📜 Making a podcast newsletter that works 📜
Plus, some examples to inspire you
Happy Friday! It’s my birthday weekend so I, for one, am so excited that Friday is finally here.
Today, we’re beating the age-old drum we’ve been banging on about - the magic of newsletters for a podcast. If you’ve been subscribed to this newsletter for a while or attended any of our Podcast Therapy sessions, you likely know how much we believe in the power of newsletters.
In the past, we’ve talked about why you should start a podcast newsletter and how a newsletter can be used to create a community around your podcast. Now, let’s talk about how to make a podcast newsletter that works.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Why you should have one
Content ideas for a newsletter
Newsletter platforms we love
How to grow your newsletter
How to not grow your newsletter
How to make money
Examples of great newsletters
All our regular sections are at the bottom. Scroll past this, if you so wish.
🤷♀️ Why you should have one
Your newsletter is an audience you own. You don’t own your Apple Podcasts subscribers. You can’t email them. You’ll have direct contact with the people subscribed to your newsletter.
It’s an extra layer to your relationship with your fans.
You can use it as leverage for partnerships of all kinds. Add it to the mix when you’re bartering for any type of swapping. (That’s valuable real estate! Sweeten the deal with a mention of your partner in your newsletter.)
Newsletters are hot right now! (Especially as people become more exasperated with Twitter.)
💡Content ideas for a newsletter
Podcaster, writer, or any type of creator, we can all agree on one thing — a blank page is intimidating. We’ve got you!
A podcast newsletter will ideally create a unique experience for the reader. You should think: can someone enjoy this newsletter on its own, without having listened to the podcast? Here are some ways to do that:
Share bonus content that works better as written content, rather than audio. (A personal note, guided meditation, a recipe, etc.)
Share behind-the-scenes stuff: People want to see your recording space, photos of you, outtakes, etc!
Focus on ratings and reviews. You could share the ones that said good things about you or even (ironically) share the ones that said not-so-nice things.
Share show notes and links. If there were things referenced in your episodes that require follow-up, go ahead and share those!
Share the backstory. Often, we don’t get to dig deep into the purpose of the episode on the show itself. This is a good place to do that.
Share credits. I am such a huge fan of credits, as evidenced by my own newsletter. You can share credits for your episodes on your newsletter.
Share press. Has someone covered your podcast on a blog or in another newsletter? Now’s the time to brag.
Drive people to your archive. You can remind people of past episodes that might be relevant again or just classics you love.
➡️ Newsletter platforms we love
Here are some newsletter platforms to get started on:
Substack, which we obviously love and highly recommend, is so simple and easy. (There are limited options for how you can format things, but that’s what makes it so easy!) You can also insert audio clips easily into a Substack newsletter. It’s a great option for creators of all kinds.
One thing we love about Substack is the ability to recommend other newsletters, and have them recommend you back! It makes the reading experience more social.
Mailchimp, for those who use more design elements in their newsletters. (This is better for brands/companies.)
Constant Contact, for those who love analytics and ease of duplication.
Convert Kit, if you are offering a course or need people to receive different issues at different times as part of a long, multi-part campaign.
Have you used any of these or others that you have strong opinions on? Tell us!
📢 How to grow your newsletter
Okay, let’s talk about ways to actually get people to read this newsletter.
Honestly, I could write an essay on how to grow your newsletter and I probably will someday. Today is not that day. Today, I’m just touching on a few ways you can do this:
Add value. This might seem obvious, but make sure you’re not just sharing your latest episode. Think: why would people subscribe? What are they getting that they wouldn’t get if they were only listening to your show?
Add it to your website. Add a pop-up and/or a form on your website, inviting visitors to sign up to your newsletter.
Subscribe to other newsletters. Engaging with newsletters, either other podcast newsletters or just those similar in theme to yours, is a great way to route people to your newsletter. Disclaimer — do NOT engage with other newsletters just to plug yours in. Be genuine and thoughtful.
Share on social media. Ugh. I know and I’m sorry but this does work. Pro-tip: Substack helps a LOT with this. After you publish a post, Substack emails you share cards to easily share to social media and even gives you assets.
