Email list, email list, email list. That’s all you’ve probably heard about lately, amirite?
We’ve heard that email lists are critical for bloggers, no matter what your niche. And it’s 100% true. But when I started growing my email list, I had no idea what to send out. So, I started with an RSS feed. Every Monday, my subscribers were getting an email from me with my most recent blog posts. Which was convenient for roughly three of my subscribers: my mom, my dad, and my godfather.
Everyone else, though? Snore.
That wasn’t why they signed up for my email list. They signed up because they wanted to learn more about me and get even more exclusive content. So it was time to give it to them.
How to take your email list to the next level
For a while, I struggled with what to send out. I knew I wanted to send out exclusive content to my subscribers, but what? I’m already writing a ton of blog posts every week, how was I supposed to add a newsletter in there, too?
Change your mindset
Turns out I was thinking about it all wrong. I had hundreds of ideas. They were in my phone, in notebooks, in my head. But I didn’t consider them newsletter ideas. They were blog post ideas.
So, I changed my mindset.
I no longer consider my newsletter to be exclusive content for my email list. Rather, it’s an exclusive blog post each week just for my subscribers. Yup. It’s another blog post, but it doesn’t appear on my website.
You may be thinking, “but why would I give out content and not publish it to my website? Don’t I want that information available for everyone?” Well, not exactly. Sending out some of your blog post ideas exclusively to your email list subscribers has quite a few benefits.
- Working through blog post ideas. Sometimes, I’ve got an awesome idea for a blog post, but I have a hard time fleshing them out. So, I change it up just a tiny bit and send it out to my email list. This helps me work out the details and see if there’s enough content for a blog post. I typically don’t just repost the email, though. I’ll combine multiple emails into one, and add some more content to make a long-form blog post.
- Sending out smaller topics and quick tips. Since the beginning of 2016, I’ve decided to only publish blog posts that are 1,000 words or more. Not only is this good for SEO, but it also helps me ensure that I’m sending out good-quality content to my audience. If I can’t make it to 1,000 words, it’s probably not helpful enough to share. But what about those ideas that are still helpful, but can’t be stretched to 1,000 words? Those get send to my email list. They’re still helpful, but not necessarily as helpful as a blog post can be.
- Discussing timely topics. Recently, in addition to keeping my blog posts long, I try to keep them evergreen. They’re the types of topics that will be relevant for a while (or, a while in technology terms). But what about personal stories that are more timely? Like problems I’m having at work that could have a relevant lesson to my audience? Because my newsletter only goes out once, I can send out more timely topics to my email list.
- Removing one blog post from the schedule. So, this is all fine and good, but who has the time to write more content? For a while, I didn’t. So, I removed a blog post from my editorial calendar. The time I was using to write that blog post was instead used to send out quality content to my email list. Sure, my archives weren’t as bulky, but in the end I was doing my blog a favor.
Don’t worry about your subscriber count
So, we’re feeling good about the content we’re giving to our target market. Right?
But… what about my family members who are subscribed? My mom, my dad, and my godfather? They’re not going to want to read random information about blogging. None of them have a blog or do graphic design.
Well, guess what. My family members aren’t in my target audience. They’re not necessarily the ones I want to be reaching. Plus, they’re going to support me no matter what, so I shouldn’t spend a ton of time panicking because I’m worried about what they will think about my newsletter.
And after you’ve started upgrading your newsletter, you will probably see some people unsubscribe. But guess what? That’s totally okay.
I don’t have a million subscribers on my newsletter, and that doesn’t bother me. Why? Because I know the people who are subscribed actually read my content. They’re the people I want subscribed to my newsletter.
So don’t obsess over your subscriber count. Make sure that you’ve actually got people reading your newsletters first. Get your open rate and click rate up, then focus on expanding your reach.
Make it actionable
Typically, if a subscriber is going to read your email, they’ll forget about it as soon as they close it. So, you’ve got to grab their attention for the small amount of time they’re spending with your email.
One of my favorite ways to do this is by making it actionable. At the end of each email, I have a bonus section that tells the reader how to apply the topic to their blog or business.
So, if I’m talking about how I first learned how to code, I give them a short assignment to get them started. I include links to resources so they can explore more if they so desire.
So, say you’ve got a food blog and you’re talking about meal planning. Tell them to take the next 5 minutes to plan out their meals for the next two days. It’s a great way to not only help your subscribers remember you, but also prove that you know what you’re talking about and can help them.
Now that I’ve taken my email list to the next level, I feel so much better about it. It’s important to me that I’m sending out quality content to my subscribers so they feel appreciated. Because I truly do appreciate them.
Want to be one of those lovely subscribers? I’d love to have you! I send out exclusive content every Monday morning with actionable steps to take your blog or business to the next level.