The Mallorcan by Ida Jakobson
"There can be a business for any imaginable niche as long as you create value for a group of people."
Newsletter Circle is the newsletter all about newsletters for indie creators.
👉 Every Sunday, you will read the unique journey of a different newsletter creator and learn more about how to start, grow and monetize your own newsletter.
👉 3X a week, you will learn one newsletter from a unique niche.
📣 “NEWSLETTER NICHES” FROM NEWSLETTER CIRCLE
Since we are 550 people now, it is time to spice things up a bit.
As of this week, I will send out 3 more issues to share a newsletter from a unique niche. (Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).
These additional issues will be short inspiration doses.
There are two reasons behind it:
“I want to start a newsletter but don’t know what to write about.”
“I can’t choose a niche for my newsletter.”
“I have an idea of a niche, but I don’t know whether it makes sense.”
These struggles are common among people who want to start a newsletter and aspiring creators. I also personally know how hard it is to pick a niche. Before starting Newsletter Circle, I wrote and sent out a long article for 17 weeks. The best way to explore your niche is to start writing.
However, some inspiration from other creators can also help big time.
So, I want you to discover unique niches that creators choose and build successful newsletters.
Secondly, thousands of great newsletters are out there waiting to be discovered. Let’s make great works to be heard by more people.
I hope you will love the “Newsletter Niches” series and accompany me in building a library of inspiration for newsletter creators.
👏 Shoutout to 8AM
8AM is a surprisingly simple daily email to inspire and educate creators.
I discover great things from around the internet thanks to 8AM. Give it a shot!
Last week, we learned about the behind-the-scenes of 6AM City, a newsletter-first hyper-local media company operating across 25 U.S. markets. If you missed it, you can read it here.
Today, I again brought the journey of a local newsletter that is created by a visionary indie creator this time.
Imagine you moved to a new island where you don’t know anyone. What would you do to explore your new home?
Ida Jakobson found a clever way to tackle this challenge and started a local newsletter after moving to Mallorca from Sweden.
She curates events, places, activities, shares interviews with locals and news from the island in her newsletter, “The Mallorcan”. Today, it has 1700+ subscribers and even became a community that activates locals.
She is open to applying new strategies to grow The Mallorcan. SEO and Instagram play an important role in her newsletter’s growth and she plans to expand her footprint on social media with TikTok.
Let’s hear her unique story from Ida herself and learn how to build a local newsletter successfully!
🏷 NEWSLETTER IDENTITY CARD
🛠 Tool Stack
ESP (E-mail Service Provider) → Email Octopus
Note Taking & Planning → Asana
SEO → Ahrefs
Website → Squarespace
Community → Geneva, Instagram
Monetization → Post Apex
👋 MEET THE CREATOR
Welcome Ida. Let’s start with getting to know you.
I grew up in Sweden, studied there and started my first post-graduate job in Sales and Marketing. In 2021 my fiancee and I had the opportunity to relocate due to remote work and transitioning to freelance projects. Today, I divide my time equally between growing The Mallorcan’s newsletter and web presence with other freelance marketing projects.
What is The Mallorcan all about?
The Mallorcan is a weekly email that helps locals and visitors alike stay up to date on what’s happening on the island. It uncovers information from interviews, curation, events and other news.
Why and how did you decide to start The Mallorcan in the first place?
After choosing to move to Mallorca, I decided to start the newsletter as a way to learn about what was happening and to connect with new people. There was no expectation of monetizing it at the start. It was purely a fun way to make something creative and give me an excuse to interview and meet new people.
How did you gain your first 100 subscribers?
The first 100 subscribers mostly came from Facebook groups. As most places worldwide will have multiple local Facebook groups, it’s a great way to find new subscribers. I was able to announce the newsletter and also ask for initial interviews with local entrepreneurs.
Which growth channels do you mainly use?
What has worked best for me is investing in SEO content, cross-posting content in Facebook Groups, on subreddits and on our own Instagram account.
