Some of the most important steps.
This article is cross-posted from my weekly newsletter, The Sunday Soother, a newsletter about modern spirituality and useful tips for creating more meaning in your life that goes out every Sunday morning. To get more content about how to infuse your life with thoughtfulness, reflection, and meaning, subscribe here. I am also a holistic personal development coach. You can learn more about working with me here.
Want to know how I built this newsletter, and are you curious about building your own regular creative venture that may resonate with an audience? Let me tell you my steps:
- For years — years! — I had this newsletter, and it had no vision, no regularity, no concept, and, not surprisingly, no readers. I literally would send out a newsletter every couple of months that were just some random musings and a few links and wonder why it was not exploding in popularity why could people not see my genius?!
- It was when I decided the following that the newsletter started to take off just in the last year: The concept. It was going to be a newsletter about personal reflection and ways to live meaningfully in the week ahead with lessons shared via personal essays. The format: It was always going to have a personal essay up top, a section about things I recommended, and several links to interesting articles that related back to the concept of living life more intentionally and meaningfully. The timing: It wasn’t gonna just go out whenever I felt like writing it; it was going to go out every Sunday morning. The commitment: I was gonna write it every week (except for my recent hiatus), even on the days I felt I had nothing to say. I was going to show up. I owed it to myself and the people that found value in what I had to say.
- So ask yourself, for your creative project: Does it have a clear vision and message? Does it have clear timing and a reliable format that readers can come to expect and value? And most importantly, do you show up time after time to do it anyways, even on the days you’re pretty sure nobody is reading or looking at it? I would say 100% that having a newsletter that came out extremely regularly and consistently at a particular time every week was the biggest growth factor. Consistency is underrated!
- So say you’ve got all those nailed, but your newsletter or venture still isn’t growing. These are ways my newsletter has grown:
- By far, organic recommendations have been my biggest driver. In particular, links or recommendations from Ann Friedman, Aminatou Sow’s Instagram, and the Recomendo newsletter blew me up. There’s no formula for these sort of recommendations (though I had an edge because I am acquaintances with Ann and Amina) — this is where consistently showing up for your own work and value will prove the worth and concept to other people.
- I have taken out two ads in Ann’s newsletter to grow my own. She runs incredibly reasonable rates given her audience and has pretty good return. Do you subscribe to a newsletter that you think has a similar audience to yours? See if they offer ads. If they don’t formally offer ads, email and see if you could run one and suggest a fair price. Like, if anybody ever wanted to run an ad in the Soother… I would be like…yes. But I don’t have a structure to offer that right now, and not a huge audience, so I couldn’t and wouldn’t charge that much. But I bet a newsletter you like would be open to you purchasing a small ad, and you could test if it worked out, and how much money you spent per subscriber gained, etc.
- I also listed my newsletter on Stoop and have gotten a few subscribers via that service.
- Finally, besides consistency, I think the biggest growth driver of my newsletter has simply been my authenticity, my vulnerability, and my voice. People like I’m an earnest and messy bitch and that I write openly about it and ways I’m working to move forward and through this thing we call life. Are you vulnerable in your writing? Do the words you write feel true to the way you live in this world? If so, then they will find their way to others who want to read them. I promise.