Are you wanting to learn how to create a blog newsletter…but you aren’t sure where to start? In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to have a solid framework for your newsletter!
If there is one thing I would tell myself when I first started blogging, it would be this:
Start a newsletter.
Newsletters can feel overwhelming, but it is one of the few platforms you have true control over.
You have all those emails at your disposal. Sure, you have to battle with spam folders and unengaged followers – but it’s a lot easier than battling with the ever-changing algorithms with social media.
Plus, I think emails are a great way to connect with your readers on a more personal basis and create raving fans.
My email list has helped me launched several successful courses, sell thousands of dollars in products, and generate traffic to my website for new AND old content.
At this point, my email list is segmented out into lots of different categories, and it’s a little bit complicated. However, in this post, I will be going over just the basics to getting started – I’m really big on doing things one step at a time. It really helps avoid getting overwhelmed!
Pick a Provider
First of all, you need to figure out where you will store your emails and send out your newsletter from.
Unfortunately, you really can’t just collect emails from your website and send them out from your
There are many companies that provide these services – some that start out free or very cheap all the way up to ones that cost thousands and thousands of dollars.
For beginners, I usually recommend MailerLite or Mad Mimi.
MailerLite is free for the first 1,000 subscribers, and it has affordable tiers moving up from there.
Mad Mimi starts at $10 a month.
I find both of these companies to be pretty user-friendly, easy to setup, and they are typically pretty compatible with a lot of optin companies.
The cost you will pay – regardless of what company you use – will go up when you get more subscribers.
Personally, I use ConvertKit. It is pricier than some, but it has all the features I need for what I do with my email list. I think it’s a great company, and at some point or another, I do recommend switching to it.
If you are one of those people who doesn’t want to change after a few months or a year, you can definitely start out with it.
For most people, though? I don’t recommend switching to ConvertKit until you are able to make money through your list – my goal is to at least make back what I pay for the service each month (some months I make more, some months I make less, but overall, I make a lot more in a year than I pay to ConvertKit through my email, so it’s 100% worth it).
There are tons of email providers out there, so feel free to read reviews – be aware that many of those reviews are fueled by affiliate links 🙂 I am using mine above, but these are companies I have used myself and can endorse. I use MailerLite for quite some time until I switched to ConvertKit. They have added a lot of new features as of late, as well.
Once you’ve selected your provider, go through their signup process so you can get ready to roll!
Find an Optin
Now that you have your email provider all set up, you need a way to collect emails.
If you are using WordPress and a Genesis-powered theme, at the most simple level, you can use something called Genesis eNews Extended.
It’s a simple box that you can just connect to your email provider and place at different places on your website.
When you are just getting started, I think it’s important just to have SOMETHING setup so you don’t miss out on subscribers.
With that said, I do recommend getting a more robust
Believe me, I’ve tried many of them 🙂
Personally, I have used Thrive Leads from Thrive Themes- it’s very inexpensive for a lifetime subscription, which is something I always like. I’ve also used Thrive Themes Quiz Builder, which has been really awesome for building my email list as well.
I will say it can be a bit glitchy at times, and I can’t always get it to work the way I want. But it’s been good to me over the years, and it has tons of optins you can use.
One of my my websites, I use Bloom from Elegant Themes. It’s a pretty simple to setup, and I like the optins it has available. It connects with most major email providers.
I have also used HelloBar in the past. I really like the bar at the top of the page, and I find that it converts pretty well. They have a free plan, but they recently updated some of their paid plans to be way out of my budget (over $100 a month for me!), so I’ve stopped using it. It’s great for people with
One of the fastest ways I’ve grown my email list is through my Facebook groups, but that’s a post for another day.
Setup an RSS
Having a newsletter is more than just sending out an RSS of every post – but I think it’s a good place to start.
It can easily be the basis of a great newsletter – and in my opinion, if it helps you get your newsletter out, then great!
For some of my segments, I have ConvertKit
I do this with my food newsletter. Every time I have a new recipe go up, I can just jump into ConvertKit, find that the email has been created, and then I can easily change parts of it.
I’ll add a little more personality, maybe some tips, and occasionally I’ll throw in an affiliate link or promotion that is relevant.
I have also set up an RSS for all my blog posts. Although I only send one email a month to my entire list, I have a “General List” that I send an email to about once a week with posts from the previous week. ConvertKit pulls in my posts from the previous week, creates an email, and then I go in and add some more content in.
This just helps make the process a little bit easier for me.
Decide your Purpose
What is your purpose for sending out an email? Who do you want to signup for it?
