Something worth considering here is that free content will extend your reach further than keeping everything behind a paywall. Depending on your goals with your newsletter it may make more sense to nurture a wider subscriber base with a freemium or donation model rather than going all-in on paid content (especially if you don’t already have an established following on social media).
No matter what your newsletter is about, there’s probably a way to optimize it to create income — as long as you’ve found your niche and you know what value you bring to your readers.
How much can you earn?
It may come as a surprise that this doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. We can provide a fairly solid estimation for how much money creators can make based on a few key factors, including:
- How much will you charge?
- How many followers/current subscribers do you have?
- How engaged is your current audience?
- Is the newsletter a full-time gig or a side project?
- What type of content do you produce?
Based on the experience of many of the creators we speak to, it’s possible to convert between 5% and 15% of your social following into subscribers. That’s a range, we know. The rule of thumb here is: the more highly engaged your followers are, the more likely they are to subscribe to your newsletter. For this example, let’s pick a number in the middle: 9%.
(Of course, if you don’t have an established Twitter following you can use your current subscriber list as the starting point here — or even both!)
The question now is, will these subscribers be willing to pay for your newsletter? There are no guarantees here, but we can offer some tips. For example, you can check out your Twitter engagement. The higher the engagement, the higher the likelihood this audience will pay to receive your work.
If that number looks low to you, try adjusting the amount you want to charge for your newsletter. Something to remember: most paid newsletters tend to hover in the $5-$10 sweet spot. Depending on the frequency of your paid posts and the content, you may want to charge more — especially if the content helps people in their professional life or helps them earn money.
My colleague Mark put together a fantastic deep dive, using data sets of real newsletters, to explore how the type of content can affect a newsletter’s price point. You can find it here
Once you’ve put all that together, you should be able to formulate an estimation of how much you can earn through the year. And assuming your subscriber list keeps gradually growing, that number will grow too.
Here’s an example
Let’s say I’m running a free newsletter, and I have 2,000 subscribers.
Of that 2,000, 7% could become paying subscribers: that’s 140.