You’ve heard that you should grow your email list. But what should you be sending in your newsletter?
The truth is there’s no right answer. People handle their email list and newsletter in so many different ways.
It’s awesome! But… it can be overwhelming, too.
To help you discover the best content to send in your newsletter, here are my favorite ideas!
What Should You be Sending in Your Newsletter?
Each of these ideas are going to have varying levels of involvement. Some will be super easy to set up, others will take a little bit more time.
Try to keep in mind the amount of time you have to devote to your email list. It’s not worth sacrificing your mental health if you just don’t have the time to spend on a more in-depth idea!
However, also keep in mind the amount of engagement you want with your email list. Some of the more time-consuming ideas will position you better with your email list (and are less likely to be unsubscribed from). Are there other, less-important tasks you could replace with creating awesome content for your email list?
Keep those questions in mind as you read through these ideas!
An RSS Feed
Estimated amount of time: 30 minutes, once
An RSS Feed is an automated email that goes out with your most recent blog post(s). You can either do this through WordPress Jetpack or through an email service provider like Mailchimp.
If you go through WordPress Jetpack, your subscribers will get an email with your blog post right in their email. To turn this on, make sure the Jetpack plugin is activated and go to Jetpack > Settings > Engagement and turn on Subscriptions.
They automatically receive the entire blog post, but if you go to Settings > Reading and find “For each article in a feed, show…”, you can select Summary rather than Full Text. Or, if you’re already using WordPress’s More Tag, anything below the More Tag won’t show up in the email, even if you’re using Full Text. Either way, a link will invite the subscriber to head to your blog to finish reading.
To find your subscribers, simply go to Jetpack > Settings and click on Engagement. Scroll down to subscriptions, maximize that section, and click on View Your Email followers.
There isn’t currently a way to export your Jetpack subscribers, so to migrate them to an email service provider (like Mailchimp or ConvertKit) later, you’d have to type them all in manually.
Conversely, if you wanted to start with Mailchimp, you could also send out an RSS feed automatically!
To do this, simply set up your Mailchimp account and under Campaigns, click Create Campaign > RSS Campaign. Paste your RSS Feed URL (typically your blog’s URL with /feed at the end), tell it how often to send out, choose your recipients, and design your email.
Once you’ve got it all set up, it’s going to send out automatically for you! Easy, right?
So, why wouldn’t you want to do an RSS feed newsletter? Two main reasons.
First of all, RSS feeds aren’t that engaging. They don’t tell your subscribers any additional content and don’t encourage them to reply with the answer to a question.
And secondly, they are repetitive if your subscribers are already following your blog on an RSS feed like Bloglovin or Feedly.
That being said, they’re an awesome tool to get your name out there and grow your email list.
An Excerpt of Your Blog Post
Estimated amount of time: 15 minutes each time
If you want to be a little bit more personal in your newsletters, you could send out an excerpt of your blog post with a personal introduction.
You could include a backstory, some reasoning why you wanted to share, etc. Then, include the first few sentences or paragraphs with a link to continue reading.
It’s super easy to put together, as you’ve already written most of the content!
The disadvantage, again, would be that it’s repetitive if they’re already following your blog with an RSS Feed.
Also, keep in mind how often you’re sharing a blog post. If you’re posting five days a week, you likely won’t want to do this option. Sending out an email five days a week would probably lead to a lot of unsubscribes.
However, you could do a combination of this and the RSS Feed if you post more than once per week. Include an introduction and then link to each of your recent blog posts. Easy!
Estimated amount of time: 30 minutes to 2 hours each time, depending on your organization
Another time-saving option would be to curate content for your subscribers. Find awesome content in your niche and link to it in your newsletter!
Depending on how organized you are, this could take you no time at all… or a lot of time.
Chances are you’re already reading blogs that are in your same niche. While you’re reading through them, save ones you think your audience would love!
As long as you’re saving the posts you’re planning on linking to, it shouldn’t take you long at all to put together an email with your favorites!
If you’re not saving them, though, it’s going to take you a while to find posts to share and then put the email together. Not ideal.
So, why wouldn’t you want to do this? Because you’re not sharing a ton of your own content; you’re directing them away from your blog. This could be taken one of two ways: 1) you’re a great resource for awesome information, or 2) you’re just a fan like everyone else and aren’t an expert in your own right.
I like to be optimistic and lean toward #1, but it’s important to note that people might go with #2 if you’re not sharing your own content as well.
An Exclusive Blog Post
Estimated amount of time: 1.5-2 hours each time
Finally, you’ve got the monster of a project: an exclusive blog post for your email list.
This is the option I go with. I create brand new content each week that just goes out to my email list.
While this may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to write out a giant blog post each week; change up your format a little bit.
When I’m creating content for my newsletter, I want to share tips that a) share a background about me and my blog, and b) have actionable tips for my readers. I also try to make them a lot shorter than my regular blog posts so people actually have time to read them.
The obvious downside is the time investment. It’s going to take you longer than any of the other options I’ve listed here.
But, consider this: you can send an email out to your list to test out a subject, then repurpose it as a blog post a few weeks down the road! Change it up a little bit, make it longer, etc. and you’ve done a lot of your work in advance.
These exclusive blog posts give you the opportunity to be really personal with your email list. You’re able to engage by sharing a personal story and / or asking them to reply to the email with the answer to a specific question.
Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great option if you’re willing to put the time into it!
The beauty of blogging is that everyone does things differently. Some options work great for one person, while other options work better for someone else!
Ready to send out your first newsletter? Let me know in the comments which option you chose!