You know you are reading a good newsletter when you open it with delight. I’ll share a list of differentiators based on my favorite newsletters and curators.
Choose a topic that is in your field of knowledge, they always say, write what you know. If you are passionate about anything, that should be the guiding factor for your writing. Once you've chosen a specific topic, that's when you'll be able to narrow it down - the more you narrow your topic down the better you'll be able to find your niche.
Finding your niche goes hand-in-hand with finding the topic you want to cover. Now that I found my topic, I go on Twitter, Reddit, Quora, and do a quick google search of questions people have asked about the distribution process of newsletters. I know that people are talking about newsletters and there are definitely a need for these questions answered.
Make sure your issues are answering questions that people are in need of answers. If you don't know what topics or spaces you should follow, a really great place to start is to ask a question you want to answer, click on that question, and look at the tags and the spaces it's located in.
Newsletters are still fresh and the best part about newsletters is that anyone could do it. You are spewing your own words onto your screen without a middle man. It's your online journal full of knowledge and thoughts.
Now you found your topic, niche and inspiration. It's time to find a platform. There are so many excellent tools for you to use when it comes to creation. As mentioned above, Revue and Substack would be my first choices but here's another list of the other tools you could use.
The list goes on and on but for newsletters, but my recommendation would be to stick with Substack or Revue.
Formatting is harder, it's trial and error and just as your newsletter will ultimately adapt over the issues, so will your formatting. I would definitely try to include articles and pictures or anything that is supporting your point. It's important to break up the block of text with some visual aid.
Here are some examples from my favorite newsletters that are formatted to perfection:
It's time for you to build out your site. If you are on either Substack or Revue, they make this super simple for you. Add your name, one-line description, tags, and publication logo (these are a must.) The about page you could come back to if it's too much writing for the day. The only thing that I would say you should come back to when it's time is the "Thank you for Subscribing" email - you want people to feel like when they subscribe they are appreciated and not going on noticed.
Here are some examples:
Getting creative with your subject line is super important, this will either be the deciding factor whether your reader will click on your email or not. Also it's important to be transparent with your subject line, let it be a window to what you are writing about. What I hate the most is when I click on something that looks interesting and then I open it and it's completely different. Don't lose credibility, it's really easy to lose and extremely hard to gain.
Yes, I mean this one speaks for itself, it's super important to ensure that people are going to be able to unsubscribe. Plus, Gmail ranks your opens (if people don't open your email, your emails will go to spam) so it's honestly better for you to kick them off, sorry subscriber.
SEND YOURSELF A TEST EMAIL. Test your email and delegate one person that is close to you to review, edit, and give you the final stamp of approval. Even if you read things over and over again, it's still your voice, it may be hard to catch something that doesn't make sense. Then, when you've got your best friend, mom, or partner to do this, you have all of our permission to click send. Also, even if you have a typo, the email is marked with your name so humans being humans will forgive you. Don't worry about this, plus there will always be that person that emails you saying it's "their" instead of "there" - thank them, they went out of their way to do this (all jokes aside.)
Your newsletter issue is a product, and it’s important to spend time on letting people know how much time people spent on it. Think about it like this: I am hosting a bake sale and I pour all my energy coming up with the menu, buying the ingredients, baking the cookies, checking the oven. If I don’t tell anyone about my bake sale, no one will know to show up - it’s not others' faults, it’s mine, I didn’t advertise it.
This would be my biggest advice: find your readers.
People are trying to find you but help yourself be found.