Automating my newsletter creation process

A glimpse into how I create my monthly email newsletter. In this post, I discuss my discovery, automated review and curation process.

Discovery Process

When you create a curated newsletter like mine you need a consistent stream of interesting content flowing your way consistently. To put things into perspective, 4.4 million blog posts are published every day. That staggering figure is only for blogs.

Organisation Workflow

Newsletter Creation Process

Now that I have decided on the content I want to feature the next stage is bringing it all together in the newsletter CMS. Admittedly, this part of the process is pretty manual for the time being. However, if you want to take it to the next level and become a black belt in Zapier and automate the creation process then check out Michael Gill’s incredible step to step tutorial. I personally like to write out a summary for the content I include and this part can’t be automated. Yet …. (hello GPT-3).‍

  1. Consider combining Stoop and Feedly — essentially choosing just one RSS reader.
  2. Reducing the amount of content featured each month. It’s a packed newsletter and at times I feel it could be a little overwhelming to read.‍

Parting Wisdom

If I could give a few pieces of advice for anyone considering creating a newsletter it would be:

  • Show up consistently. Decide on a manageable frequency and stick to it for a while. This gives you enough time to work on your process and refine it. Start with bi-weekly or monthly. If you find this is manageable and your metrics are strong then consider making it more frequent.
  • Survey your subscribers. Find out who they are, what brought them to your newsletter, what do they want to see more or less of, what interests them.
  • Always ask your subscribers to provide feedback at the end of your newsletter. Make sure your just a reply away (NO no-reply email addresses)
  • Don’t be afraid to remove inactive subscribers. If they haven’t opened your last 5 newsletters I doubt they will open the sixth. Don’t carry dead weight and don’t get too obsessed with the classic subscriber number vanity metric. It’s how many people open it and how many clicks through to any links that matter.
  • Treat each newsletter sent as an experiment during the early stages. Try new subject titles, days/times to send it, format, layout and content. Ask your subscribers to provide their feedback and iterate from there.‍

Newsletter Stack

  • Pocket — Saving content from my mobile device and via the Chrome extension
  • Airtable — Storing all the newsletter content I’m considering and need to review
  • Zapier — Linking Pocket to Airtable
  • Revue — Newsletter creation tool
  • Feedly — RSS feed I use to scour blogs I follow
  • Stoop — RSS feed for the newsletters I subscribe to
  • SoundCloud: Hosting my audio podcast version

Lead Product Manager @ucreate_ & Founder @nocodetech (acquired) + BetaTesta — www.samdickie.me

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