Indiegraf’s Guide to Newsletter Best Practices

A collection of resources filled with pro tips and tricks for creating a stellar newsletter.
A close-up of a phone screen and the Mail app icon. Email newsletter practices 2023.
Photo by Brian Tromp on Unsplash.

When it comes to building your independent publication, email newsletters are the ultimate multi-use tool. Newsletters help publish your journalism relatively easily and inexpensively, build a relationship with your audience, and communicate personally with your readers in a meaningful way. By implementing industry best practices, newsletters can also become a source of audience growth, reader revenue, and ads and sponsorship inventory. 

Here are 5 resources from the Indiegraf archives for building successful newsletters.

1. Welcome emails: Advice from Indiegraf’s audience pros 

A welcome email is the first email your new subscribers will read, so it’s important to make a good first impression. What’s the message that will welcome them to your community? Our audience strategists share ways on how to be mindful and intentional about what you’re presenting in that first newsletter with 6 tips to win your readers over. Why does this matter? It can make the difference between a steadily growing email list and an above-average churn rate.

2. How to make your newsletter look and feel more personal

Your subscribers’ inboxes are likely flooded every day with multiple newsletters. How do you ensure that yours stands out? The answer lies in a strong, consistent and recognizable email. You’ve thought long and hard about your publication’s unique identity and value — now’s the time to translate that to your newsletter. Here are 8 recommendations from the Indiegraf team on ways to level up personalization and keep subscribers clicking week after week.

3. The next evolution of newsletters is mini-courses

You’ve mastered creating an engaging newsletter and growing the relationship with your readers. What’s next? Try newsletter courses — an evergreen, on-demand email series sent out on a fixed schedule that’s typically used to tackle deeper dives into a specific subject or issue. Indiegraf senior manager of publisher success Joe Lanane explains how to use newsletter courses to increase engagement.

4. Email series: How to school your audience in a good way

Now that you know how to create an email series, here’s a case study looking at the practice in action. Freelance journalist and team lead of The Discourse Nanaimo Lauren Kaljur breaks down how an email series helped the independent community outlet grow its audience and win over subscribers. In this article, Kaljur dives into how they produced two email series, which responded to local history questions submitted by readers, and what they learned from the experience. Spoiler alert: Each series grew their subscriber base by about 30 percent.

5. Newsletter swaps: Grow new leads without spending a cent 

There are a variety of paid lead generation tactics that can be used to increase top-of-funnel growth, like launching ads on Meta platforms or Twitter. But what happens once the budget runs out? Newsletter swaps can be a great organic growth strategy for publishers who are open to collaborating with other outlets or organizations. We asked the Indie Audience and Ads teams to share best practices to get your newsletter swap off the ground and running.

Loved these newsletter best practices resources and want more? Indiegraf’s audience team has the know-how to help your publication’s newsletter thrive. Book a meeting with us today to learn more about our growth services! 


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