3 Strategies to Integrate Email Into Your Writing
Who doesn’t check their email?
As much as we like to complain about our inboxes becoming burdensome, we all check our email. It’s become the primary mode of reliable communication.
I’ve been contemplating the Substack bandwagon. I’ve subscribed to a few people and I really enjoy it. For anyone growing their writing, it’s a good option to explore.
Paying for Email Content?
With so much free content out there, it’s hard to think about paying for email content that doesn’t have “exceptional” value. Unless your email content brings you something completely unique that you can’t get anywhere else, it’s hard to make a case for taking money.
There’s definitely a case to be made for substack and other email content programs.But, the question I ask myself — of all the emails I subscribe to, which ones would I pay for? If I’m being completely sincere, maybe two. That’s also still a maybe.
So if I’m not willing to pay for email content that easily, why would I assume someone else will?
Should you Still Do Email?
Sites like Medium are definitely a better option. What you pay in subscription fees is nothing compared to the value you get. With $5, I can read hundreds of articles from hundreds of different writers. I don’t have to question whether subscribing is worth it. If an article doesn’t particularly appeal to me, I can move on to the next one and not feel cheated at all. This is also probably why the writing is better on Medium. When people don’t feel pressured to deliver, they often end up delivering their best work.
However, a newsletter or a weekly email can be really beneficial to building an audience. The prime reason is that the reader doesn’t have to do anything. Everyone at least opens their emails, and if you can you manage some level of engagement, you may have a fan for life.
So yes, you should definitely do email — but maybe it doesn’t have to be monetized right away.
Here’s what I’m doing to bring it all together.
Strategy #1 Have a Plan for Your Content
The issue with both Medium and Substack, is that your content is not completely yours. I’d written about this a few days ago. If these sites decide to shut down, you lose your content. So, the best idea is probably to have your own personal website. But, building a follower base can be absolutely exhausting. It’s so much easier to get readership with ready-made platforms.
Quite possibly the best solution is to integrate everything — your website, your Medium site, and your email newsletter. Who says that you can’t post the same content on all three? As long as you’re self-publishing, there shouldn’t be any restrictions on how many places you decide to publish your own content.
The plan for email though should be less frequent. While people love getting mail, no one wants their inbox to be flooded. As easy as it is to reach an audience, it’s just as easy to get directly deleted if you’re irritating people with too many emails. Medium is different. The more you post, the more engagement you get. But, you can’t do that with email.
My strategy: Email once in two weeks to start
Strategy # 2 — Choose a Form
You have two options for email content — link posts or long form.
Link posts are emails that carry links to all your work. Through Medium, you can send out a weekly newsletter that gives the reader links of all your posts. Long form on the other hand is more what people are doing on Substack. Essentially, it’s a blog post in an email and it can be as long as you want it to be, with pictures and graphics.
Combine your posts into one long email. If each post is a thousand words long, this can get tedious but, it’s an option nevertheless. Particularly, if they carry the same theme.
My Strategy: Combine a Summary of Posts within the Same Theme with Links to Full Content
Strategy# 3 — Start Only When You’re Ready
Unlike Medium, you can’t just dive into email and get good along the way. I feel you need to start out with some really strong content and keep up a regular schedule if you want to keep subscribers. With all the emails we receive on a daily basis, hitting subscribe is a very careful choice I make myself. So I can’t expect others to jump unless I’m giving them something worth reading.
I also think once people have decided to unsubscribe, it’s close to impossible to get that person back. That’s not the case with Medium or any other social media site. People who see your content has improved will probably follow you back. But, email isn’t that easy.
My Strategy: Start building Email Content by the first Quarter of 2021 giving me almost 4 months to get it right.
I think emails and newsletters are really powerful. I may not open an app, I may not open a website but, I’ll definitely open my email. You just can’t live without it. I love subscribing to good email content. It stays in your inbox and you can read it whenever you please. Also, if there are tips you want to remember, you can just keep it forever. People always scroll through old emails as well. So, unlike social media feeds, you can hold onto your reader and not just be yesterday’s news.