The no BS ways to grow your newsletter subscribers (from a sleep-deprived intern)
June 8, 2024
Content Marketing
Table of Contents
The no BS ways to grow your newsletter subscribers (from a sleep-deprived intern)

It’s past midnight. I’m still at the office, surrounded by empty coffee cups and the faint glow of my laptop. Why am I here? Because growing a newsletter isn’t a 9-to-5 gig. It’s a “work till your eyes blur, then have an epiphany” kind of deal.

See, six months ago, our newsletter (“Letters for Creatives”) was flatlining. Now? We’re watching our subscriber count tick up faster than my caffeine intake. How? Not through “growth hacks” or by “synergizing our brand pillars.”

Nope. We grew by being real. By being us. And by breaking every dusty old rule in the newsletter playbook.

So, put down that “Ultimate Guide to 10X Your Email List” and buckle up. Here’s the no-BS way we turned our newsletter from spam folder fodder to inbox VIP.

1. We Killed the Corporate Zombie 🧟♂️

You know that voice. “Leverage your core competencies to optimize ROI.” Barf. We used to sound like that. Now? Our welcome email starts with “Hey there, it’s the ContentSesh intern. Yeah, I drew the short straw for welcome email duty.”

People don’t subscribe to newsletters. They subscribe to people. So sound like one. Use words you’d use texting a friend at midnight. Our engagement shot up 200% when we started writing like humans, not like LinkedIn influencers (no offense).

2. We Embraced Our Weird 🤪

Every brand has that thing they hide. That quirk. That slightly off-color joke. We put ours front and center. Our about page? It’s part staff bio, part sitcom character list. “Lila: Content wizard. Oat milk advocate. Still uses ‘groovy’ unironically.”

Result? Comments like “Finally, an agency that doesn’t sound like AI!” And clients who tag us in stories with inside jokes, not just our logo. Your quirks aren’t flaws. They’re a bat signal for your tribe.

3. We Turned Secrets into Spotlights 💡

Most agencies hide their process like it’s the Colonel’s secret recipe. We spilled everything. Our “Letters for Creatives”? It’s basically a weekly masterclass. We’ve shared our customer journey wall (hello, Post-it chaos), our “stupid simple” content planning spreadsheet, everything.

Crazy, right? Giving away the blueprint. But here’s the thing: people don’t buy information. They buy transformation. And when they see you can transform your own content, they’ll beat down your door to be next.

4. We Made It a Two-Way Street 🚦

Every email ends with a question. Not “What did you think?” Snooze. But “What’s that quirk you’re embarrassed about?” or “Send us your most ‘client voice’ content.”

We read every reply. Even at 2 AM. With our demonic coffee machine. And we use those replies to fuel our content. It’s not a newsletter. It’s a late-night group chat that happens to make our clients money.

5. We Ditched the Highlight Reel 🎬

Our case studies don’t start with success. They start with failure. “Client X came to us after a launch so quiet you could hear crickets.” It’s raw. It’s real. It shows we’re not just vendors, but partners who’ve been in the trenches.

In a world of filters and LinkedIn gurus, authenticity is your secret weapon. Show your scars. Your audience has them too.

6. We Got Our Hands Dirty 🌱

Look, “if you build it, they will come” is a great movie line. Terrible business advice.

We didn’t just craft killer content and wait. We hustled. Cold outreach? You bet. But not the “Dear Sir/Madam, please bless us with your subscription” crap. We slid into DMs like, “Hey, saw your rant about generic agency emails. Same. Here’s our latest newsletter where we roast overused marketing jargon. Burn it or join us?” Open rates? Through the roof.

Then there’s cross-promotion. We found podcasts, YouTube channels, even freakin’ Twitch streamers who riff on bad marketing. We guested, we bantered, we dropped newsletter links like breadcrumbs. And subscribers followed. Because here’s the truth: great content gets you subscribers. But great content plus smart hustle? That’s how you build an empire, one insomniac creative at a time.

Growing your newsletter isn’t rocket science. It’s not even regular science. It’s about being so unapologetically you that your people can’t help but find you.

So ditch the growth hacks. Kill the corporate voice. And for the love of all things holy, let your freak flag fly.

Because in the land of beige newsletters, the one with a possessed coffee machine is king.

Want more unfiltered advice, questionable metaphors, and content strategies that actually work? Subscribe to “Letters for Creatives.” First issue goes out at some ungodly hour. You’ll fit right in.

P.S. If this post didn’t resonate, no hard feelings. Our newsletter probably isn’t for you. But if you’re still here, nodding along? Welcome home, weirdo. We’ve been waiting.