There is a cultural difference that makes British speakers way more appealing to me I guess.
I tried "this week in tech" but it was too much "headlines" talk. Also I totally dislike the style compared BBC podcasts for example. I can listen to BBC podcasts while I work without getting tired or distracted.
I know that all the best stuff is waiting for chill time on Sunday...
- I seem to like the weekly selection; the editorial choices on which articles are likely to be of interest of the group.
- Kale includes older posts, sometimes from months back, sometimes more obscure or funny, that are still interesting to read now.
- I get the top stories in a weekly email that I can process weekly. If I feel I've kept myself reasonably up to date with current news, that means a quick scan. But after a couple of weeks of vacation, processing just three issues of Hacker Newsletter is sufficient to catch up.
By the way, http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/ is also convenient to catch up after a long time.
It's a general trivia email. Every day I send a fun fact of the true story behind it.
Been writing for seven years. Not going to disclose how much I make a month, but I describe it as not quite full time job money but a lot more than beer money.
We wouldn't be talking about newsletters right now were it not for efforts like yours.
Love your emails, always look forward to reading them in the morning.
* Amazon affiliate ads
* Network ads
* Two books/audiobooks out
* Working on content syndication
I've got 445 subscribers that pay $5/m or $50/yr for it. No ads, no tracking, but I do insert affiliate links - primarily eBay.
Costs me about ~$1000/yr to run (Mailchimp, web hosting for a Wordpress blog & Discourse forum and Zapier costs mainly).
This financial year (July 1st 2016 to June 30th 2017), revenue sits at about AUD$18,000. I expect around ~$30,000 next year if there's 0% paid subscriber growth and affiliate link revenue stays the same.
Those running costs, the $1,000/year, seems a bit high. Should be able to get that down I reckon? I'm willing to help out on this front for a free sub' :)
Let me know.
I'm working on getting costs down, but prefer to put my energy into content and marketing at this stage.
Any reading tips and ideas on marketing?
Currently there's a ~20% conversion rate from trial to paid. Used to be around 30% for a while, but as more strangers - i.e: people that don't follow me on Twitter, don't know me from other sources such as my freelance tech writing or podcasting - sign up that's dropping slowly.
Getting people to sign up for a free trial is my main focus and success there comes in ups and downs. So many hours wasted on things that don't work, but every now and then something unexpected goes well and I get a spike in people signing up for the trial (and hence, become paid subscribers in 2-3-4 weeks after their trial ends).
I haven't done a lot of tweaking to determine if I'd get more conversions if I slowed down the pace of the up-sell emails though.
I make money from a variety of sources on it, including affiliate links, sponsorships (I recently had some success with http://upstart.me on this front), donations from readers (both Patreon and PayPal, because folks want options), banner ads, and fees for syndicating the content to outlets like Vice's Motherboard.
The pieces are written more like stories than link roundups, giving them an evergreen appeal. This week I wrote about the history of the 911 system; last week I wrote about CGA graphics and Windex. It actually has a smaller profile than my last project, ShortFormBlog, but it's more sustainable from a financial and work-life balance perspective.
Last month, I did a T-shirt sale with the help of a vendor (Vacord Screen Printing, http://vacord.com) and made a few hundred dollars through that.
All of this together is not enough to stop me from working a day job, but the mixture of sources and the fact that I syndicate content helps build exposure and ensures that if one source is weaker than another on a different month, the whole machine doesn't fall apart.
If you want to run a profitable newsletter, be willing to rely on more than one revenue stream.
- Stratechery (Ben Thompson) - $100k/month (conservative estimate) via subscriptions (https://www.stratechery.com)
- WTF Just Happened Today (Matt Kiser) - $8k/month via Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/wtfjht)
In early 2015 he said he just passed 2,000 paying subscribers. 
In an interview from February this year he didn't say anything specific about customer numbers but he did say, "Certainly I work hard, but the amount of work I’m doing today is the exact same amount of work I was doing three years ago. The only difference is my income is 100 times higher. And it’s because that $10 scales, and it scales very, very well." 
Of course, who knows what he was making three years ago (he was a "Growth Engineer" at Automattic then according to his LinkedIn profile, fwiw), or whether he meant "100 times" literally or just figuratively for "a lot".
But it doesn't seem unreasonable that he might have well over 10k paying subscribers.
For what it's worth, I'm a paying subscriber. I always enjoy reading his daily updates on my commute in the morning.
 - https://stratechery.com/2015/bloggings-bright-future
 - https://pakwired.com/story-of-ben-thompsons-publishing-empir...
(though the landing page is SFW, the newsletter is not)
I use the newsletter to market tshirts. I sell through about 100 of each design over the course of 2 months. It pays for hosting and funds the next shirt.
