After 14 months of publishing my curated IdeaEconomy newsletter, I’ve passed 1200 subscribers.
I’m now adding 150 to 200 subscribers per month. If I continue on this trajectory I’ll likely have over 3000 subscribers at the end of next year.
3000 subscribers would be great, but I can achieve much more. Here is my plan to get to 10,000 newsletter subscribers by the end of 2022.
The four areas that have been working for me so far have been original content, newsletter advertising, newsletter cross-promotions, and general networking.
1. Original Content
My newsletter is almost all curated content, but curation is not enough. It’s very hard to get shares and backlinks without original content.
I hope to start writing at least two articles per month. I also plan to hire other writers to help with creating comprehensive guides and other content.
2. Paid Newsletter Ads
I’ve gotten more than 250 subscribers with paid advertising at a total cost of about $650. That is a little expensive for a newsletter that isn’t making any money, but it’s worth investing in to get an initial critical mass of subscribers. If I can get the cost per subscriber closer to $2, I’d be happy to pay for the full 10,000 subscribers.
3. Newsletter Cross-Promotions
I’ve gotten some good results by cross-promoting with other newsletters. I’ve only done it a few times so far, but it has driven about 100 subscribers. The more subscribers I get, the easier it will be to find more newsletters to cross-promote with.
I’ve connected with dozens of creators over the last year and many have gone on to promote my content or newsletter.
I’m going to be more deliberate in my outreach and creating value for others.
I want to give a special shout-out to Josh Spector of For the Interested. He’s been my biggest supporter and the source of well over 100 subscribers. Advertising on his site has also been very effective.
I consider the four areas above as the foundation of my future growth but there are many other areas where I can improve. I plan on leveling up my site design, SEO, Twitter usage, and personal branding.
A distinctive graphic design can really make you stand out on social media and make your content more memorable. Julian Shapiro is one of the best examples I can think of.
I’m in the process of improving my lightbulb character, website, and newsletter landing page. I hope to use the new designs in post images and on Twitter.
6. Search Engine Optimization
James Clear built a million-subscriber email list largely from his domination of personal development content. Search for any keyword like productivity, motivation, building habits, etc. and you’ll see James Clear in the top results.
I’m getting practically zero new subscribers from organic search. This will change over time as I add optimized longer-form content.
I can do a lot more to promote the content I curate on Twitter and connect with other creators. I’ve added about 800 Twitter followers last year, but I can get much better at this.
8. What guy am I?
I’d like to become known as the “IdeaEconomy guy.” That will help me build my personal monopoly and help with some bigger projects I have planned.
Bigger Growth Ideas
Once I start making progress in the above areas there are some bigger, potentially more impactful ideas I can implement.
9. Quantity Wins
I want to substantially increase the number of articles I write. I hope to do a challenge like Anne-Laure Le Cunff’s 100 articles in 100 days. She says;
“And Ness labs absolutely would not be what it is today without those articles. They laid the foundation for what Ness Labs is, and they generated hundreds of thousands of views, a dozen consulting contracts, and many coaching sessions to people randomly finding me through one of the articles. In terms of exposure, I have been invited to several podcasts and some articles were featured in the press.”
I’m also considering publishing the newsletter more than once a week. I started publishing it daily last year but cut back to a weekly edition. I’m thinking of testing two or three times a week.
10. Building in Public
I hope that tackling challenges and sharing my journey online will help generate interest in what I’m doing. The best example I know of is Pieter Levels and his 12 startups in 12 months. I’ve shared a little of my progress on IndieHackers, but I’ll put more effort into promoting what I’ve done as I get better results.
I’m planning my first IdeaEconomy giveaway for the end of the year. I’ve gained thousands of subscribers through giveaways in the past, so I know they can be effective. I hope this will be the first of many giveaways for IdeaEconomy.
Large newsletters like Morning Brew get over 1000 subscribers a day from their referral program. I’ve heard of some small newsletters finding success as well.
With some attractive rewards, a referral program could become a good source of growth.
13. My Big Idea
I want to develop a more distinctive basic business premise than a weekly curated newsletter. I don’t want to give too many details away, but I’m planning a type of creator marketplace for the new year.
14. Bonus: What’s it all for?
In another business, I donate 25% of all gross profits to charity. I plan on doing something similar with IdeaEconomy. I’m not sure if this makes a difference to growth or not, but I find it personally motivating to be working towards something that gives back.
10,000 subscribers by the end of 2022
This is my plan to get to 10,000 subscribers by December 31, 2022. That will be about 2.5 years after I started this newsletter.
It’s a much more ambitious growth rate than what I achieved in my first year, but I still think is achievable. With more and better content, outsourced help, more paid advertising, and some bigger wins like a successful giveaway, I think 10,000 subscribers is a reasonable goal.
Am I missing any good audience-building ideas? I’d love to hear from you.