How To Start a Newsletter Readers Love With Terry Godier of Indie Mailer

How To Start a Newsletter

How to start a newsletter.

I spent a long time recently Googling that question.

When I started my new newsletter 100% Unfinished, I studied how the experts do it.

One person who knows a lot about profitable newsletters is Terry Godier of Indie Mailer, a membership community for newsletter owners.

He also runs the popular newsletter for digital marketers

In this interview, we cover:

  • Why every nonfiction writer should start a newsletter
  • How writers earn a living from a newsletter
  • Which newsletters are so popular this year
  • What makes a good newsletter
  • What newsletter promotion strategies he recommends 

And lots more

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Bryan: If you've been writing for a while sooner or later, you're going to want somebody to read your work. Hi there, my name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast.

Bryan: Lately, I've been reflecting on newsletters. Why newsletters? Well, social media is great and all for posting your blog posts and your articles. But let's face it, people are overwhelmed with all of the information on social media. Whereas when something goes into your inbox, it can feel a little bit more personal.

Bryan: So a couple of months ago, I set up my own newsletter on a platform called SOSTAC. SOSTAC actually takes all the technical headache out of starting a newsletter. Basically, you set up an account, and then all you have to do is publish content, and it will send it straight to people's inbox or to their email account. And your job then is to simply create the content, and if you can, attract subscribers to your newsletter.

Bryan: There's a little bit more to it than that, of course, I mean, attracting subscribers texts a bit of work. So what I've been doing is writing articles on platforms like Medium. So I'll write articles about topics like creativity, or writing, or even parenting, or more colorful pieces, or entrepreneurship, or business. And I'll put a call to action at the bottom of those posts, and that call to action and will take people over to my SOSTAC newsletter. And they'll be prompted them to either read an article for free or to join the newsletter.

Bryan: And of course, a platform like SOSTAC also helps writers monetize their work. Because if you have a certain amount of subscribers, you can ask people to start paying. And I've been wondering lately about whether to ask people, to pay to support the newsletter, because there was a cost in terms of time and maybe some tools that you might use, but also whether you should ask people to pay because they want additional content. So for example, some insider articles or perhaps audio versions of those articles.

Bryan: So these were the types of questions that I had when I started my newsletter a couple of months ago, and I still had some of these questions. So I found a community that helps people, that helps creative professionals who have started a newsletter, and the community is called IndieMailer. And basically, you can go into IndieMailer, and you can ask all these questions and get answers from other people who've started and grown profitable newsletter businesses.

Bryan: And their founder is Terry Godier, and I recently had the chance to catch up with Terry. And that's what we talk about in this week's podcast interview. Terry explains how he got into setting up newsletters in the first place, and he also talks about one of his other newsletter ventures, Panoply.

Bryan: Terry also explains how often somebody should publish a newsletter, what goes into making a good name for your newsletter, and also when you should monetize and how much you should charge. In other words, all those questions that might be holding you back as a writer from earning a living from your work online. There's lots of other things we get into in the interview. But before we start, I do have an ask.

Bryan: If you've enjoyed the Become a Writer Today podcast to date, or if you're enjoying this episode, if you could leave a review on the iTunes store or wherever you're listening to the podcast, because when you leave a review or even when you rate the show, it will help more readers find it or more listeners in this case. So if more listeners will find the Become a Writer Today podcast, that will obviously help the show grow a lot faster and help more writers.

Bryan: So if you're enjoying the content, or if you enjoy this week's interview with Terry, you can take a moment to leave a review and rate the show that would really mean a lot.

Bryan: Now, let's get over to this week's interview where I catch up with Terry. And I started by asking him to give me a bit of background about how he set up the community for newsletter writers, IndieMailer, and I was surprised when he told me he's been doing this since 2002.

Terry: I started out doing Internet marketing in 2002. I was in high school. I was 15 years old, and I was doing something called SEO before I even knew that other people were doing it as well, trying to get things ranked in the various search engines. And I continued doing that until I stumbled across some communities of people that were doing that. And I realized there was a name for what I was doing, and there was a lot of first hand information that I could leverage and learn from other people's mistakes. So I became a part of that community. And in a large way, that community has kind of shaped how I think about the web and that early community has kind of shaped how I think about marketing in many ways. So that is all I've ever done. Never done anything else other than the marketing stuff.

Terry: And in 20