Newsletter advice

This post first appeared as an email to fellow newsletter nerds. Comment your email below if you'd like to join these monthly advice emails. 

May 23, 2024

I stole these ideas and so should you!

If you'd prefer not to get these monthly emails anymore, reply to this email with the word "unsubscribe." 
- - - 


It's Alex the Newsletter Helper (new title I just gave myself) with newsletter advice for May. 

If this is your first one, here are the past two editions:
What you'll find in this email:
  • How a recent clarity call went
  • Ideas you can steal to improve your newsletter
  • I'd like your advice
[More below:]

What the heck is a clarity call

This week I had a newsletter clarity call with Grant, an artist who wants to get off of Instagram. 

We chatted about the point of his newsletter, who he wants to talk to, and the four things he needs to do to launch. 

I also recommended he read Show Your Work (the best $9 a creative person can spend IMHO). 

Here's what he had to say about our 30-minute conversation:
  • "I am so glad that I reached out to Alex to set up a clarity call. I was feeling a little overwhelmed, but her insights and resources have me feeling excited to get started."
Here are some ideas you can steal to make your newsletter better: 
  • 25 rules for running a great newsletter. A bit bro-y for my taste, but there are a few gems in here.
  • The most common thing I tell people at Step Zero: figure out who you're talking to.
  • Here's an example of a podcaster who's doing newsletters right: she uses her Substack to promote her podcast and connect with her listeners in their inbox.
  • How to use your newsletter to sell your product.
  • A fellow newsletter nerd gets serious about getting to know her audience: she's interviewing 100 of her readers over the phone! I kind of want to copy her.
  • Create the box first — then you can think outside of it.
  • Screw finding a niche. Feeling seen as someone who doesn't really have a niche! (Like I said at Alt Summit, I'd keep sending my newsletter every Wednesday even if I only had six subscribers. My subs aren't the measure of my success.)
  • Usually I don't talk about money and numbers of subs, but I thought this was relevant to many of the Alt Summit attendees: this coach reports making $10-15k per month with a relatively small audience (3400 readers). Say it with me now, "I don't need thousands of subscribers, I just want the RIGHT subscribers."
Three ideas you can steal from me:
  1. Read every single word of your newsletter OUT LOUD before you send it. 
  2. Don’t apologize if it’s been a while since your last newsletter or post, no one needs an apology because frankly no one cares. Instead of “sorry it’s been so long since I sent a newsletter, life has been so crazy,” say, “hi! I’ve been traveling to the moon/ having a baby/ moving across town since my last newsletter [link that newsletter]” and get on with it.
  3. "DTMWYGTTMJTM!" My seventh grade English teacher would write this at the top of kids' papers when we spent too much time explaining something. It stands for, "Don't tell me what you're going to tell me, just tell me!" It's okay to break this rule sometimes — I did in this email. But when I'm recording an audio snippet and I start to ramble in the intro, DTMWYGTTMJTM flashes before my eyes. Thanks, Mrs. Dewees!
Last thing.

If you'd like to chat, I'm available for 30- and 45-minute sessions while my baby naps :-) 

**June 15 is the last day for a newsletter clarity call until school starts again. If you need clarity on next steps for your newsletter, reply to this email or text me 949-300-9006.

Are these emails any good? How can I help you on your newsletter journey?