What are the most effective growth strategy & channels when it comes to growing a local newsletter?
Initially, the quick hits came from posting and participating in social channels.
Over time I realized that SEO was a stronger channel to invest in for the long term. It requires more patience but I found by researching keywords and creating useful content, I was able to lay a foundation for gaining new subscribers from Google within the first six months.
What is your SEO Strategy?
It is a combination of keyword research posts - finding high volume, low competition keywords. e.g. “best wedding venues in Mallorca” - then creating a 1k+ word post on that.
In addition, just slowly building out a directory. One business at a time slowly starts to see rewards for both the business name search as well as the directory categories - e.g. “brunch places in Mallorca”
Do you use any growth platforms like Sparkloop or Swapstack?
Not right now, although I have considered them and would still like to figure out a way to leverage more growth platforms. The challenge with a local newsletter is that you are super niche. For example, it’s easy for two business-type newsletters to cross- promote but a little harder for a niche newsletter about an island in Europe :)
How do you build relationships with other creators, locals or any source of information that feeds your local content?
Primarily by running the weekly interview series.
It has been an easy way to meet one new person each week. Instagram and our online chat community on Geneva have also opened up many new connections.
How do you leverage social media to distribute your newsletter?
We are active on Instagram, Facebook and Reddit.
I invest quite a bit of time in our Instagram account, which now has 2.4k followers and is a great way to cross-promote the newsletter and engage with subscribers.
Facebook and Reddit have been great for cross-posting relevant content to the Mallorca niche. Next up will be Tik Tok this summer. Excited to see what opportunities can be leveraged there.
Regarding growth efforts, what would you do differently if you had a chance to start over?
I would definitely start SEO on day 1 and have a clearer structure around my strategy there. Everything from keyword research to site optimization to a content schedule.
It feels to me like such a huge opportunity in my niche and I would absolutely have done more there earlier if I had my time over again.
What are your plans to boost growth?
When the unit economics allow it, I feel that Facebook ads could be a smart way to scale our subscriber acquisition.
Then, Tik Tok. As we approach summer, it will be easier to create new video content and there are some amazing examples of other local newsletters that have scaled their growth using Tik Tok such as Seffoslo and Camberapp I can take learnings from them.
How do you make money currently? What are the plans for the future?
The newsletter makes money in two main ways.
Either a main sponsor or smaller ads further down in the newsletter sourced through Post Apex. We have run multiple main sponsors, sometimes over long-term timeframes. More recently experimenting with Post Apex ads on a per-click model.
Then a second source of revenue comes from the website.
There, we operate a paid directory for local businesses and have some affiliate content with car rental companies and other tourist attractions.
For the future, the main aim is to 10x our website traffic and email subscribers, as from there, it should be straightforward to attract more sponsors and directory listings.
What is your monthly revenue with the breakdown?
Variable between $500-2,500.
The newsletter can be anywhere from $50-200 per issue and the remaining revenue from the website can be between $500-2000 per month.
When and how did you earn your first dollar with your newsletter?
After around 4-5 issues, before I had even considered doing any sales outreach, I had an inbound request for sponsoring the newsletter. That was amazing and a real sign of validation for continuing the project.
How did your monetization strategy evolve in parallel with the growth of your subscriber list?
After that point, I made a much more focused effort on doing consistent cold outreach to a local business that would be a good fit.
Over the last year or so I have always allowed time for having a consistent sales pipeline in place for sponsors. Then I will get inbound opportunities from time to time, typically when the content is shared somewhere and we get an influx of traffic.
How does your sponsorship system work?
As mentioned above, I mostly do cold outreach. I have held off publishing a rate card or anything specific. Mostly because The Mallorcan is still small and we are able to do more complex advertising packages by combining the newsletter with web content.
How much did you charge for the first sponsorship? Then how did you manage pricing?
Honestly, for the first one, I was just making it up as I went as it was completely new to me :) I think I charged 49 € for the very first sponsorship.
From there, when starting outreach, I moved towards charging closer to 99€ per issue and volume discounts for more than 1 issue.
