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Connecting with readers and writers online

read + write
Hi there,
People who work with newsletters often talk about the importance of starting a conversation around your work. But how do you actually do that?
You’re in luck — today, I’m going to talk about ways you can use Twitter to connect with readers and other writers, building a community as you go.
Last week, we spoke about setting up your Twitter profile for success before you embark on the strategies we’ll discuss today. Go ahead and check that out if you missed it, and I’ll meet you back here.
All done? Great. Let’s dive in.
Know who you’re connecting with
The first step that I won’t cover in detail today is: spend time with your people. Community-building is about more than just sharing your newsletter issues or Tweeting links to your sign-up page. It’s about engaging meaningfully with people who share your interests.
Create Lists for subjects you write about, join Spaces, check out Tweets in Topics. Bookmark anything that sparks inspiration, or that you might embed in your next issue.
Once you’ve discovered discussions, engage.
Let the connecting begin
Once you’ve basked in the conversation happening around (and between) other writers and people who share your interests, it’s time to get involved. Establish yourself as a figure in those communities, and gain some followers as you go.
  • Especially if you’re just getting started building your audience, it can be easier to engage in conversations that are already happening than it is to start your own. Keep checking out those Lists you made and searching for key terms. Got something to say? Reply!
  • If you like something you read (a book or article, for example), Tweet about why you liked it, and tag the author.
  • Similarly, if you see a Tweet that you’d like to engage with, you could simply reply to the writer, or Quote Tweet to add your thoughts.
  • You could get tactical here and tag people with a few more followers than you so your Tweet reaches their audience as well as yours — just make sure you’re following the person you tag so it doesn’t look like you’re riding on their coattails without supporting their work.
The important thing here is to be authentic. Your engagement in conversations mustn’t be boilerplate or generic — building relationships on Twitter is, at its heart, building relationships with humans. You have to show you’ve been listening. 🧡
Starting conversations
While you’re building your audience and connections, make sure you’re also Tweeting consistently about topics that are relevant to your potential readers.
If someone enjoys one of your contributions to a conversation happening elsewhere, they might check out your profile to see if they’ll follow you. If you followed the advice from last week, it will be set up beautifully — but the second element here is the content. They’ll likely scroll down to see how often you Tweet, and what you Tweet about (that’s the content that will end up in their timeline, after all).
  • Talk about what you’re working on. Twitter is a fast-moving platform that thrives on immediacy. Don’t wait until tomorrow to share something that came to you today.
  • Share examples of your work regularly, but make sure you don’t just Tweet links.
  • If you have something to say that you need more than 280 characters for, or if you want to revisit something you Tweeted about earlier with an update, consider writing a thread. A tip: Make sure each element of your thread contains a discrete, shareable nugget of information (and try not to split sentences across different Tweets in the thread). In general, engagement levels tend to drop with every new Tweet added to a thread, so you might consider keeping the most shareable, interesting information near the top.
As you’re building out your Twitter presence and Tweeting original thoughts and ideas, use that opportunity to drum up interest for your newsletter. Here’s how.
Create a feedback loop between your newsletter and Twitter
On Twitter
Ask questions, and promise to follow up in your newsletter. What subject do your followers you want you to tackle next week? What nugget of information would they like to share with the community on a particular topic? Tweet your question, and share the best responses in a future newsletter issue. Here’s an example from the @revue handle that garnered a lot of replies:
What are your top tips for tackling writer's block?
I shared some of my favorites in a future issue, and directed people back to the original thread on Twitter if they wanted to read more.
Host a weekly Space. Invite people who have an audience that might like your newsletter (if they join, they’ll broadcast the Space to their followers as well). Once you’re running the Space:
  • Pin a Tweet with a link to your sign-up page to the Space and encourage people to subscribe at the end (and a couple of times during the Space). People who enjoy spending time with you in Spaces might be excited to learn they can be members of your inner circle, AKA your newsletter subscriber list.
  • Smartly connect the topics discussed in the Space to what you talk about in your newsletter. That could be in the form of an overview of your most recent issue, a deeper dive, an interview, or even an adjacent topic that might draw in a new audience. Think of the Spaces you’re running and the newsletter you’re writing as a franchise rather than two disconnected things.
In your newsletter
Embed Tweets. Encourage people to click through and add their responses to your questions, and share the best responses from your followers. Write about why you liked their response.
Actively ask people to join the conversation on Twitter. I love how the Latinometrics Weekly (a newsletter sharing data visualizations and insights about Latin American economics) frames their newsletter as the beginning of a discussion being held on various social media platforms. In their most recent issue, they included a “comment of the week”:
Your engaged newsletter readers will often be happy to help you out, so don’t be shy to ask them to get involved on Twitter.
Check the data
Finally, I’d encourage you to keep an eye on your Twitter analytics to discover what type of content works best for you. You’ll see which Tweets performed best in terms of impressions and engagements, your profile visits in a given period, number of mentions, followers, and more.
Wrapping up
This is a big topic, and I know there are elements I haven’t covered here (Twitter Ads, for example — I aim to do lots more research on this before sharing advice!).
Thank you to everyone who suggested areas to tackle in this issue — I’m always grateful for your input and feedback. On that note, you may notice that the section with links to things going on in the newsletter world has been missing for a couple of issues. Do you miss it? Happy it’s gone? Let me know by hitting reply. 
Until next week,
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Anna from Twitter
Anna from Twitter @revue

A newsletter for readers and writers on Twitter.

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