Share on your podcast. Mention the newsletter exists, on your podcast. If you’re ever running low on audio content, you can also do a special episode about comments and responses to your newsletter.
Include outsiders. Including other people in the podcast industry will get more people to share it. Think about doing an interview series. (“5 questions with…”) Don’t forget to tag them on social media!
Swap with other podcasts. Looking for newsletters that might want to partner with you on cross-promos? Check out Tink’s Newsletter Database.
❌ How to not grow your newsletter
Do not sign people up for your newsletter without asking them first. In the UK it’s illegal. Worldwide, it’s just rude! (And they’ll probably just unsubscribe.)
How to make money
Make a rate card. (You can have several options—text only, text and image, long, short) and link to it in your newsletter. Create a Google form that lets people seamlessly sign up.
The CPM for a healthy newsletter is between $15 and $30. (That’s the amount an advertiser pays per one thousand visitors who see the ad.)
Many newsletter platforms allow for a paywall. Always offer a free version.
🔴 Examples of great newsletters
We asked the Tink team to share some podcast newsletters they loved. Here’s a few to check out:
Rough Translation’s newsletter.
Articles of Interest’s newsletter.
Ear Hustle’s newsletter.
The Sporkful’s newsletter.
Poetry Unbound’s newsletter.
Podcast Bestie’s newsletter.
Dog Save the People’s newsletter.
Hope this helps in helping you start your newsletter-inspired-by-podcast journey. We want to make it as easy as can be for you to make this newsletter. So if you have any questions, let us know.
🦄 52 Weeks of Podcast Growth
Optimize your metadata. Super important to cover your bases and optimizing your metadata is one of those. Faybeo’n Mickens wrote a guest post on why there’s more to metadata than meets the eye.
If you’re new here, read the previous weeks’ tips to start implementing them at your own pace.
From the Desk of Tink
Important Not Important is science for people who give a sh*t. Want to feel better AND unf*ck the world? The 6-time Webby nominee delivers deep conversations with the world's smartest people (scientists, doctors, CEO's, farmers, and more!), and digestible news updates every single week, loaded with tips and steps you and we can take to fix this place right up. We're talkin' clean energy and coral reefs, COVID vaccines and pediatric cancer research, clean water and carbon capture tech, asteroid deflection and artificial intelligence ethics.
✨ More Magic
Have you called the Pod-at-me hotline lately? Leave us a recommendation at the beep!
Lauren shared how to make the best of your podcast’s back catalog.
Last week, I shared The Sounds of Pride on my newsletter, if that’s your thing.
On Sounds Profitable, Tom Webster shares the five things that will need to happen for podcast revenue to double by 2025.
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Meanwhile, in Podcast Therapy…
This and last week we had great Podcast Therapy sessions with:
Adoption: The Making of Me: Sarah Reinhardt and Louise Browne get real and raw, but with empathy, on all things adoption. The two former business partners and adult adoptees share their experiences and have intimate conversations with other adoptees.
Visionaries: The audio drama is a sci-fi set in the year 2185. The story follows the friction between the two human races of the Visionaries and the Dead-eye slaves.
Opt In: Melissa Franks shares stories, experiences, and special guests on the show, to take the mystery out of how to succeed in the corporate world. Opt In is a place where you can come to get practical, actionable advice to propel your career and your life in the direction you want.
Fuck It Button: The F*ck it button is saying no to fear, shame, over thinking and judgement. Creative, entrepreneur and mentor Zoe Lem chats with a whole host of fascinating humans from all walks of life, including singers, writers, artists, performers, entrepreneurs, academics and well-being experts about when they have, would, could and should press their F*ck it Button.
During these sessions, we tackled questions about partnerships, pitching to other podcasts for interviews, pitching to apps, improving content, and more. If you’re interested in signing up for Podcast Therapy yourself, learn more here!
PMM will always be free for readers but, we are also always looking for sponsors. Our sponsorship packages start at $50 (and are named after wizard classes.) Write to email@example.com for more info!