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How much to charge for paid newsletter?

Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hello newsletter editors,
It’s Mark from Revue again with The Week in Newsletters.
Recently we’ve talked about proven newsletter business models, from sponsored local newsletters to B2B newsletters. Today I’ll do a deep dive into pricing of paid newsletters.
Hope you enjoy it. Please do reply if you have questions or suggestions. My email is mark@getrevue.co. Would also love for you to forward this issue to a colleague or peer if you found it useful. They can check out previous issues and subscribe here.

Guidance on monthly newsletter fees
Many writers are starting a paid newsletter these days and setting the monthly subscription fee is an important decision to make.
I got my hands on a nice data set with newsletter names, URLs, subscriber counts and monthly fees from newsletterspy.io. Turns out that more than 50% of newsletters charge $5 per month, and more than 80% fall into the range of $5 to $10.
The price distribution is not very surprising, and also consistent across list size. Although we do see that a larger list size is correlated with a higher monthly fee. Some 20% of authors with a list size above 10K or even above 100K charge $10 per month, whereas only 5% of authors with smaller lists do so.
Yaro Bagriy did a similar analysis for Newslettercrew. He only looked at the biggest newsletters and came up with an average fee of $8. So a good rule of thumb would be a range of $5 to $10, with newsletters with a bigger list more likely to be on the higher end. Actually Yaro’s advice was to not be afraid and start on the high end and lower the price if that doesn’t work:
If you really want a takeaway, I say give $10 per month a shot. Try to publish weekly. See where that gets you. It’s all experimentation (and I do hope that you plan on experimenting) after that.
But it’s not all about list size.
When Revue launched its paid newsletter feature back in April 2018, we created this overview of authors who were already doing it.
The overview shows many newsletters in the $5 to $10 range as well, but also some outliers at both the low and high end.
We looked at send frequency back then, but that did not show clear trends in monthly fees. But if you look a bit deeper into the topics and format, you will probably spot that the more expensive newsletters are often deeper analyses for a professional industry such as Stratechery on Tech or Sinocism on China.
So I went back into the Newsletter Spy data set and added a topic classification to all newsletters with 15K or more subscribers.
The chart shows that there are significant differences in the price distribution per topic. First of all, there are many paid newsletters in the news category, most of them again in the $5 to $10 price range. Tech has a lot of free newsletters. And business and finance are topics where many authors charge more than $10. This confirms the trends in the examples from 2018.
So my suggestion would be to use both list size (current and potential) and topic (which determines list size) as guidance for monthly fees. Here are some specific examples from the most important segments discussed above:
1. Daily culture, list size 50K - 250K: $3-5
The Browser by Robert Cottrell
The Shatner Chatner by Daniel Lavery
2. In-depth news analysis, list size 100K - 400K: $8-12
Slow Boring by Matthew Yglesias
Popular Information by Judd Legum
3. Tech essays, list size 50K - 200K: $10-$15
Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Platformer by Casey Newton
Benedict’s Newsletter by Benedict Evans
4. Industry / financial advice, list size 10K - 50K: $15-$40
The Wolf Den Crypto Newsletter by Scott Melker
Marketing BS by Edward Nevraumont
Sidechain Society by STLNDRMS
There are probably a few other segments that will emerge over the next few months and years, but at least the above ones seem established in terms of format and price point.
Hope this helps to determine the monthly fee of your newsletter project. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions at mark@getrevue.co.
The week in newsletters
Pricing is an important topic, but there are many others, so here’s the most important newsletter news of the week.
Paid newsletter revenue example
Tweet with all newsletter tweets
"What Day Is It?" newsletter
AxiosHQ for company newsletters
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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