serve them and also evolve with time.

I came up with this idea, because I did not want to think about a theme for my newsletter 1 day before the issue was out. And because I covered already some of the bases in the series I did, I wanted to be more practical.

2. New verticals

As I mentioned I wanted to evolve my newsletter, but also serve the existing followers.

So how can I do that without having the pressure of writing about community exclusively?

Now only the subscribers have the ability to send me questions that I will answer specifically in the newsletter, or sometimes in the form of separate blog post.

How it helps:

  • I know the theme for the newsletter way before I write about it
  • I know what my subscribers are working or struggling with
  • The newsletter can be much more to the point
  • I have time thinking about how to evolve the newsletter past community content.

3. More personal touch

One of my regrets of starting the Community Weekly was that I unintentionally created a brand, rather then built a blog around my expertise.

Which can be good and bad, for me specifically I did not like the sound of "Community Weekly" as a brand, and wanted to get more personal as creator with the subscribers.

So with this advice column I'm using it as opportunity to redefine the Community Weekly to "Anna's Column", which is working perfectly at this point.

What's happening now?

I got 4 questions as of now, and hope to also create a community for subscribers where can the ask their specific questions and talk to each other.
My goal is not to become the community management HQ on the internet, but to serve as a point of connection for creators, founders and community managers.

That's why the other verticals on the publication are covering creator economy startups or audio market for creators.

I think more newsletters should operate in the format of advice column. For reasons such as sourcing ideas for content right from the subscribers, and less time ideating on the next topics or series.

What will make you change the format of your newsletter?

  1. 1

    Hey Anna, good pivot.

    Makes so much sense.

    I just have one concern, do you run the risk of repeating the same set of questions and answers after a few weeks.

    I imagine that people can only have so many questions around a particular topic, just as the stories can repeat themselves, the questions can repeat themselves as well.

    Just my 2c.

    1. 2

      Good question 🤔 I think its a great idea, but now you've said that I'm thinking that's a point well raised.

      1. 1

        To my surprise the questions I got were all over the place, not just about communities.

        Of course it's just not enough data yet, but it was everything starting from crypto to investments for creators.

        can there be repetition? maybe and in that case I'll just point to the issue where the subscriber can get an answer.

        1. 1

          Makes sense. Thanks for sharing

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