List growth has been slow and steady and im looking to increase my shirt order on the next design.
My most popular newsletters are about Python (https://python.libhunt.com/newsletter/58), Go (https://go.libhunt.com/newsletter/58) & Ruby (https://ruby.libhunt.com/newsletter/58)
P.S. it took me around 13 months to reach the 5k subs...
We have 289,000 on the newsletter which represents a large group of VC, tech M&A, corporate strategy and startup folks interested in data-driven discussion of technology trends. It's the primary way we sell subscriptions to our SaaS platform.
We messed around with ads in the newsletter but they don't monetize nearly as well as the "house ads" to our data/product or to our events.
It's our company's golden goose.
That and the Quora digest are the only non-work emails I read.
I've been subscribed to many of his newsletters for years. They are very valuable and well curated, and going through the previous editions is a good way to catch up on a few months of trends and things.
Interview here: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/scotts-cheap-flights
And that was an interesting interview, thanks for the link.
I should probably spend more time finding sponsorship.
Question: Is there any way you could make the newsletter so that long titles don't text wrap on wide screens? Example: http://imgur.com/a/vlCE8
I see what you mean. I'll investigate it, however designing html emails is kinda like black magic (although less nowadays since Gmail supports responsive design from October 2016) so no promises!
I have a sign up form at the bottom of my site and use double opt-in to make sure people really want to subscribe. I also periodically trim the list down by removing people who don't open or click anything. I figure 1000 subscribers and a 50% open rate is better than 5000 and a 10% open rate as the list is more highly engaged. Plus on MailChimp you're wasting $$ sending to people who don't engage.
The two times I've tried this I've had a number of responses asking why they made their way onto the list as they enjoy the email but block any tracking. Just a word of warning.
The first time I tried it silently and got a lot of people very annoyed they were removed. The second time I actively emailed people and they were similarly offended. I now don't bother (though if open rates were low, I'd probably just do it again).
Totally makes sense. Do you "silently remove" the people who don't open or click anything, or do you send them a notification that they were removed before removing them?
I write cron.weekly , a weekly newsletter on Linux & open source. When I started around 2y ago there wasn't much competition.
I'm at 6k subscribers now and making roughly 1k (eur) a month via sponsorships. Members don't pay, it's entirely sponsor driven.
It took a little over a year of hard work for free before the first sponsor landed, right now it's pretty good value for the time I put in. As the subscribers grow, that ratio should only get better.
NtK pioneered some things that got taken up elsewhere: dohgifs highlighted terrible algorithmic placement of online ads next to news stories. Private Eye now does this as Malgorithms.
A newsletter like this would fare better now we have things like Patreon.
It lists artist studios, coworking and apartment sublets, mostly in NYC and probably does about $500k in revenue year.
Weekly newsletters have been averaging about 300-325 listings @ $30 per week. There are also sponsored emails that I'm sure are in the thousands of dollars per email.
In the indie book publishing world, I subscribe to a paid newsletter called The Hot Sheet (http://hotsheetpub.com/). I pay $60/year or thereabouts, which I think is reasonable considering the insights, analysis, and tips I get every 2 weeks. I doubt it's a full-time income for the two writers, but on the other hand I don't think it's a full-time writing gig, either.
It's worth noting that in many of these niches there is very little in the way of established trade pubs as print magazines covering the industry have folded or become shadows of their former selves when they moved online. It doesn't surprise me that some of the more talented or insightful writers have decided to launch their own brands and build their own audiences.
Another one I know of that is successfully getting a good following is www.thesizzle.com.au
The newsletter fills probably 3/4 of the placements and then I use the other placements to promote conferences that I love. This is usually in exchange for a ticket (which I give away if I can't attend) and media sponsorship which gives the newsletter some extra exposure.
I only introduced advertising after the subscribers reached over 5000 and the Mailchimp costs became a little too much, now it's sitting just over 29k subscribers. It's a great side project that I'd love to invest more time towards but at the moment it makes enough to cover mailchimp, servers, cloudflare, speedcurve and allows me to patron a couple of other newsletters that I love.
At this stage, my pitiful MRR covers costs, etc but not all the time I put in. Soon as I get to 10k+, at $25/cpm it starts adding up to $1k a month, which is a little less painful to look at. :)
It was roundabout 5 years just editing and making no money. Now it's making money - but just a side income.
1. Content is king!
2. Start to build a community (if you link someone in your newsletter just ping him on twitter).
3. Go to community events.
Doing ads on Facebook and Twitter actually didn't work that well.
That said, email is just another medium. There's no one way to make money just like there's no one way to make money with an app.
I'm guessing it's not the kind of newsletter you meant, but we make millions selling ads in B2B email newsletters.
(p.s. I'm hiring developers and data engineers)