Happy Sunday everyone! If you want to grow your audience or build a successful community, this week's top stories are for you. Dive right in 🤿
💬 In this week's issue:
- Find out how to grow (using Twitter) with these simple but effective tips
- Lessons you can learn from a shuttered paid newsletter
- How to build a successful community with intentional design
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Unconventional newsletter growth hacks
If you use Twitter as a marketing channel for your newsletter, you're going to want to check out these growth tips shared by Alex Llull on Twitter that have helped many successful writers get ahead.
Here's the skinny:
- Newsletter ad breaks — include an ad for your newsletter in the middle of a tweet thread (not at the end).
- Before and after — The day before you hit publish, tweet about your upcoming issue and let people know what they will get if they sign up. The day after publishing, share a recap!
- Lead magnets – If you have ebooks/courses/templates to share, use them as a lead magnet by asking people to DM you for access.
- Social proof — Yes, you can use social proof in your tweets too! Just make sure to present it in a visual way like this:
- Use calls-to-action — In your newsletter itself, don't forget to add "Share this on Twitter" CTAs with a link, to encourage your audience to spread the word on your behalf.
- Work with other creators — Cross-promote other newsletters and creators, and if you find yourself linking to other people's work, don't forget to add UTM parameters so they know you are sending them traffic 🤘
Interesting stories & ideas 📚
- Inside information about Google's long-awaited plan to Kill the Cookie 🍪
- Ambitious people need each other — here's why!
- Keeping your email list clean is important, but have you considered winning back some of your inactive subscribers?
- How publishers can reduce churn and increase subscriptions in a time where consumers are facing a cost-of-living crunch.
- Proof that AI-generated content can perform in SEO: How The Verge gamed Google with a review created with ChatGPT
Lessons learned after 60 newsletter issues
In October 2021 Ayush Chaturvedi launched Listen Up Indie Hackers, a paid newsletter featuring deeply researched insights from indie businesses. After 13 months, the newsletter delivered 60 issues and gained 2,000 free subscribers, but Ayush was struggling to generate enough sustainable MRR to keep the newsletter going.
Ayush was kind enough to share the hard lessons learned with the IndieHackers community, and in the spirit of sharing indie publishing stories from all sides, here's some of the key takeaways from Ayush:
📣 If you don't ask, no one will buy
Don't expect your readers to find your paid offering without presenting it to them (aka, doing some marketing).
I was so naive. I used to write free articles and then put more research behind a paywall. And then I would send out the free ones to all subscribers. Expected readers to find the paid articles themselves and upgrade. Never happened 🙈 — Ayush Chaturvedi
Don't rely on free subscribers to find your paid content and automatically subscribe. You need to make your ask frequently and make it clear why they should consider upgrading to a paid subscription. (Here's some tips about how to do that).
📣📣 Be your own best promoter
It might feel uncomfortable, but you need to get used to promoting your work, including the paid offering, in multiple places. In other words, you need to scroll up and use some of the Twitter growth tips in the first story of this newsletter!
Word of mouth is an important driver of success too, but how can you expect your audience to promote your work if you're not your own best promoter first and foremost? Being brave enough to put your work out there allows you to set the tone for what comes next.
🍪 Cookie-cutter content doesn't cut it
Quality content is key, and so is delivering the right kind of content that serves your audience's needs. Ultimately, your audience cares most about how you add value.
The Listen Up IH audience got a lot of value from mastermind programs, ebooks, and guides, which Ayush now offers alongside a free newsletter.
Each audience is different, but the takeaway here is that it's important to understand what people are looking for and meet them where they are. (We know, this feels a little like dating.) Newsletters are an excellent delivery mechanism for content, but that doesn't mean you have to put all of your eggs in the newsletter basket.
The secret to building a strong community
Building a community has numerous benefits for independent publishers who need to cultivate a loyal and engaged audience.
By creating a community around your content and brand, you can foster a sense of belonging and shared identity among your readership, and provide opportunities for feedback. It can be a powerful way to grow your readership, but more importantly, to deepen your relationship with your audience to create a more sustainable business model.
Sounds great, right?
However, as community expert Milly Tamati shared on Twitter, the majority of communities will fail to meet these expectations.
Prediction: 9/10 communities will fail. Why? Because there's no intentional community design baked into the vision. – Milly Tamati
Here's Milly's approach to fix this (in a very appealing visual format):
How we interpreted this information as community builders ourselves:
- Before getting too distracted by choosing your community tech stack, make sure you have figured out your WHY, and your HOW. These questions are at the core of an intentional community, and only you can lead with them once you have them figured out.
- Develop a strong understanding of the undertone of your community and the code of conduct that will uphold this undertone.
- Set some realistic outcomes that you'd like to measure, and use these outcomes to come up with your support plan and rituals.
- Then figure out your tech stack/automations. Technology can help bring all of the above to life, but it shouldn't get in the way of doing so!
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