📬 The Era of "NEWSLETTERS"
Unstoppable Growth of Newsletters and Why We Read Them
"Do people really open their email and read newsletters?"
Last day, a friend of mine asked me this question.
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She was confused and surprised when she learned I had decided to devote my time to writing a newsletter. In her mind, a newsletter is an old-fashioned medium.
Let me introduce her so we can attribute meaning to her reaction.
She is a finance manager in a global FMCG company. She has a promising career.
She is working late at least 2-3 days a week. In addition, she runs from one meeting to another during the day.
Her business environment is not diverse, limited to friends from the office. They work a lot too. As a result, they don't have much time to discuss anything apart from the daily business topics.
She always deals with the scarcity of time. She postpones her doctor appointments, never hits the gym regularly, and finds time barely to meet family and friends.
Despite being a bookworm, she has recently found it tiring to read anything in long form.
To chill out, she either scrolls down on a social media channel or consumes feeling-good content on a streaming service, and sometimes she does both simultaneously.
Yet, she feels even more tired after these times spent being refreshed.
We fall into the trap that reading is tiring, and we don't have time for it.
Then we found ourselves in front of the TV, feeling even more tired or lost in social media's cacophony.
However, what we think is easier is not really what we need and doesn't make us feel good.
And it seems like more people have started to realize how irritating it becomes.
The increase in the number of newsletters and their readers is showing that people demand a new way of reading, getting the information & inspiration they need:
Focused reading from trusted sources delivering high-quality essays consistently to their inboxes.
It can be about anything.
Daily news every morning, trends in the B2B SaaS world, the latest online tools, and platforms or in-depth writings on productivity and self-improvement.
The newsletter industry is a rising star, and we need to talk about it.
FEED YOUR MIND WITH NEWSLETTERS
My friend is like my 3-4 years ago version.
Back then, I was also stuck finding excuses for the scarcity of time.
I was having difficulties following the world around me.
I was unaware of newsletters and newsletter marketing as a growing industry.
I was far away from understanding the value of good newsletters and how they can create an impact on my continuous learning journey.
I couldn't imagine reading high-quality newsletters was one of the best ways to spend my time.
To start reading newsletters became a game-changer for me. I even started to write one :)
Feeding the mind is the prerequisite to having a fulfilling life regardless of your work area, title, age etc.
And reading is still the best way to challenge the boundaries of our minds.
Good newsletters are like gold mines. You learn, discover, get inspired, get motivated and laugh.
Some of them changed how I approach not only business but many other aspects of life in general. Their creators are like teachers, friends, and sources of the muse I've never met.
Let's elaborate a bit on how the newsletter industry evolved.
CHANGING DYNAMICS OF THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
We have been witnessing a transition in the publishing industry.
In the past, traditional magazines and newspapers were in charge and wholly controlled who wrote what. Writers had to listen to the editors, were limited to providing their visions, didn't build any direct relationship with their readers, and got paid unfairly regardless of their contribution to the circulation rate.
The publishing industry reached a new level of freedom with the internet.
People interested in writing opened blogs with WordPress, but it was difficult to get discovered.
Then, Medium, an online publishing platform launched in 2012, opened up a new area for digital writers.
And finally, social media giants also joined the game. At first social media platforms gave freedom to content creators in many aspects; writing about any topic at any time, unlimited distribution and reach to readers, etc.
We have been living in the "creator economy" hype of which publishing is also a part.
The creator economy is growing rapidly and currently contributes 3% of the global GDP.
However, the existence of centralized authority in the writer and reader relationship has some drawbacks.
What we find in social media is FMCC; Fast-Moving Consumer Content
On one side, readers feel exhausted after the infinite scroll-downs of short snippets of texts. It is so easy to forget what is read and bookmarked. Posts leave information crumbles from diverse topics yet lack in-depth knowledge in any area.
On the other hand, writers are struggling to find a convenient way to create long-form content. The formats are not giving a chance to go in-depth on any topic. It is not easy to set up a WordPress blog and ensure visibility in Google for everyone, either.
Additionally, in the middle of chaos, creators miss the chance to build high-quality relationships with their followers and their valuable insights.
Another main problem is that writers don't get paid fairly by social media platforms or search engines despite the traffic they attract.
Newsletter platforms like Substack and Beehiiv address both sides of the issue, which is critical to changing these dynamics.
NEWSLETTER INDUSTRY: A DELICIOUS CAKE TO SHARE
Chris Best started Substack in October 2017 to address above mentioned issues.
