Later today, I’ll film and publish my weekly YouTuber newsletter. It’s one of my favourite parts of the week.
When I started building my newsletter list last year, I knew the importance of each and every new member. In fact, I celebrated them far more than the tens and thousands of people who began following me on Medium and YouTube.
Don’t get me wrong – every single audience member I attract is deeply appreciated, but my newsletter list holds a special place in my heart, and within my business plan.
To date, I have over 1,200 newsletter subscribers, and I’m blown away by their engagement with – and love for – my weekly ramblings.
If you’re an aspiring YouTuber, this is a strategy you need to build into your own brand – immediately.
How to build a newsletter list
You might think that building a newsletter list takes time and is, therefore, rather pointless when you can more ‘easily’ rack up thousands of subscribers via YouTube itself.
It does take time, trust me. But that’s the point (I’ll get onto why, later).
The good news is that building a newsletter list is actually pretty straightforward.
This is what you need to do:
- make sure you have a website and publish blogs to it consistently every week (two posts, minimum);
- sign up to a newsletter/email marketing tool (I use ConvertKit, but there are loads more to choose from);
- add a newsletter sign-up pop-up on every page of your website and in its footer section;
- add a link to your newsletter at the end of every blog post (you can see mine below); and
- add a link to your newsletter in every YouTube video description.
That’s it. You can ‘set and forget’ all of the above and concentrate on creating awesome content. If you get the latter right, those newsletter subscribers will start to filter through.
So, now we know how to build a newsletter audience, let’s consider three reasons why it’s so vital.
1. It’s your most important audience
I’m a big fan of the ’1,000 true fans’ theory, popularised by Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired magazine.
“1,000 true fans is an alternative path to success other than stardom,” he writes. “Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans.”
As Kelly points out, you’re far more likely to reach that goal than one which results in you appealing to the masses. What’s more, those 1,000 true fans will be genuine fans and are far more likely to demonstrate a true appreciation for your work.
A case in point – if I could swap the 10,000 followers I have on Medium for 1,000 who read every single word of every article I publish, I’d do it immediately.
Imagine if you could get those 1,000 true fans to pay you just £10 per month for something of value. From your newsletter alone, you’d be making £120,000 per year, and their devotion to you would only grow.
2. They’ll let you experiment
What I love the most about my weekly newsletter is that it lets me experiment without any fear of ‘THE ALGORITHM’ getting in the way.
If I do the same thing with my YouTube channel videos, those that aren’t related to MacBooks or headphones generally perform pretty poorly. That won’t stop me from making such videos, but it can be a tad frustrating.
But when it comes to my newsletter videos, the world is my oyster. I’ve gone from creating a written version to filming myself each week talking about all manner of things. I’ve revealed the future content I’m working on, shared my YouTube earnings, announced my impending fatherhood, and fully introduced my four-legged companion, Eddie.
It’s wonderful and so liberating. And, what’s more, I know that a significant portion of that newsletter audience watches every video right through to the end (achieving this with regular YouTube videos is quite a feat).
3. No one can take your list away
YouTube could disappear tomorrow. Medium could vanish into thin air next week.
As unlikely as these scenarios may seem, no one but the top brass at these companies really knows what’s going on behind the scenes. A change in direction, buy-out, or disastrous event could result in the end of the platform you use to publish your work and build your audience.
Guess what? That audience will disappear with it.
Not so with your newsletter list. You own that one. Sure, you’ll be using a third party to collect those email addresses, but that’s a tool – they have no legal right over the ownership of your newsletter list.
This is why your newsletter list is so important. You build it, own it, and use it as you see fit. No one can tell you what to do with it, modify it, or take it away from you without notice.
Final thought: slow growth, compound impact
As noted at the outset of this guide, it’ll take time to build your newsletter list. For instance, while collecting those 1,200+ email addresses, I’ve amassed over 50,000 YouTube subscribers and 10,000 followers on Medium.
But like everything in life, it’s the small things you do and the stuff you chip away at which has the biggest impact further down the line.
If you haven’t read Atomic Habits by James Clear yet, I suggest you do so. In that book, Clear reveals how compounding works, and it’s the secret sauce behind every successful newsletter list.
At first, the results will barely be in view. You’ll add one or two subscribers every week. But, over time, and providing you consistently create great content, that number will increase. Suddenly, you’ll be adding 5 subscribers per week, then 10, and, before you know it, you’re picking up 1,000 every year.
As long as you deliver that audience real value every week with an engaging and honest newsletter, their advocacy and trust will build.
This, my fellow YouTuber, is where the magic lies.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at my channel
Every week, I send a behind-the-scenes video exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. It’s free to join, and provides a weekly glimpse of what goes into my channel – blood, sweat, tears and all!
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