The Economics of Running a Curated Newsletter

or How I lost $137 running a curated Newsletter for a year.

1 year ago I started publishing Influence Weekly: A curated newsletter for Influencer Marketing. Each week I include interesting articles, interviews, and news from around the influencer marketing industry.

I started with about 50 subscribers and a year later, 2,520 chose to subscribe.

Built it for… Myself

Initially, I started it because I wanted something like this and hoped others wanted it too. After working in the industry for 3 years doing analytics and pricing, I originally wanted to increase my broader knowledge of the industry.

In addition, I built a database of agencies that was slowly coming together into a new website. During this research process, I found I was reading more and more. Figured I would give myself an excuse to put together the best reads of the week.

The spoiler is that over the course of this year, I’ve profited negative $137, so it’s a loss, but not a failure.

It’s been a great experience and even if it’s not monetarily a success, I have gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge from doing it. Which is exactly why I started it. And there are a couple of potential larger sponsorships on the horizon.

The growth tactics I’ve used in the past year:

  1. Direct Connections on LinkedIn: Getting around 30–40 new subscribers per week.
  2. Content Marketing — Influence 100: the 100 most influential people in Influencer Marketing. Drew in between 300 and 400 subscribers the month it launched.
  3. Content Marketing on LinkedIn: Posting a review of the newsletter when I have time.
  4. Syndication — Parts of the newsletter are syndicated in another newsletter. Not sure how much this is helping driving subs.
  5. Word of Mouth: A few agency CEO’s have made it required subscribing to their new hires. I’ve gotten emails almost once a week about people being recommended to subscribe by a colleague, friend, business acquaintance.

You’re reading this because you want to know the raw numbers. Here we go:

Yearly Costs

Domain — name.com — $12.99 per year
Landing Page Builder and Host — Carrd.co — $24 per year(Black Friday coupon code)
Linked In Premium — $575.88 per Year

Monthly Costs

Email Provider — Mailchimp — Currently $40.00 per month
Mailchimp’s First Year total cost: $250

One Time Costs

Feedly — $45 (Cancelled because I don’t use it at all)
AppSumo deal for MeetLeonard — $49
Illustrator for Influnce100 — $120
Writer for Influence100 — $200

Revenue

For the first year, all revenue came from sponsorships. I charged $50 and quickly raised it to $99 early on. Recently when I got over 200 subscribers I increased the cost to $200.

Sold 14 weeks of sponsorship to 9 companies.

Total Cost

$1,276.87

Total Revenue

$1,139.83

Total Loss

$137.04

What’s Next?

More Revenue

  • More outreach for sponsors
  • More outreach for larger sponsorships across multiple platforms (website and newsletter)

More Subscribers

  • Continued LinkedIn Connections
  • More Content Marketing — I have two pending pages that should draw more attention.
  • Will do more Video on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to Influence Weekly, if you’re interested in influencer marketing at all, in any way. If you run a business, e-comm store, an agency, or have a social media account. You’d get something out of Influence Weekly.

You can do it too, Here’s what it took to start this:

  • A simple landing page (added testimonials after I got them)
  • MailChimp
  • Outreach (email and linkedin)

Thanks to Kevin, Brian and Amelia, for reading early drafts.