Create your “ideal” reader and create your email around them. Chances are, if your blog is like mine with a variety of content, you may have more than one ideal reader.
But when you first start out, just start simple and have one “raving fan” in mind as you create it.
Not all newsletters are going to be the same – some just want to get more traffic to their sites. Others might want to sell their course. Some may want to increase their affiliate links.
And if you are like me…you’ll do a little bit of all those things.
But start by deciding what your main purpose is and build your strategy around that.
Create Your Hook
It’s easy to just throw up a subscription box that says, “Signup for our weekly newsletter.”
But honestly…it’s not very enticing.
You need to come up with a good reason for people to signup for your newsletter.
The biggest “hooks” that I see people using are:
- Free Printables
- Free eBooks
- Mini Courses
Personally, I have used printables, eBooks,
I have found that my
Courses can be easily created from exisiting content on your website. For instance, for my Cricut subscribers, I just created a five day “intro to Cricut” course. I took five of my popular Cricut blog posts, wrote a brief synopsis of it in an email, and it goes out to everyone who signs up.
People LOVE it.
With printables, it has really just depended. I offer a free editable Birthday Calendar for subscribers, but the people who subscribe are terrible. They don’t open anything beyond the initial email.
However, I have also offered printables for people who are members of my church, and it’s become one of my engaged lists. I believe that printables are helpful when you are going to be able to create consistent content for that group of people related to what they signed up for.
So take a good, long look at the type of people who are visiting your site and decide what you think they’d love the most.
I have tons of different “hooks” across my website, so you can definitely add more as you go. I do recommend just starting with one that will appeal to your most popular content first and go from there.
Make Them Love You
Easier said than done, I know.
But a huge part of having a successful email list is gaining the trust of your readers.
You don’t want them to groan every time they see an email come through – or, even worse, have them get in the habit of just deleting the email every time it comes through.
You want your readers to look forward to seeing what you have to share.
And this can take time.
I don’t recommend just sending salesy emails all the time. This is the quickest way to make your subscribers really dislike you.
Always add value to the emails you send – you want them to feel like they are getting something from your emails.
It doesn’t have to be something crazy insightful or amazing.
Short and to the point is usually the best way to go!
As with most things with your blog, the best thing is just to get started now!
While you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs trying to make things perfect, someone else is winning over their subscribers that could be learning to love YOU.
It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be functional.
So stop reading this post and GO start your newsletter.
My Newsletter Strategy
I always find it helpful to see what others do, so I thought I’d send out what my strategy
But it might give you some ideas.
Currently, these are my main optins (this will show up on different pages)
- Cricut for Beginners eCourse
- Prenatal Crash eCourse (I get the most signups for this through my “Online Pregnancy Test” quiz I built).
- Breastfeeding eCourse
- Dollar Tree eBook
- Meal Planning Printables
- Various printables for different pages (My printables for my church are most popular. I have other printables for lots of seasonal topics).
- Free mini eCookbook
- 70+ Instant Pot Ideas
- Printable instructions for popular DIY projects
As far as what I email out, this is the general schedule:
- At the beginning of the month, I send one BIG email to my entire list – regardless of their segment. It just has an overview of the past month’s posts, any special deals I want to promote, etc.
- Each week, I send an email with the previous week’s posts to my general list. I usually try to include an affiliate product.
- Any time
This post just touches on the basics, but I think it will give you a good place to start.
I really struggled with my newsletter for a long time – and honestly, sometimes I still do. However, I took two classes that I feel helped push me in the right direction.
Building an Effective Email List – I took this one over a year ago. There were parts I didn’t love, and it made me start feeling like I had to do ALL.THE.PRINTABLES., which, for my site, wasn’t the best idea. But overall, it’s a decent price, and she gives you a good framework for long-term growth and success.
I really like that she is a blogger who doesn’t just blog about blogging…which seems to be the trend with a lot of courses.
Heather runs a very successful family-oriented blog, and she’s been successful with her newsletter that is marketed toward moms/families, which is what initially attracted me to her course. It’s very detailed, and I think it’s a good one to take.
Email on Autopilot – This is a course I was able to take for free. The price is going up, and honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the new price.
But then again, I think most courses cost way too much 🙂
With that said, this course really changed my perspective on my newsletters, and it gave me a kick in the pants I needed to finish a couple of welcome sequences that have been extremely successful for me.
I’ve launched a few courses since I created those, and I credit this email course for giving me the foundation for a successful launch. It really just broke down growing your newsletter with a captivating welcome series in a way that really resonated with me.
And there you have it! Feel free to ask any questions below, and make sure you join our blogging Facebook group.