At the start of this year, I kicked off a side project to send a weekly curated newsletter on growth marketing, called growth.email. Basically, I read a ton of articles, choose the ten best and send a weekly email to over 1,600 subscribers.
I’ve had a number of questions since I started on how I put these emails together, so here’s the workflow I use to create each weekly issue.
Curate a number of feeds
I use Feedly to bring in many RSS feeds, and categorise them by topic. Each week, as part of my process, I add and remove feeds, to get the best content into my reading list.
I will scour Reddit, Twitter and Facebook for new interesting articles and typically skim a few other articles on the same site, then add the feed to my Feedly.
Read a huge list of articles
I try my best to have a variety of topics and sources in each issue. For example, I’ll only include 1-2 social media marketing articles in any one week, as well as avoid choosing the same source for more than 1 or 2 articles in an issue. The last anyone wants to read in a curated newsletter are 10 articles in one week all on a specific growth area, or from the same source.
I try to read a couple of articles every evening. I start by skimming the article, ensuring it is useful and not just an advertisement for a product, has actionable advice and is at least 500 or more words. If it meets these criteria, I will then go through and read the article properly, ensuring that it is quality content, and will appeal to my audience.
Save it to my newsletter library
The great thing about my chosen curated newsletter tool, Goodbits, is that they have a Chrome plugin, which allows me to save the very best articles as candidates for inclusion. I just click the plugin button, rewrite the title and summary if required, and it then gets saved into the content library, along with thumbnail images.
Build the newsletter
When I decide I have enough articles in my library, I then go into Goodbits, review my content library, and drag and drop the articles I wish to include in this weeks curated newsletter.
I will then add the overall email introduction and footer text, add that issues sponsor link, and send myself a copy to check and review.
Schedule to send
I send every issue of growth.email at the very same time each week. Because I’m in Perth, Western Australia, and most of the subscribers are in the USA or UK, I schedule it for 8.30pm Wednesdays local time, which is 1.30pm in London, or 8.30am on the east coast of the US.
Whilst I realise it may be late night on the east coast of Australia, or very early morning elsewhere, it is more about the consistency than the actual local time. People get in the habit of expecting my curated newsletter at a particular time of their local day.
Add to my content spreadsheet
I use a Google Sheet to track all my previous shared articles, to check I don’t double up, as well as use this list to create articles such as my last blog post, as well as export for easy sharing on social media.
Answer queries from readers and sponsors
I am very lucky to have so far attracted all sponsors organically, and haven’t had to go looking for sponsors. People and brands approach me by email, and it’s a case of sharing the rate and next available dates.
I’m sure that one day I will have to go hunting for sponsors, however I am enjoying spending my effort on finding quality content, and not on chasing money to pay for it at this stage.
I tend to also receive a couple of emails each week, with feedback either on the entire newsletter or a specific article. I sometimes get content suggestions by email or social as well.
Curated newsletters can be work
Curating a quality content newsletter is a manual and sometimes long task, however the alternatives are all automated and quality can’t be maintained. The point of a curated newsletter, is ensuring content is high quality and on topic, hence why readers will subscribe.
Running growth.email overall is an enjoyable experience, I get to read a lot, and I receive regular great feedback from readers, such as below. You can also use a tool such as feedback button for feedback.
If you are considering starting a curated email newsletter, then I highly recommend you give it a go. The enjoyment of sharing something you are passionate about, and getting great reader feedback if it all goes well, is very motivating.
If you haven’t yet, don’t let all my hard efforts above go to waste – sign up to growth.email and get 10 great articles in your inbox every week. Thanks!
8 June 2017 at 8:23 pm
Great to read about how you put your weekly curated email together.
I was wondering if you can share with us how you promote it and how you add subscribers?
Is there any strategy you follow to grow your list?