A variety of residential postal mailboxes in blues, whites, and greens.
A variety of residential postal mailboxes in blues, whites, and greens.
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Why I’m Launching an Email Newsletter (and You Should, Too)

Think of email as a “mature” communication channel, not a passé one.

Edie Meade
Jan 9, 2020 · 6 min read

Yesterday I bit the bullet and created a simple email newsletter subscribe form. No, I don’t know that much about creating a perfect weekly newsletter — yet — although I’ve got compiled some great advice I want to share here.

Why send an email newsletter?

I stumbled across a few articles over the past few months about how email newsletters remain an important way for writers to reach their readers.

It was frankly a channel I’d written off, because it seemed dated.

Email newsletters have been around a long time, I thought. Weren’t podcasts and videos the most accessible way to reach an audience?

But that’s silly. Why? Because I’m a writer, and writers make words that they want people to read. Yes, I could read it off in an audio format — and I may do that next. But my main mode of communication and of making a living is in the written word.

It’s also silly because I subscribe to multiple newsletters. I’m curious, and I like getting regular updates. It’s easier for me to follow people I admire by email than visiting their websites or blogs.

An email is like a writer’s blog coming to me to say “hey.” It’s intimate and engaging.

I spend time in the newsletters I receive, I click on their links, sometimes save their newsletters rather than delete them, and find them really nice to read on my phone as soon as the email notifications come through. Some are long, and some are just barebones. I like them all.

An email is like a writer’s blog coming to me to say “hey.” It’s intimate and engaging.

If that makes me old-fashioned, well, I’m old-fashioned. And so are millions of others.

It helps to think of email as a “mature” marketing and communication channel, not a passé one. What do I mean? Consider some of the facts about emails:

People read their emails.

The vast majority of people who have internet access have emails.

They check their email accounts multiple times a day. Half of people check their personal email account more than 10 times per day, according to a survey by the marketing agency Hubspot. The Data and Marketing Association found fully 99 percent of people checked their personal email every day.

Many check on their phones — which makes email a way of putting a letter right into somebody’s pocket. Hubspot found 46 percent of email opens were on mobile devices.

Phones make emails discreet, intimate, and convenient. Make your emails interesting and nice to look at, and your readers will spend time reading them on their breaks and over lunch or coffee.

People love free stuff.

Free information in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, and newsletters are lead magnets.

If you have good content to offer — and you should be offering it for free — then people will give you their contact information.

And if you don’t spam them to death, they’ll happily (or passively) remain on your mailing list. Even better, they’ll forward your material to other people they think will be interested.

Email simplifies connecting with your audience.

Writers often have a hard time adjusting to the marketing side of publishing their works. It’s not what they anticipate going in.

You have to get your name and work out there if you want to sell books or even simply build a readership. But to get there seems overly circuitous, technology-dependent, cost- and time-intensive, and just an overall pain in the rear-end.

It can feel like there are a hundred steps in the process of getting out there: author websites, setting up your email, blogging, social media out the wazoo.

It shouldn’t be so hard. I would like engagement and regular readers — don’t we all?

So why are there so many steps leading up to a simple, “Hey there reader, let’s connect”?

You control the communication channel.

I read a few pieces on using newsletters to establish a real relationship with readers that’s in your control.

This is important. We make connections all the time, but they tend to be on social media or other platforms over which we have no control. The companies control and manage your network, and you do all your talking through their channels.

You could easily accumulate several thousand Twitter followers, and you may even build some solid engagement out of that. But it’s entirely dependent on Twitter’s algorithms and terms. If we lose our Twitter accounts, we lose our ability to talk to our followers.

After thinking about this possibility, I said to myself, “You know what, I should just do this.” If nothing else, having an email newsletter option gives my readers a way to find me outside of the big social media channels.

And that was that. I went to Mailchimp and quickly set up a template using their free account option, which allows for up to 500 subscribers. (Please do subscribe to my newsletter if you’re interested, by the way, and I’ll do my best to get this thing off the ground!)

Tips for starting an email newsletter.

Here are a few guidelines from other Medium writers that I found insightful.

1. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be substantive. Know what your readers want, and deliver it. Medium writer Olabinjo offers content ideas as simple as a new blog post (or a digest round-up of your recent writing), or exclusive tips and promotions. David O. notes that you should be adding content beyond a link to click back to your website. He writes:

“My newsletter is in a ‘me to you’ form. And I go straight to the point. It has short paragraphs, highlighted text and my name to sign off. I rarely put in links in the email. If I do, it is to buttress a point, if the subscriber wishes to dig further.”

2. Readers expect and need consistency in newsletters. Marc Nathan wrote a helpful article outlining some basic rules, with consistency right there at the top:

“If you’re going to start spending the time doing it, make sure you can deliver it regularly — same time, same day, same subject line, same format. Make it a comforting, regular piece of someone’s day/week/month and they will stick with you.”

3. Show some personality. Veselina Gerova observes a few successful newsletters popular among millennials share an “intimate tone of voice” and “provide added value to the reader by providing personal commentary from the curator.” Your own voice, sense of humor, and more opinionated angle, which might be inappropriate on a formal website, are welcome here.

Getting ready for newsletter launch.

I’m excited to be putting together a draft of my first “edition.” My plan is to start with a weekly email, so we can talk over Sunday morning coffee. (Or whenever it’s most enjoyable for you to open the email.)

I have no idea what to expect, but it’s important now to start an email list, not wait until I urgently need an alternative way to communicate with my best readers.

So why did I step into something I’m not ready for? Because I’ll never be ready if I wait until I’m perfect at something.

Let’s just say that the saying “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” helps me take necessary leaps.

When it comes to something like creating art or writing books, you can’t wait until everything is perfect — because nothing ever is.

Writing isn’t just a project, it’s a process. I hope you’ll join me in it.

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Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

Edie Meade

Written by

A compassionate and opinionated human being. | Fiction author and visual artist in Central Appalachia. | Give my newsletter a try: https://bit.ly/2sZGM6n

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

Edie Meade

Written by

A compassionate and opinionated human being. | Fiction author and visual artist in Central Appalachia. | Give my newsletter a try: https://bit.ly/2sZGM6n

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

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