Newsletters: Are they really worth it?

I am sitting on the fence here- the blog uses the built in WordPress service to distribute content, but I don’t peddle newsletters actively. I have written about it earlier, too. The rate of engagement for newsletters is very poor; your email usually lands up sorted algorithmically.

There are several businesses that are riding on the newsletter subscriptions- primarily because of the business downturns. However, writing daily is a tough proposition. I schedule my posts; each post gets out at a specific time (as and when it is up online).

Nesslabs has tips for those who are keen to explore this space. I’d like to add a few observations of my own.

close up of hand over white background
Photo by Lum3n on

Ideas are everywhere. I used to wait until it was time to sit down and write to try and come up with ideas. Relying on flimsy inspiration didn’t work so well—I often ended up staring at a blank page. Instead, it’s much better to write down ideas as you go about your life and work.

I agree. I use a Samsung Galaxy Note to jot my ideas during the idling moments. It helps me to fine tune my perspectives. Often, I let the long form of ideas ruminate over time (especially if it requires a thorough analysis). For most of the content that I come across reading, I prefer to link/add comments and blog about it (instead of creating it for Twitter’s algorithms).

Don’t get obsessed with stats. Even open rates don’t mean much today. Many people are using apps and browser extensions that block any form of tracking, so these numbers are increasingly becoming meaningless. Focus on creating great content and engaging with your readers—these are the only meaningful goals to work towards.

I agree completely here. I prefer not to have any kind of tracking (though the embedded trackers are from my hosting solution. I cannot do anything about it.

There are no clear-cut answers for a newsletter versus a “blog”, either. What do you want to start? Frankly, I was overwhelmed about “design decisions” and choosing the right “template” etc. I knew that it would require an expensive subscription to shoot out the letters, but to what end goal. I wasn’t even sure what niche I would want to cover.

Just start writing and you’d figure out a lot of ideas along the way.

Here’s another nugget from Anne:

Use your newsletter as a self-education mechanism. It can be hard to stay motivated when you want to teach yourself how to do something new. A newsletter is a great way to make yourself accountable. Want to learn how to code? Start a coding newsletter. Want to learn how to cook? Share a new recipe every week in your newsletter. The journey is more exciting when you’re learning alongside your readers.

neon signage
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on

I think the end goal is “self-education”. Whatever the medium, writing daily has transformed my thought mechanism. I speak as if I need to write, which brings more clarity to the thought structure.

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