I think maintaining an urgency index should be useful for most newsletters. I also love the idea of sharing the index in the newsletter and asking for input like Casey did
, although that might not work for all audiences.
And I actually do something similar already with The Week in Newsletters. I send each subscriber a personal welcome message. I look up who they are, ask questions about the projects they’re working on, and then also ask them to reply to me with the topics they are most interested in:
It would be great if you could also tell me which topic you’re most interested in.
A quick reply to this email with just one topic would help me a lot in keeping the newsletter relevant. Could be list growth, list hygiene, engagement, monetization, curation, strategy, examples of great newsletters, sponsoring, deliverability, newsletter events, referrals, ads, metrics, or a super cool new topic that you care about.
I get a lot of great replies and feel like I have a good understanding of what my audience is here for (please do reply if you haven’t done yet or somehow didn’t get my message).
So I thought it would be helpful to turn these ideas into an urgency index for The Week in Newsletters, to make it more dynamic and get more feedback. Here it goes.
The Week in Newsletter Urgency Index
- Pop-up newsletters: How to start pop-up newsletters for acquisition of new audiences? How to convert pop-up readers to other newsletters or other products?
- Conversion to subscription: How to turn drive-by visitors into newsletter subscribers and newsletter subscribers into paying members?
- Ads and sponsoring: How to find advertisers and sponsors during a crisis? How to make sure ads and sponsored messages do not disturb readers and somehow add value?
- Monetization: What other forms of monetization are available to fund a newsletter or contribute to the funding of a publication?
- Growth: Where and how to promote your newsletter? What are the right CTAs? How to do a referral program? How to co-operate with other newsletters and cross-promote? If and how to do paid acquisition?
- Deliverability: How to make sure not to end up in spam? How to do list hygiene right?
- Engagement: How to onboard new readers? How to make existing readers click and reply?
- Metrics: What are key newsletter metrics? List size, open rate, retention, engagement, revenue? How to measure and interpret?
- Strategy: Frameworks to determine value proposition, measures of success, constraints, frequency, production process, design, branding, and tone of voice.
- Examples: What are examples of great newsletters? Which are the best in class ones? What are novel ideas? What formats are authors using to write and curate?
There aren’t a lot of truly new topics on the index, but several topics have risen in priority, such as pop-up newsletters and everything around monetization.
What do you think about my urgency index? Anything missing? Anything on it that is not urgent? Anything that should be moved up or down? Please reply to this email with your ideas and suggestions!