Writing a weekly newsletter 📮
With great excitement and a bit of nervousness, I share with you that I'm finally starting a weekly newsletter. This is happening now after a false start late last year, a lot of over-thinking and a dose of encouragement from a number of people. Read on to know the full story.
In June 2020, I took the first step to begin writing online. I started publishing essays about productivity and creativity, roughly about twice a month. Slowly, I began to shift towards writing about learning + clarity (ironically, the theme itself is not defined with great clarity at the moment, but this will do for now).
I chose to write in public because it is an effective way to externalize your ideas, get a clear view of thoughts and separate whats valuable from the rest. Further, other people can interact with my ideas only if they are shared in public.
By the end of the year, I began sharing my essays with friends and also on social media, then set up a blog and got comfortable with the slow pace of shipping essays. I tried exploring the idea of a newsletter but ran out of steam after just two issues.
A new hope
In January 2021, I resolved to overcome my mind-block for engaging online with my potential audience. I joined Nesslabs to learn more about how people approached similar problems as content makers. I am grateful to have met people who are also at various stages of their own journey to unmute themselves (in the words of Steve Scott).
Observing these spaces and participating in twitter conversations, I realised that engagement and feedback has no substitute. When people who share interests with you come across your ideas, they could provide an outside perspective giving much needed direction which is otherwise difficult to find alone.
So how to reach this relevant audience?
This is the real question. You can meet new and interesting people on social media or curated communities. But you can't always engage there on your own terms. These spaces are well suited for:
- Serendipitous encounters with relevant people
- Learning vicariously through the work of others
- Finding out who could be your potential audience and what they are seeking
- Noticing the shift in interests of these groups of people and responding to their evolving needs
What these spaces do not offer to you are:
- A direct, unfiltered channel of communication between you and your audience with no interfering algorithms
- An opportunity to reach them consistently without the element of chance at play
- Access to their emails (with their permission) for being able to market products or services to them directly in the future
Enter, the newsletter
A periodical newsletter is among the most popular ways to consistently show up in front of your audience and provide value. It solves a lot of the problems that are unaddressed by social media and curated communities.
But what could a newsletter contain?
Content digest: For those of us who are already publishing something elsewhere (for instance, a blog or a youtube channel), each issue of the newsletter can become the digest for all things published elsewhere during the time since the last issue was shipped to readers. And this is exactly what I hope to do with mine as well.
Curation and commentary: For others – those who are voracious readers or prolific consumers of any form of content, be it podcasts, movies or anything that interests them – they can start a newsletter for people who yearned to discover high quality and diverse content without having to put a lot of effort.
It seems like a daunting task to commit to shipping an issue of the newsletter every week. But, leading up to this point, I have taken small steps towards publishing online at my own pace. Having managed a reasonable schedule for posting over the period of 8 months, now I'm pushing myself to go further. To keep up with such posts, I offer to you updates each week on new blog posts, inspiration, learnings from conversations and writing that happens behind-the-scene. It would be wonderful if you'd like to come long for this ride. See you on the other side.