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How much can you earn from your newsletter?

Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hi there,
Hope your week is going well!
I often hear from creators who are considering setting up a paid newsletter, but wary to take the plunge. And I wanted to dedicate this issue to demystifying some of the biggest questions creators have before they go paid.
Broadly, there are two things that tend to hold people back. One is uncertainty about how much of their content should live behind a paywall. And the other is uncertainty around how effort converts to payoff.
Here, I hope to bring you some clarity. Thing is, people are becoming more willing to pay for content that resonates with them. If you’re building a community around your work, and if your readers or followers are engaged, it’s definitely worth thinking about flicking that paid newsletter switch.
How much of your work should live behind a paywall?
There are lots of ways to strategize for this, and we’ve seen successful newsletters take several routes.
Some almost exclusively send out paid-only content:
  • The Wolf Den Crypto Newsletter, created by Scott Melker, goes out every weekday — and only two issues per month are available to free subscribers.
  • Similarly, Sidechain Society, curated by the independent artist STLNDRMS, focuses on premium, members-only content (check out his Members page for inspiration on what you can offer paying members)
  • Outside of Revue, The Information, founded by Jessica Lessin, runs several paid-only newsletters.
Others go for a ‘freemium’ model, making some content available to free subscribers, and extra content available only to paying members:
  • Fresh Fonts, curated by Noemi Stauffer, offers a mixture of paid and free content, sweetening the deal for paying members with exclusive licenses.
  • Outside of Revue, The Browser, created by Caroline Crampton and Robert Cottrell, offers daily emails to paying subscribers and a weekly email to free subscribers.
  • Similarly, Benedict Evans offers a free subscription to his newsletter while reserving exclusive content for paying subscribers.
Others keep all of their content paywall-free, but ask for donations to help support their writing.
  • Samseng Zhabor, written by Kirsten Han, has an optional donation for people who want to support the newsletter.
  • Sandor Weisz’s The Mystery League gives readers the option to start a monthly donation or one-time tip.
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.
Based on an engaged group of subscribers, we tend to see that around 7% will convert into paying members. Multiply that number by your potential monthly charge, and you’ll get your potential monthly revenue before fees (find out more on how fees for paid newsletters on Revue work here).
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.
2,000 newsletter subscribers (total)
2,000 newsletter subscribers (total)
For my side hustle, I want to send a weekly email filled with specialised content on a niche topic, for which I’ll charge $10 per month.
My monthly revenue (before fees) from my paying subscribers is:
140 x $10 = $1,400
After Revue’s 5% share and Stripe fees, that’s more like $1,289. Which gives me a starting point of an extra $15,468 per year. Not bad for a side project.
Writers have built whole businesses on Revue by starting paid newsletters. Others have set up a tidy side-hustle. Others have built small but dedicated communities who just really appreciate their writing. 
In short, it’s super rewarding to get paid for writing about what you love.
If you have any questions, or if this has sparked inspiration for you, I’ve love to hear about it. Let me know by replying to this email.
Have a great week,
Anna
The week in newsletters
Lenny Rachitsky on Twitter: “Today marks exactly one year since I moved to a paid newsletter”
Alex Lieberman, co-founder and CEO of Morning Brew, talks about the company’s journey to success
ConvertKit acquired FanBridge
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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