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4-Point Newsletter Strategy Guide for Publishers

We know firsthand how hard it can be to manage, run, grow, and monetize a newsletter operation. That's why we decided to help other publishers avoid the pitfalls we ran into and get the most out of their newsletters. At Letterhead, we help other publishers master email newsletters, and our tools are trusted by the publishers of over 2,000+ newsletters like Patch, Salon, Tiny News Collective, Techstars, McClatchy, and Snopes.

But let's face it – the environment for publishers is challenging and getting tougher. Ad spending has declined for the last six months and is projected to decrease even further in 2023. And 74% of digital ad spend goes to the big three platform companies. In this climate, first-party data has never been more critical. Publishers need to own their audience directly and control the contact information. Building trust-based, long-term engagement is how publishers get secure revenue and lifetime value. Email is the best channel for this, with a 40:1 ROI as a marketing and engagement channel.

Unfortunately, most publishers are leaving value on the table with their email lists. 90% of publishers say the email channel is vital to the future of their business, but only 22% say their increasing investments are paying off. Publishers have some of the lowest-rated emails according to consumers. It's time to flip the script and get more out of your newsletters. We've put together this comprehensive guide that digs into the key strategies publishers should use to take their operations to the next stage. For now, here's a glimpse into the four strategies to help you do just that:

1. Build newsletters powered by personality.

People follow people, and the content game has changed – people trust others more than faceless brands. Build your newsletters around your people – put their names, voice, and expertise front and center. It doesn't need to be complicated. Newsletters can (and should!) be less than 5 minutes to read, straight and to the point, and consistent in structure.

2. Put your existing content work.

Connect your website and social feeds to automate part of your content every send. Your current work on other channels should be part of every newsletter you send. It drives traffic and adds value without adding production time. Don't send generic headline blasts. Automated blasts of your latest website content don't add value or perform well. Instead, combine even a few bits of original content with the content from your feeds, and you'll have something unique to offer readers.

3. Ask for signups everywhere.

You need to ask more often. The best-performing publishers are prompting email signups on every page, with every log in, and in all their other products. You're offering a new benefit to people already engaging with you, and make sure it's visible. You can get referrals from your engaged readers, and running a referral program prompts the readers who love you to refer you to other readers. Offering benefits to those who refer specific numbers of readers incentivizes people to share.

4. Build revenue from day one—plan for advertising and sponsorship sales.

Every new newsletter should have ad units planned. Decide on format, price, and location in advance. Use direct-sold, self-service, and programmatic options to monetize every send – don't wait for specific audience sizes. Turn on self-service to open a new funnel of advertisers and revenue. There's an existing pool of leads already subscribed to your email lists. Self-service makes your offering as easy as a Facebook or Google ad, which buyers are used to – and with limited.

At Letterhead, we help you get the most out of your newsletters.

We're an email software company built specifically for content creation, and we offer a complete email solution for content publishers and media companies. Our suite of tools includes everything you need to create engaging newsletters in half the time, share content from around the web, manage your entire newsletter operation in one place, and monetize your newsletters through ads and promotions.

Our Ad Marketplace offers automated ad offers at leading rates, so you can start generating revenue from day one. And with Subscriber Management, you'll be able to understand and grow your email list like never before. Don't just send newsletters – build lasting engagement and revenue with Letterhead.

So keep the challenging environment for publishers from holding you back. By following these four strategies and using the tools available at Letterhead, you can get the most out of your newsletters and build lasting engagement and revenue. Whether you're just starting with newsletters or you've been publishing them for a while, there's always room to improve and grow.

👉Download your copy of the guide.