The one thing in my favor with our list is the extremely high engagement and the ability to identify everyone on the list as living in one particular area. This makes it very appealing to advertisers.
How do you find partners?
This has been a mix of cold outreach combined with inbound requests. Similarly to the newsletter, it’s about targeting relevant local businesses that would benefit from getting their brand in front of our audience and then we find a combination of content that could work for the. Either on the newsletter, the website or both.
You also run a community. How does it work?
So, the community is still free as of today, but the plan is to transition to paid in the future.
The best way to think of it is as a more tight-knit community than what you’d find on Facebook groups. We are running this on Geneva, a tool a lot like Discord. It’s a place for highly engaged members of our audience to be able to chat and share information, find business groups and sporting groups to join etc.
Once we see a certain level of engagement, we will convert it to a paid community.
📩 E-MAIL SERVICE PROVIDER
Why did you choose E-mail Octopus? Pros and cons?
For its simplicity. Pricing is also agreeable.
I’ve used many platforms through freelance work and I think there is a lot of consideration for newer tools like Beehiiv and Substack, but for now, I’m happy with Email Octopus.
The downside of its simplicity is the lack of features around design, analytics, referrals etc.
🧩 SYSTEM & PRODUCTIVITY
How do you follow what’s going on on the island? How do you manage curation?
A mixture of social channels, Google alerts and keeping detailed notes in Asana recurring tasks.
What is your typical weekly process from creating to releasing a new issue?
Typically, collecting and curating all the information through the week and then sitting down to put the issue together on Wednesday. Sending out every Thursday morning.
For interviews, I am constantly building a pipeline of future interviews in advance via email.
What is your weekly newsletter content distribution system?
Every Thursday, I will cross-post and tag relevant people about the latest issue on Instagram, Reddit and sometimes Facebook.
I also do some individual outreach via email to let people know they have been included in the latest issue.
🎢 NEWSLETTER EXPERIENCE
How did writing The Mallorcan contribute to your life both professionally and personally?
It’s been an amazing way to both develop professionally by shipping a real project with growing metrics and also personally by being able to meet so many great people where I live.
What is the biggest AHA moment along this journey?
That there really can be a business for any imaginable niche as long as you create value for a group of people.
What is the most challenging part of writing a newsletter and how do you handle it?
Nothing is overly challenging as it’s a fun process and relevant to my interests but the one important part is to have interviews lined up in advance. Otherwise, it can cause stress if left to the last minute.
Can you tell us about one big mistake along your newsletter journey?
Trying to do Facebook ads without understanding effective ad creation or my unit economics.
It was way too early and I learned there was no need to rush and I could return to it later.
What is next on your newsletter journey?
In the short-term, investing more in growth channels like SEO and Tik Tok to help grow the list.
In the long-term, I have some crazy ideas like potentially writing a book about Mallorca, expanding to neighboring islands like Ibiza and potentially a more focussed edition of the newsletter about properties.
What would it be if you had the right to give one piece of advice to aspiring newsletter creators?
Be consistent and be patient.
I have tried other newsletters and given up after a few issues. Here, I was patient and consistent and good things started to happen.
What are your favorite newsletters that you can’t wait for the next issue?
Any final words?
Thank you for the opportunity to be featured here. I’m super excited about the newsletter space and love that you’re shining a light on all the amazing creators out there.
Thank you so much, Ida.
Now, I know what to do if I move to a new place :) Looking forward to reading your book and discovering Ibiza with your new newsletter!
🔗 Where to find Ida Jakobson and her work
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading.
If you liked reading this, don’t be shy to click the ❤️ button on this post and leave your comment (so that more people can discover it on Substack).
See you next Sunday.
Ciler - (@cilerdemiralp)
I'm just getting started on my writing journey, and your article is golden. Very helpful.
Great to see another local newsletter after 6AM city.
I really like your new direction and am excited about newsletter niches.
You may create a form to collect the favorite newsletters of your followers as well. :)