I’ve received and responded to dozens of great questions the past few weeks, but most of them have a common theme, like this one from Kevin:
”This month’s theme about newsletters is a daily kick in the groin. I’ve wanted to start a newsletter for a really long time. Trouble is, I don’t know what it would be or what it should be like. I don’t know if it’s too late to try. And I don’t know how to get started.”
The answer to all of these unknowns is to start with anything. It’s impossible to learn or iterate from nothing.
What does that mean practically?
- Sign up for a Substack or Buttondown account (two of the simplest newsletter services).
- Post your opt-in everywhere. You don’t even need a topic in the beginning, just a name.
- Schedule an hour or two per week to write in a place conducive to writing.
- Write whatever is on your mind. The easiest newsletters to start are personal columns/essays. Just spill your guts and link to cool stuff. No judgements are allowed for the first several issues. Don’t worry. Nobody is going to care for a while.
- Iterate. After a few attempts, you’ll notice what’s working for you and your reader. Maybe you’ll change formats, topics, or frequency. But you’ve started. And starting is where these answers show up. They don’t show up in planning.
Remember, newsletters are all about establishing relationships (with readers or customers), then strengthening them. You can’t establish relationships if you’re not out there. You can’t know how to strengthen them if you’re not out there. So, whatever it takes, get out there now.
Check out the rest of this month’s posts on creating email newsletters.