With a rising interest in newsletters, I started one last year. I tried to publish one long-form post a month as well as a collection of links at the end.
I intended to keep this newsletter going through the year, but after a few months, I decided that a newsletter of this kind wouldn’t be of any additional value that my blog couldn’t already provide.
Now I’m also blogging on a daily basis, so there’s no need for such a newsletter, and most likely I’ll never publish a newsletter of this kind again.
The newsletter experiment did not succeed in the way I thought it would, but although I closed the newsletter down, I learned something valuable from the newsletter.
Newsletters themselves are great, but the real value of a newsletter is the niche the newsletter caters to. This niche could be an interest, a topic, a market or anything like that.
This year I’m starting a small side project to build a newsletter aimed at a specific type of organisation who are looking to make more effective use of their digital presence and other tools to help those organisations.
I’m sending out a few invites to sign up for some local organisations that meet this criterion. I’ll then run the newsletter for a few months, collecting feedback on the first few editions. If the feedback is positive, I’ll keep going. If it's terrible, I’ll adjust the content to either suit the feedback or close the newsletter down.
I’ve already got a landing page up and running and I just need to dig into how to send a welcome email to each new sign up. Once done, I’ll be ready to accept sign-ups as they come. I’m not going to market this though until I decide that it has any lasting value as a product.
There are a few added benefits from this experiment.
I get some hands-on experience with running a newsletter using MailChimp. TinyLetter was an ideal service for my previous newsletter, but for this newsletter, I need a few more features like more options for formatting emails and their content.
I can spend a bit of time researching and writing content for the newsletter. I’m budgeting a fixed number of hours a month for this, and in that time I need to have the material ready to send and handle any replies or feedback. A test of time management and improving my writing.
The final benefit is that this is a testbed to a more significant opportunity. I’m using the newsletter to gauge the interest in a range of services that could help a particular market. This newsletter will be the on-ramp to that range of products and services and will determine if there’s any value in them.
I think I’ve found a niche market with this newsletter but only time will tell. I do believe that this will have a better chance of success than my previous attempt at a newsletter, but the only indication of this is whether organisations that sign up for this and find it useful.