Since then, he has always been very open about the philosophy of Substack:
"We believe that journalistic content has intrinsic value and that it doesn't have to be given away for free. We believe that what you read matters. And we believe that there has never been a better time to bolster and protect those ideals. Now, more than ever, publishers of news and similar content can be profitable through direct payments from readers. In fact, we are so convinced by this notion that we have started a company to accelerate the advent of what we are convinced will be a new golden age for publishing. The company is called Substack."
"Twitter makes money from your attention, so they need to compel your attention. Sometimes that leads to good things, like connecting you to people and ideas that matter. But it also means that the addiction, abuse, and outrage that thrive on Twitter and other social platforms may be impossible to eradicate. So what's left to do? You can change the rules. That's why we started Substack: when readers pay writers directly, it's a whole new game."
"Is email dead?" has been asked constantly since the early 2000s, as Hamish McKenzie, co-founder of Substack, mentioned in a podcast.
Email marketing and newsletters are more popular than ever.
Newsletter platforms like Substack have been playing an essential role in the growth of the newsletter industry.
It is too easy to set up.
It is free to sign up.
It is possible to activate paid subscription option at any time.
Most importantly, it allows writers to collect an email list of readers and enables direct communication with them.
An escape from the chaos in social media. Enables to reach high-quality long-form articles.
Free and easy to subscribe
Everyone has an email address, so uploading a new platform is not necessary.
They can directly support any writers they like and feel like a part of his/her world.
Here are a few statistics to show the growing interest to Substack;
Substack has 29.6 million monthly visitors, according to SimilarWeb data.
There are over 500,000 paying subscribers.
The top 10 authors on Substack collectively make over $20 million per year.
The existence of Substack is derived from a kind of anti-social media movement.
Ironically, its performance triggered social media players to get a piece of the cake.
As an answer to the growing popularity of Substack and the newsletter industry, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also got into the game.
First, Twitter acquired Revue, a startup that offers an email service focused on newsletters in beg 2021.
After s short while, in Jun '21, Facebook announced the launch of its newsletter service, Bulletin.
LinkedIn also introduced "Newsletters" in 2021, mainly used to show expertise in a professional area, personal branding, and lead generation.
Currently, Twitter is testing "Notes", the feature enabling to write and publish long-form content on Twitter. And with Super Follow feature, creators will be able to collect donations from followers. Similar to what Substack is already doing, right?
It seems like Twitter has been expanding its footprint in content creation by focusing on long-form content recently.
Trends.vc describes newsletters as a solution to the fact that advertising alters incentives: "Write for your readers, not for advertisers."
Here are a few predictions they shared in the "#0036 - Paid Newsletters" issue:
🔮 Predictions by Trends.vc
More writers will add value with paid communities. Readers bond over shared interests. And unlike content, community can't be copied. Content is a magnet. Community is a moat.
Paid newsletters will launch audience-first empires. Leading to courses, communities, funds and more.
Newsletters will become more niche. It's easier than ever to launch a paid newsletter. More will try, fail and succeed. The same applies to Micro-Marketplaces and Micro-SaaS.
In addition to the above points, I firmly believe more players will join the game. Newsletter bundles emerged from Substack, new experimental platforms, and writer communities rewarding high-qualified writers like Every.to will be introduced in the upcoming days.
Reading a book or a fulfilling and inspiring piece of an article never gets you tired and never gets old.
Regardless of where you work, what you do, or your interest areas, I wish you to create a space for reading newsletters in your life if you haven't done so.
It doesn't matter whether you work in a corporate company or a startup, or a solopreneur. There are lots of great newsletters out there for everyone and every need.
During the last 1 year, I've subscribed to 40+ newsletters. I'm still discovering great ones and continue to subscribe.
In the following weeks, I will share my favorite newsletters and provide some basic information about how to start a newsletter.
Until then, take care and don't forget to spare some time to read!
Creative Economy: An evolving concept that builds on the interplay between human creativity and ideas and intellectual property, knowledge, and technology. (UNESCO).
Long-form Content: Long-form content describes a piece of writing that is between 1,000 — 7,500 words. You might want to read long-form content to get a deep dive of complicated subjects from a robust source of writing.
Short-form Content: Short-form content is typically considered to be content of fewer than 1,200 words in length, although some marketers draw the cut off-point at 1,000 words. It is quick and easy to digest content that covers a specific area of a topic rather than going too in-depth or detailed.
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