If you scroll through your email inbox, you’re most likely subscribed to some kind of newsletter. And while many of these subscriptions may be for businesses and brands, there has recently been an increase in the popularity of individual newsletters. Substack, a platform dedicated to free and paid email newsletters, received more than 24.57 million visits in September 2021. Journalists came to the site in 2020 and left newsrooms to become their own heads.
And that’s the best thing about creating your own newsletter – the autonomy it offers. A newsletter can become a filter-free channel for all your ideas, personal and professional updates, and any other thoughts you want to share with the world. This flexibility makes it a fantastic medium for people from all walks of life, not just journalists and writers. If you are interested in creating community and establishing yourself as an expert on a particular topic, an individual newsletter may be perfect for you.
Writing a regular newsletter is a great way to connect with like-minded people and at the same time connect with a new audience. As you share your perspective, you can even become a thought leader and build your personal brand and credibility with readers. In fact, if your audience feels that they are benefiting enough from your words, there is a chance that they will be willing to pay for your newsletter. That way, a newsletter can even become your own business, which you’ll see in the examples below.
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to setting up an email newsletter. These examples of newsletters from five very different people show that anyone can create a thriving newsletter as long as they are passionate about a particular topic.
Hunter Harris —A former entertainment writer at Vulture — quickly became popular thanks to her ingenious summaries (also known as “Power Rankings”) of HBO’s Roy de Succession family. Along with his journalism work, Hunter garnered a large number of followers on Twitter sharing his sharp comments on the latest TV and movie news and celebrity gossip. Instead of staying as a writer at Vulture, Hunter decided to create her own Substack in late 2020.
She wasn’t the only journalist who did it. Culture journalist Anne Helen Peterson made a similar move when she left Buzzfeed to turn her semi-regular Sunday bulletin, Culture Study, into her full-time job. Both Harris and Petersen have shared how the move to Substack gave them more freedom to write what is most important to them.
“I was so nervous to start it!” said Hunter. “… But once I started brainstorming and working with the designer on the logo, he clicked on his site: I can be even more myself than I could be for Vulture, which means , basically, endless posts about the movie Closer or Bennifer or why Martin Scorsese no longer wears glasses. “
While “Hung Up” focuses on the latest pop culture news, Hunter talks about trending topics of all kinds, even politics. Her newsletter has been a huge success so far, and the writer has even appeared in other email newsletters like when she wrote a guest piece for fashion brand Reformation.
Although “Hung Up” has a free version, to read the full newsletter followers have the option to pay $ 5 per month or $ 50 for an annual subscription.
Not only has this become Hunter’s full-time job, but the writer said she’s also been able to do more freelance writing gigs, something she didn’t have time for when she was a writer. Clearly, starting her own newsletter has been a win-win situation for the journalist.
Emily’s life plan for the week
If you’re a fan of Emily Mariko, you know her brand is all about minimalism. While the influencer went viral on TikTok for his salmon rice bowl recipe in 2021, he first created his YouTube channel in 2012 sharing content about fitness and food.
Unlike most other influencers, Emily’s Instagram and TikToks reels are silent. The youtuber never adds music or voiceovers, and rarely even talks to her videos. Instead, spectators listen to the cutting of vegetables, the tinkling of pans, and the lighting of the stove. Instead of providing all the details of her recipes in her videos, Emily sends out a weekly newsletter with a summary of the previous week’s content, including full recipes and links to her cooking utensils and costumes.
“Emily’s Life Plan” not only has a simple design, but also includes handwritten notes, which add an authentic touch to the newsletter.
This newsletter is a great reminder that your content does not need to be exceptionally cured or polished. All that matters is that you share useful and relevant information for your audience.
History classes with the cultural tutor
In May 2022, Sheehan Quirke, who calls himself “the cultural tutor,” quit his job and decided to do a Twitter account to share his passion for history with others. In just six weeks, he was able to garner more than 100,000 followers.
While Sheehan uses Twitter as a platform to discuss her interests, and has had many threads viral – He also sends out a newsletter every Friday promising to offer seven short lessons on art, history and architecture to his followers ’inboxes.
The newsletter was initially free and reached 19,000 subscribers in its first few weeks. Now, however, Sheehan has included a paid option, as he expects the newsletter to be his full-time job. Users who subscribe for free will still receive a monthly newsletter and two trials a year, but paid members will continue to receive weekly emails. Sheehan has stated on her website that she is even interested in starting a podcast as well.
If you are passionate enough about a particular topic, as Shaheen is passionate about history and culture, a newsletter is a perfect way to organize your thoughts and at the same time spread your knowledge to others. The fact that Shaheen has been able to grow his followers in such a short time without any prior exposure shows that people will gravitate towards your newsletter as long as your content is interesting and educational.
Self-employed tips from Kat Boogard
Kat Boogard: A freelance writer who has been published at several outlets, including The New York Times – write a newsletter specifically for other freelance writers. In her newsletter, Kat shares her experience with other writers and offers tips for freelancers to get paid writing opportunities.
Each week, Kat shares best practices and offers helpful tips for freelancers, such as how to make their presentations more effective. This is a great example of a newsletter that is hyper-focused on a topic. Readers know they will learn more about freelance writing, making Kat’s content a great resource for a specific demographic.
In addition to sharing her own tips, Kat also includes a resource list, freelance writing concerts, and highlights her main readings of the week. These additional sections are a great advantage for a newsletter that is already useful.
Joel’s weekly newsletter with reflections and highlights
Our own CEO, Joel Gascoignehe has recently started his own weekly newsletter where he shares updates on his personal life, Buffer, and highlights anything else that interests him.
In each newsletter, Joel focuses on a specific topic, with the most recent addition on flexibility, specifically with regard to the four-day work week at Buffer.
Also included is a weekly summary of articles, tweets, and quotes that have resonated especially with Joel.
Joel has said that this newsletter is a way to create community and connect with others, and even encourages readers to respond directly to it. Similarly, your newsletter should not only be a one-sided conversation, but it can also be a way to engage in open discussions with people with like-minded ideas.
While starting your own newsletter from scratch may seem like a big undertaking, we hope the above examples have made the process seem more feasible and inspired you to create your own. Whether you’re discussing fashion topics, providing expert advice, or just sharing your favorite things, your newsletter can be successful as long as you talk about the things that matter most to you.
What is your favorite newsletter? Let us know Twitter or Instagram!