After I wrote about email subscriptions and newsletters, I created the On a Book Bender weekly digest. My vision for the newsletter was pretty simple: an exclusive extra where I recapped what happened on the blog and talked about what was going on.
And for the first few weeks, it was a lot of fun. I essentially wrote a personal email with links to my posts. I like the sense of connection you get from that. Even though it was extra work on top of my CR posts, I didn’t mind it.
But then open rates dropped.
Having your open rates drop isn’t uncommon with newsletters; it’s a natural part of your list growing. I knew this. But. The problem with open rates dropping is that people aren’t reading the emails I put a lot of effort into. It’s not an effective use of my time—my CR posts are in feed readers, Feedburner emails, and available on the web. Anyone can see those.
Back in June, I instituted a “no new content” rule in my business newsletter. Not because I don’t want to reward my list for subscribing, but because it makes no sense to put your best content where it’s not discoverable and shareable. Imagine pouring your heart out in an email and then having only half the people you sent it to read it. If it’s fucking brilliant, you want everyone to see it and recognize your brilliance, yeah? Emails lack staying power.
That’s why I do “no new content” for my business—it’s essentially an introduction to my post (why I wrote it, what I learned, what the post’s about) and then a link to the post. I know all the reasons why this kind of tactic is annoying (trust me, I know), but I’ve learned that I need to use my time efficiently.
Eventually, I ran into the same problem with the On a Book Bender weekly digest. It’s simply too much work for the return. But some of my subscribers wanted to continue receiving the weekly digests. So I did what MailChimp allows you to do: hook up your feed and send out an email.
My weekly digest is now a collection of partial posts (I can’t figure out how to display the full post) from the week’s posts. It’s not ideal. But I continue getting subscribers and it’s a decent alternative to subscribing by email. I’m keeping the weekly digest, but I’ve set it and forgot it.