How to start a newsletter

Social media algorithms are bad, high quality newsletters are good. Read on to find out how to set up your own newsletter.

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This article is a modified excerpt from my new e-book Passive income for creatives. This new e-book talks about selling digital products and opening an online store with Shopify, how to build your own website, how to grow your social media channels and many other methods to set up your own passive income system.

Create your free Convertkit account here and take back control from the dreaded social media algorithms.

The only sure thing about social media is that you don’t know where it’s going.

Putting all your eggs in the social media basket is straight up irresponsible. 

There are many examples of social media going in unexpected directions.

Look at MySpace, or a more recent example: Vine.

Plenty of people had a sizeable audience on Vine, and were able to properly monetise it through lucrative brand deals and sponsorships.

Then Twitter bought Vine and in no time they shut the entire platform down entirely. 

These previously famous Vine creators now had to scramble to move their audience to another platform.

This is a hard thing to do on a dying platform where people are leaving in droves.

How about the thousands of creators (including myself) who spent years and years building a great following on Facebook or Instagram. 

A few years ago Facebook decided to implement an algorithm which resulted in your organic reach plummeting down to next to nothing. 

Your audience – that you worked so hard for to get – is now no longer seeing your content.

The only way to reach your entire audience now is by paying for ads and – what Facebook calls – boosting your posts.

This is far from ideal.

So, social media platforms come and go. 

You know what doesn’t come and go? Email addresses.

Email addresses tend to stay the same throughout the majority of an adult persons life.

You don’t want to be dependent on a social media algorithm for your business, you want to have direct access to your audience’s inbox. 

You do this by capturing their data (names and emails) in a database wherever possible.

The reason you want their name too is so that you can send personalised messages, addressing them by their first name.

How do you get people to give you their information?

It’s really quite simple: You provide them with something of value and ask for their data in return.

There are plenty of websites and services that offer this functionality, some better than others.

Most people start off with Mailchimp because they are well known and they have a free program.

I started with Mailchimp, but quickly got frustrated with how non intelligent the software seemed to be.

After exploring alternatives and asking around I decided to go with Convertkit instead. Convertkit was more expensive to start with, until recently!

They now have a free plan for people that want to start building their email database.

At the time of writing you can get your first 100 subscribers for free.

You can create your free Convertkit account here (this is an affiliate link).

Convertkit allows you to set up forms (to implement in an existing blog post for example) or landing pages (a page hosted by Convertkit that stands on its own).

Here's an example of an embedded form:

Don't miss out on my latest releases, discounts and products by signing up to my newsletter here:

I recommend creating a simple landing page first, in which you ask for people’s first name and email address. 

You can share the link to this landing page on your social media profiles and send it to your friends and family.

A lead magnet is a magnet for new leads. 

A lead is a potential customer.

Here's an example of my most recent landing page that I made for my upcoming e-book Passive income for creatives.

Convertkit landing page

And here's what that landing page has done so far:

One of my most successful lead magnets ever is a free PDF tutorial about hyperlapse photography.

The PDF is a very basic one page ‘how to’ document. 

I made a Youtube tutorial and a blog post about how to shoot hyperlapse sequences. 

In the video description and in the blog post I offer a free one page PDF that explains my very own hyperlapse techniques.

This little one page PDF resulted in 828 names and email addresses for my email database.

After collecting a few hundred names and email addresses using Convertkit I decided to create a newsletter.

In this weekly newsletter I talk about new work, new techniques, featured gear, featured creators etc.

The goal of my newsletter is to stay on people’s radars and to keep providing them with value.

Every now and then I might have a new digital product for sale on my Shopify store which I'll announce via the newsletter. Stay tuned for a post about how to set up your own Shopify store!

What to put in your newsletter:

  • New content you've published
  • Exciting news from your own channel or brand
  • Community content (check out #matjoezfeature on instagram)
  • Articles or posts from other creators in your niche
  • Tools or gear you use to create your content

It's normal to lose a few subscribers every time you send out a newsletter. As long as your list grows at a faster pace though you're all set.

The way to keep your list strong and engaged is by – and this should be not surprising at all – providing value. Value comes in all shapes and forms: entertainment, distraction, inspiration, education etc.

Create your free Convertkit account here and take back control from the dreaded social media algorithms.

Want to know more about generating passive income? Check out my brand new e-book Passive income for creatives here:

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