Why Do Most Writers Not Have Newsletters?

I spend plenty of time looking at other writers’ websites — call it competitive intelligence. I want to know what everyone else is doing, what’s working for them and where there might be room for improvement. I’ve noticed one thing that is missing from most writers’ websites: newsletters. I think that the absence of a newsletter is a shame, considering how useful they can be to writers.

7 Ways a Newsletter Helps Writers

  1. You can bring readers back to your blog regularly. Whether or not you’re comfortable with RSS and other methods of keeping up with blogs you read, the greatest portion of blog readers are most comfortable with email subscriptions. Offering a newsletter that includes links to your blog lets you keep your readers coming back.
  2. You can earn money through advertisers. If you build up the number of newsletter subscribers you have, you can include ads, just as you might include ads on your blog.
  3. You can create awareness with potential clients. If you work with a specific type of client, you can create a newsletter that targets those types of individuals and companies. If they read your newsletter, they’ll be aware of you before they start looking for a writer to hire.
  4. You can land clients who need newsletters. If a client needs a newsletter written on a regular basis, your own newsletter can be the easiest way to showcase your talents in the newsletter arena. 
  5. You can make it easy for readers to buy your next book. If you’re relying on books (as well as other written products) to earn you money, it’s a lot easier to sell your brand new book to the reader who bought your last one and enjoyed it. A newsletter makes it easy to stay in touch with your fans.
  6. You can establish yourself as an expert on those topics that you write about regularly. 
  7. You can polish your writing in a new format, if you’re not used to writing newsletters. Picking up new styles and formats can help you experiment with your writing and grow as a writer. 

The Cost of a Newsletter

Considering the benefits of a good newsletter, the cost is relatively low. I use AWeber (D) for both my own newsletters and those I run for my clients. It starts at $19 for up to 500 subscribers. Assume that you can make one sale or land one new client from your newsletter every month — is that worth $19 to you?

You’ll note that I’m not including the cost of having a newsletter written. If you’re a writer, no matter what kind, I firmly encourage you to write your own newsletter. The best newsletters sound like their writers. A newsletter can sound exactly like a note you’re writing to one of your buddies — and perhaps should. That’s because part of the purpose of a newsletter is building up a lasting relationship between you and your newsletter readers. Check out the newsletters from IttyBiz and Johnny B. Truant for great examples.

Resources

Image by Flickr user Steve Johnson

7 Comments

  1. Sharon Hurley Hall   •  

    Good points, Thursday. I have a couple of newsletter readers who give me feedback on the contents, and that’s great too!

    I’ve been thinking about switching to Aweber for ages now to take my newsletter to the next level. You make a good case for the cost being worth it.

  2. I literally decided to start a newsletter this past weekend. The reasoning was that I was starting to get lots of questions about the “how” of my freelance life through my inbox. The blog is more about freelance life, inspiration and my general thoughts. So I created a newsletter. Since it’s costing me nothing to make, I’ve got nothing to lose.

  3. Susan Johnston   •  

    I agree, Thursday! Newsletters can be a powerful tool for freelance writers. I use MailChimp.com myself, and I highly recommend it. It has a fun, user-friendly interface and I believe it’s free for under 500 subscribers. They also have a number of userful tutorials on newsletter-writing, too.

  4. Pingback: This Week in Freelance | Diary of A Mad Freelancer

  5. Financial Samurai   •  

    I should build a newsletter. I guess I’m just too lazy, and assume that readers will just read from RSS or come to my site. Another angle to push is a good idea, especially if I am to ever sell a product.

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