Collect Email Addresses Before It’s Too Late

But what if you are a writer who doesn’t have a self-hosted blog, and you only write and publish on a platform like Medium? Or, you are an author who is about to release a book — do you still need a newsletter?

Collect Email Addresses Before It’s Too Late
You should have a newsletter too

If you’ve been reading the web for a while now, it becomes fairly obvious that if you have a blog, you should have a mailing list and newsletter. But what if you are a writer who doesn’t have a self-hosted blog, and you only write and publish on a platform like Medium? Or, you are an author who is about to release a book — do you still need a newsletter?

The answer is YES!

The mailing list is your key to be able to talk to your biggest fans, and a newsletter acts as your megaphone. Even if you only can have a link to your sign-up form in your social media profiles or at the end of your Medium stories, you should be building a list right now — today. The further good news is that Medium allows you to collect email addresses now, so even if you don’t get a service like ConvertKit, you can at least get started on your list.

I read the stories of successful writers, influencers, and digital marketers, and the one thing that most of them always say is they wished they had started their mailing list and newsletter sooner. Even if you are publishing your first post, you should already be figuring out the mechanics of everything you need to collect your fan’s email addresses. There is a steep learning curve unless you are using something like Substack, GhostPro, or Revue.

What Do I Need to Start a Mailing List and Newsletter?

Affiliate marketers will be rolling their eyes when I say you don’t need to spend a lot of money on software or time setting everything up. There are some solutions out there that are not only easy but free or close to it!

For example, take the email database, newsletter, podcasting, and blogging platform, Substack. It will handle the job of collecting and storing your fan’s email addresses, but the power comes when you can create a post, and it will publish it as both an emailed newsletter and a blog post hosted at your unique URL. And guess what, until you want to start making money from your newsletter with premium subscriptions, everything they offer is free!

You can also use Ghost Pro, as I did with my newsletter for Blog Differently. It allows you to start collecting email addresses and as you grow your list, send out newsletters. You even have a blog listing of posts that you can connect to your own unique domain name. You can even set it up so you can start collecting a fee for your newsletter, as I did.

Now that I’ve used both SubStack in the past and GhostPro for a few months recently, there really is very little about them I don’t like. There could be some more formatting options in SubStack and it would be nice to use my own domain name, but everything is so simple and minimal, I shudder to think of a time when they change it too much and it becomes another complicated piece of software.

Ghost pro is almost perfect and I have very little to complain about.

Another option for a mailing list and newsletter is Revue. I just found out about this platform, but from what I hear, the newsletters you create are fantastic! You can have sponsors, banner ads, and set up affiliate programs. It does cost about $5 a month for <200 subscribers for the PRO plan, but I hear great things from the people who are using it, so it must be worth it.

The other option is to use a mailing list software like ConvertKit or MailerLite, but they both do allow you to create and send out newsletters. The problem with these options is that they are complicated and expensive, although MailerLite is free up to a certain number of subscribers. If you want more control over your list, this may be what you want to try.

How Do I Get People to Give Me Their Email Address?

I publish on Medium almost every day, so it’s a no-brainer for me that I want to promote my newsletter in my profile and on each story that relates to blogging. I started a few months ago with zero subscribers and now have well over 450 without even trying very hard.

I am in the process of adding it to my other social media accounts. I already have it set up on my Facebook page, and am trying to figure out the best places on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you have your own blog and get traffic regularly, it is one of the best places to find fans and friends. Add a newsletter and mailing list opt-in to the sidebar or even have one of those exit pop-ups that ask for an email address. You won’t be sorry.

Where can you share your newsletter signup link?

  • Facebook post
  • Facebook group
  • Tweet it out
  • Put it in your email signature
  • Instagram story
  • Pin it on Pinterest
  • Link it from your YouTube banner
  • Email it to all your friends and family, asking them to pass it on
  • Tattoo it on your butt and run naked through Walmart singing “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. Hey, it’s free, unless you have to post bail!

Get creative and find new ways to get the word out about your newsletter, and try to stay out of jail.

A Final Word

A mailing list and newsletter will be the single best investment of time and money you can make to your career as a writer. Being able to get in touch with your fans at any time is priceless, and your list is something that will follow you around no matter what type of software you may be using.

Yes, even a new writer needs a newsletter that will grow as you get closer to success and notoriety. It’s best to start it as soon as possible, because, what if? What if your post goes viral and everybody is clamoring to find out who you are? What if your first book becomes a bestseller?

You always have to think of the “what if?”

Start your list — send out your first newsletter next week — even if you only have one subscriber.

You never know what will happen.

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