Newsletters with great communities



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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hello newsletter editors,
Last week we talked about getting started with a newsletter and how Revue can help with that.
The questions we answered in that issue were all brought up by you, the readers. We love the community feel around here and know that engaging readers is often what makes a newsletter great. So today I want to show examples of newsletter editors creating strong communities - for both engagement and monetization.

Member communities
Communities were one of the building blocks of the early Internet, where people would meet and discuss around Usenet groups, blogs, forums or chat rooms. These groups were quite naturally small and focused on niche topics.
Today, many newsletter editors are very successful at bringing that vibe back. By focusing on engagement, they manage to bring readers together as a community, and make them come back for the next issue every week in a world with an abundance of great content.
Investor Hunter Walk, who has backed many startups including daily morning newsletter TheSkimm, summed it up nicely in his post “Coming for the Content, Staying for the Community”:
Over the last year I’ve started paying more indie creators directly for their work — heavily biased towards podcasts and newsletters/blogs. The other night I was wondering which ones I’d likely still be subscribing to a year or two from now. The “absolutely yes” category was dominated by creators who had branched beyond their initial piece of content and created some persistent space for the community to aggregate. Most typically in Slack, Facebook, WhatsApp or Discord.
So how do you build a community around your newsletter?
A good starting point is shifting focus from list size to engagement. Instead of having as many subscribers as possible, you want to have engaged readers. People who read your issues regularly, who take the time to reply with questions and ideas, who you feel comfortable talking to.
At Revue, we have a great audience chart that shows you exactly which share of readers are engaged. We talked about it in detail in an issue about audience engagement last summer. In the spirit of sharing and creating community, here’s what the engagement of The Week in Newsletters looks like today.
60% of the audience of The Week in Newsletters is engaged, up from 54% a month ago. Would love to hear from you if you have any feedback on how to get you involved more. You can simply reply to this email or send a message to and tell me what would make you read the newsletter more frequently.
Taking your community to the next level
If you have an engaged group of readers, you can take the community to the next level and create more interaction as well as start monetization. Newsletter veteran and nerd Craig Mod has published a long essay on how to run a membership program. Here’s his motivation:
And yet! I had been publishing essays, articles, and newsletters for over a decade, building up a not-inconsiderable base of readers. I thought a membership program might help to do two things:
1. Formalize my relationship with some of my most fervent readers, and
2. Give me an even more robust and sustainable publishing platform.
It worked.
Craig’s newsletters are free while readers pay for the community. The membership program provides access to his newsletter archive, a members-only podcast and a quarterly Zoom call. And has enabled Craig to cover his living expenses by reaching 960 true fans.
Craig has been blogging and writing newsletters for a long time, and also likes to tinker with technology. But like Hunter hinted at in his article above, there are many solutions out there to create a community.
A great example is the community Anne-Laure Le Cunff built at Ness Labs. It was born out of necessity when corona lockdown rules made live events impossible and people wanted to stay connected. And it was up and running in a week.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff
Absolutely unexpected: tools as a big highlight of my 2020
Choosing the right channels, tools or platforms for a community is a hotly debated topic. There are many options out there that cater to different types of interactions. Small versus large, high versus low frequency, text or audio or video, easy to set up, more control and much more.
Options include Circle, Discord, Discourse, Facebook, Mighty Networks, Slack, Telegram, Tribe and Twitter. And here are some interesting threads with the pros and cons of each.
Venkatesh Rao on Twitter:
Gordon Frayne on Indie Hackers
Ari Lewis 🚀 on Twitter:
Would you like for The Week in Newsletters to add a community? Which tools and channels would you prefer? Would love for you to send me your thoughts by replying to this email or reaching out at
The week in newsletters
Did you get inspired this week by your favorite communities? Here’s more inspiration for newsletter editor.
Free newsletter course
50 tools and resources for journalists
Newsletter Communities
How Ernie Smith the Tedium newsletter
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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