How to make a *different* newsletter that people actually want to read
👉 5 simple ways you can use
It’s a bit of a business cliché to say you need to be different to succeed.
But when it comes to newsletters, being different is a bit, well, different.
Your products and services need to be different primarily to give potential clients a reason to pick you rather than someone else. That’s why consultants get very excited with talk about positioning and the colour of the ocean you’re swimming in.
But with newsletters, it’s not a matter of someone reading your newsletter instead of someone else’s. Usually people interested in a topic will read multiple newsletters about it.
So your key challenge is getting someone to add your newsletter to the list of things they’re subscribed to - and, of course, to stay subscribed over time.
So what would make someone decide to sign up to your newsletter?
Obviously, you need it to be about a topic they care about. But that’s not enough.
If it feels to a potential reader like your newsletter will have the same ideas and the same type of content as the things they’re already subscribed to or read on a regular basis then there really isn’t a strong reason for them to sign up.
There are really 5 ways your newsletter could be different to what they’re already getting:
The newsletter could simply be a unique format for them. For example, there were plenty of blogs and news sites and social media accounts and pages focused on Canadian business news. But The Peak was the first daily newsletter to cover this topic. The information wasn’t particularly new (especially since they largely linked out to existing articles) but the format was new.
Your newsletter can focus in on a specific sub-niche. If you’re an expert in online marketing you might know there are a lot of newsletters covering the topic broadly - but are there any focused specifically on landing pages (or on shopping carts or on any one of a horde of sub-niches)? Or could you set up the first newsletter about online marketing in a specific industry you know about? Or to certain types of customer?
Your newsletter can share a specific type of information. Could you do an in-depth analysis each time of specific topics? Or a case study of a well known business. Could you collect the latest scientific research in your field like Ariyh does for marketing. Or put a psychology spin on things? Or do a “build in public” type report back on your progress in the area?
Your newsletter can be based on a unique point of view. This newsletter has an overarching “unsnooze” theme about making your newsletter interesting and fun, for example. It doesn’t mean every post has to be about that point of view, but you’ll come back to it repeatedly and it’s what makes your newsletter different.
Your difference can be you: your personality and the way you write. For some people this comes naturally. They’re funny or controversial or just deeply interesting somehow. What they write about may not be massively new, but somehow we just enjoy reading about it from them rather than anyone else.
When you think about how you cover your topic in your newsletter, which of these ways of being different do you major on?
Are you the only newsletter for your sub-niche? Or do you cover the same topics as others but with a unique point of view and personality? Or maybe you share unique analyses of the issues they can’t get from anyone else?
You can go big on one way of differentiating. Most of us combine a couple.
But you’ve got to have something otherwise people will just see you as extra noise in their inbox and they won’t subscribe.
How do you differentiate your newsletter? I’m genuinely interested to hear, so there’s a special prize for the most interesting answer I get in the comments.