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6 Tips to Grow Your Newsletter

If you’ve started a newsletter and are searching for ways to improve it, consider these tips as food for thought

Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

We checked in with Abby Aker, lead designer of Newsletters, on what’s useful to know to grow your newsletter.

1. Check sign-up copy

  • When a reader signs up for your newsletter, it’s a sign of trust and connection. Think about who your ideal audience is. How do they communicate? What type of language do they use? The answers to these questions should inform the newsletter’s name and description and be designed to speak directly to your ideal subscriber.
  • Minimize uncertainty for someone who might be interested, but is still on the fence by setting expectations around topic area, send times, and frequency.
  • Your publication name and the word “newsletter” will automatically appear beside your title and description. Watch out for duplicative terms.

2. Elicit reader feedback

The best way to know for sure that you’re delivering value to your readers through your newsletter is by asking. Here are some ways to go about that:

  • Send out a survey. Surveys are a great way to gain deeper insight into who your audience is, what they care about, and what you can do to improve.
  • Set up a reply email to open the door for spontaneous feedback. You can even prompt readers to give feedback in your newsletter. (Not sure how to do this? Go to your publication settings page, scroll to the “Social and tags” section, and add an email address next to “Contact info.”)
  • Newsletters are an intimate way to communicate with your audience. Consider adding a reader-contributed segment to build a stronger sense community.
The various situation contexts of readers

3. Consider your readers’ modes

Meet readers where they’re at. Be mindful that your newsletter is opened in a variety of situational contexts. Some openers might be in “task mode” instead of seeking things to read. Some may be on the go and have limited time to give. Aim to provide value regardless of how much time a reader might have.

4. Think about links

Newsletters are a great way to trigger intentional reading, but that doesn’t just happen out of midair. Through research at Medium, we’ve found that subscribers can easily feel overwhelmed with a high volume of links. If your newsletter includes a long list of links, highlight what’s important so that readers can easily find what’s most interesting. In long emails, important links can be inserted more than once.

5. Check link language

  • Describe the value by telling them what they’ll learn in the link text.
  • Use action words to let people know the specific action they should take next.
  • Let them know if it’s a short read.
  • Allude to important links in the subject line or preview text.

6. Use bookends to engage and build habit

Begin and end the email with something interesting. This helps capture reader attention and, if done consistently, gives readers a reason to open messages and complete them once they learn the pattern.

It’s important to stress that every newsletter is unique so there are no silver bullets to ensure effectiveness. If you’re listening to your audience and keeping your goals in mind, it’s hard to go wrong.

Have a tip that wasn’t mentioned? Share it in a response.

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Creators Hub is the official resource for writing on Medium. You’ll find advice for succeeding on Medium, spotlights on thinkers across the platform, and inside secrets from fellow creators. We’re here to help you write better, post smarter, and connect with more readers.

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Abby Aker

Abby Aker

Inky pen, big watch, lots of water. Design @Medium.

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