Week two of my look at author content will be focus on the newsletter. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read through my post about the five major types of platform content authors needs to create,and then catch up on the post about how to write a great author blog.
Now, let’s dive into newsletters.
Newsletters are a bit easier to maintain than blogs, and that’s a big positive. A blog is a weekly commitment, and a newsletter is something you’ll probably write once a month, or maybe twice a month if you’re really feeling ambitious (and have a lot of news).
But how do you put together a newsletter that matters?
From building the listing to delivering the content, here are some tips to help.
Use a Lead-Gen Piece to Gain Subscribers
You’ll have a few really committed followers who will subscribe to your newsletter just because they’re big fans of your work and want to keep up with you. Those are incredible people to have in your corner.
But more often than not, the easiest way to get subscribers is by offering a lead generation, or “lead gen,” piece. In other words, come up with something of value to give your subscribers to incentivize them to subscribe for your updates, then set up your newsletter management system to automatically send new subscribers an email with the deliverable.
For me, I did this in a couple of ways. I have a podcasting page that sends out a how-to podcast guide, and I have Leaderphors as an ebook that can be downloaded for free. Once people subscribe, they’re sent an email that takes them to the landing page where they can download the ebook of their choice.
Figure out what makes sense with your target audience and spend a bit of time into creating a lead-gen piece to rack up the subscribers!
Be Consistent with Delivery
I mentioned this in my blog too: consistency is key. With a newsletter, however, it’s key in a different way than it is with a blog. You’re not trying to boost SEO rank with a monthly newsletter. You’re trying to engage fans.
That’s why you should send out a newsletter about once a month. At first, I sent them every other week, but that felt like a bit much. If you’re somebody who creates a lot of content and wants to send out a summary of your best hits pretty regularly, twice a month might make more sense for you. For me, I do just enough “newsworthy” things that a monthly newsletter is comfortable.
And even if you don’t feel like you have many updates worth sharing, a very short newsletter just to engage your readers and let them know you’re still working on the next big project is better than nothing.
Make the job easy on yourself
There are a lot of different providers for a newsletter service, but my recommendation is Mailchimp. Mailchimp allows you to design amazing custom emails, build audiences, and send out welcome emails to new subscribers. The tracking options are amazing and it’s easy to see how many people are opening your newsletter, who they are, what they’re clicking, and more.
On top of that, it’s FREE for up to 1,000 subscribers. Once you get over that mark, it’s worth paying the monthly fee.
After signing up for Mailchimp, you can create a form to add to your Wix website that allows users to sign-up simply and easily. Combine that with a lead-gen piece and you’ll be building a big list in no time.
Don’t forget that this is your most valuable audience!
Finally, this one is short and sweet: don’t overlook the value of this audience. You have this many people who are interested enough in your work to sign up for updates that you can send straight to their inbox. That’s BIG TIME.
A social media ad for your new book might get a 2% click rate. A newsletter might get 50% or more. There’s no comparison, so do everything you can to grow the list of your closest followers and biggest fans.
You’re up next!
Ready to start building up your own list of followers? Now’s the time. Be sure to subscribe to my mail list for more helpful tips (see what I did there?), and reach out on Twitter at @realjessehaynes with any questions. As always, I’m here to help.
Good luck and happy writing!