Most experts agree that using newsletters to grow your platform is the best and most cost-effective way to attract new readers.
Writing Tip for Today: Let’s talk about newsletter basics:
Define the Where
A newsletter is different than a blog in that a newsletter comes directly to a reader’s email inbox. As many marketers observe, if a person gives you the email address, it’s a personal transaction. That person offers an email address in exchange for what he hopes is valuable content. If you’ve ever received unwanted spam, you know how violated you feel with unsolicited emails.
Your followers can ignore a blog post or read only the teaser line. But since an email is more personal, it’s already a given that the content is something the reader wants. This is the top reason that old-fashioned email is considered a better way to expand your followers.
So, where do you turn to produce a newsletter? Many options out there, but the top mass email distributors are Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and a newer option, Substack. Each service comes with different rates, free trials or numbers of followers, which you can read about here.
Define the When and How
When you’ve begun to collect email addresses and decided on a service, you’ll want to think about how often you’ll send out your newsletter. Be careful not to publish too often or followers will be annoyed. If you publish too rarely, they’ll forget you exist.
Many authors opt for once-a-month newsletters. It takes time to design, create content and get it out to your followers. If you aren’t familiar with design, try using a service such as Canva to give your newsletter more eye appeal.
The email services like MailChimp or Constant Contact also offer newsletter templates to help you produce a newsletter that is colorful, easy to read and with a professional-looking layout.
Newsletter Content Ideas
Define the What
When you’re ready to launch a newsletter, you’ll need great content. Keep your newsletter items brief (say, 800 words or fewer), add photos (Unsplash has cheap or free use photos), illustrations or color to draw in readers. Offer a free bit of your writing (sometimes called a content magnet) to entice signups. Do not add people to your newsletter without their permission.
Some ideas for content: blog excerpts, memes, jokes, background info of your fiction, related news and giveaways. You can ask for readers to join your upcoming book’s launch team, include bonus or unpublished chapters. Include any content that readers will feel only they are privy to.
Remember that your newsletter must contain some sort of added value to those who give you their email addresses. Address your audience’s felt need in as many ways as possible. Getting started, you may ask other more established authors to let you mention your newsletter. Just make sure the author’s readers are interested in similar themes. Putting out a newsletter may seem like just one more chore, and it will take time to build your list. If you try one, you may be pleased to see your platform growing sturdier and wider.