Did you start a newsletter in lockdown?

  • Updates about operations during COVID
  • Assurances that, despite these unprecedented times, they’re still “here for us”
  • Tales of their new adaptations. That tapas bar you tried in ’09 delivers now. Winner.

A new kind of newsletter

So, what of this 44 per cent? On top of retailers, I’ve noticed a spate of newsletters from fellow content writers. These do not exist explicitly to sell, but rather to ponder the less glamorous nuances of everyday life — brutally honest accounts of daily pandemic-themed existential dread.

“My lockdown brain has sapped creativity”

Sticking with the honesty, one nameless writer wanted to give themselves a creative outlet. As content marketers, we love writing — but the subject matter’s not always awe-inspiring.

“Happy rectal exam day, Katie”

Others, meanwhile, take a little more jaw-dropping approach. If you’re not familiar with the comedic stylings of Dave Harland AKA The Word Man, put the kettle on and watch his Fleets. You won’t be disappointed.

But wait…if newsletters are a creative outlet, why not blog?

Katie stares at her 48th #Write52 post of 2020 and hangs her head in despair. Is email where all the real leads are at?

Which newsletter topics get the most engagement?

“Probably my dog.” Loving the candour, Mark Grainger. (It’s true though — I set up an Instagram account for my cat the other week and the little cretin’s already at three figures.)

Tips for setting up an email newsletter

Again, I’m not the David Coulthard of email here, (who’s good at sport in the 21st Century? My mind is devoid of champions) but I can offer a few tips.

Choose an email marketing platform that works for you

Your chosen email marketing platform comes down to how you plan to use it. For me, it’s meat-and-potatoes Mailchimp — perfect for the three or four I send a year, and free for up to 2,000 subscribers.

Authenticate. Verify. Avoid spam.

I could take you through the whole rigmarole of why I couldn’t authenticate Mailchimp with my website hosting provider, but it will bore you to tears. If you’re using something better than Ionos (Trump’s toupee, let’s say), then make sure you authenticate. This will show your readers that the email is verified through your domain, and you might avoid spam filters.

Go easy on the images

Another surefire way to land straight in the bin is to have an email full of images. Trust me — switching from design pizzazz to plain text upped my conversions by 100 per cent.

Give them something

Take it from the pros above who know what they’re doing. Offer advice based on your own experience, or links to helpful resources. (Or bribes for reviews.) The more they take from it, the less likely they are to hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button.

  • I’ve finally finished my CIM Level 6 Diploma. Assuming I don’t fail this module, that’s a second degree in the bag, and an excuse to add some wanky letters to my name.
  • There is STILL TIME to enter the prize draw in exchange for reviews. More details here.
  • #WTIO, #WhenThisIsOver or LingoFest (I’ve not decided yet) is provisionally booked for July 8, 2021. Be there. If Boris allows.



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Katie Thompson

Katie Thompson

Freelance writer, NCTJ-trained journalist, marathon runner and unapologetic power ballad fan.