5 Lessons Learned from 77 Weeks of Publishing a Weekly Newsletter

Last Sunday marked the 77th straight week of publishing my weekly newsletter Sunday Notes.

And at first, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a small list of subscribers and decided to jump in the weekly newsletter game.

Here are my top 5 lessons learned after 77 issues.

It takes time to come up with a system

At first, each week’s edition was messy, unorganized, and took me forever to write. But after some time, I started to come up with a system to publish with ease. I wrote about my system here.

I also played with the formatting to achieve the look and feel of the email. I probably changed the design 5–6 times over the course of the first month or two until I arrived at a design that best served the types of content I was sharing.

Point being, I had to learn as I go and that meant changing things up from time to time in order to find a rhythm. What once took me all day to write, I can now knock out in 2–3 hours.

People are going to unsubscribe

People are going to unsubscribe and that’s okay — at least they tried it. And if they decided it’s not for them — fair enough.

It is better to have a small number of subscribers who are highly engaged than a huge email list with a low open rate. Currently, my open rates are running at 60–70% which is phenomenal, to say the least.

In my opinion, if someone unsubscribed from your list, they are doing you a favor. Choose quality over quantity.

Gaining subscribers is hard

You need to promote your newsletter everywhere, all of the time. I promote mine on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and everywhere else I can think of. And whenever I think I’m promoting it a little too much, I double down and promote it more.

I also ask subscribers to share it with their friends. The best supporters of your newsletter are always going to be the people who are currently engaged with it. A simple Hey, why not share this with a friend or two? at the bottom of my email has worked wonders for new subscribers.

You won’t always feel like writing it

I’ve been hurt, sick, burned out, and just plain uninspired. But I still sent out my newsletter on the same day at the same time for 77 weeks in a row without exception.

Subscribers want to know what to expect and when to expect it and if you have made a promise to deliver a weekly email it is best to stick with it no matter what.

The point is, you don’t have to ‘feel’ like writing your email, you just have to write the damn email.

Patience is the name of the game

It takes time to grow and that’s perfectly fine. When I was starting out I had a very small number of subscribers which gave a nice cushion to make mistakes.

For example, I once sent out an email with the words piece of mind in the first sentence instead of peace of mind. Yes, in the first damn sentence.

Now, had that email gone out to 50K subs, it would have been highly embarrassing, but since it went out to less than 100 people it was no big deal. Sh*t happens.

But beyond the ability to eff up, it’s simply unrealistic to think you can grow your list to an astronomical number in the first year or two. My list has steadily increased and grows faster every day but it’s nowhere’s near where I would like it to be and I am fine with that.

The main takeaway is to play the long game. Consistency is key and things have a way of compounding. You just need to give it time.

Thanks for reading. @ me on Twitter

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Exploring culture, technology, Life Design, and more at BarryFralick.com



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