Should Writers Create Newsletters for Marketing?

As home-sitting, coffee-swilling, glasses and pajama-wearing writer types, we have to be super serious about our marketing efforts or our businesses will cease to be. Mostly this is because the people that we see everyday---our pets, children and spouses---make horrible clients.

This compels writers embrace all sorts of different ways to market their business both aggressively and passively. Some examples include:

  • Guest posting on blogs targeted to their niche
  • Cold calling
  • Cold emailing
  • SEOing their portfolio
  • Social Networking
  • Creating a newsletter

Now, I’m personally on-board with all of the above mentioned ideas except for one—the dreaded newsletter.

Like other ‘lancers, I briefly considered having a newsletter. Before I sunk any time into the endeavor, I decided to field test the idea. I sent out a survey to all my current and former clients as well as some leads and asked if they’d be interested in a newsletter that talked about financial industry stuff and gave some writing tips.

Guess what? Most of them didn’t respond to my survey.

You might not find this to be a definitive answer to the question I was asking, but I did. If they aren’t going to respond to my one-time survey (which takes all of two-seconds), what makes me think they are going to read my monthly or quarterly newsletter, which takes several minutes?

Further supporting my line of reasoning (something I try to do as often as possible) I thought about my own stance on the newsletters of other professionals.  I don't want a newsletter from that one graphic artist whose website I stopped by, or that cool but pricey CPA I was considering hiring, or that one gym I thought I might join. I do not want to read any of their newsletters, all drenched in the cloying scent of, PICK ME.

Those of you who already have a newsletter are probably rolling your eyes at my stupidity and short-sightedness and if your newsletter is actually working, then hells-to-the-yeah you should be. If your newsletter brings in dollars—dollars that are equal to or exceed the amount you would be paid if you were working on a client project instead of your newsletter each month—then you rock.

But remember, it’s all about the bottom line. Don’t fall so in love with your newsletter, your idea, or your effort that you forget it’s about gaining money—not losing time.

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Yolander Prinzel is the profit monster behind the Profitable Freelancer website. She has written for a number of publications and websites such as American Express,, Advisor Today, Money Smart Radio and the International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ). Her book, Specialty Ghostwriting: A New Way to Look at an Old Career, is currently available on Amazon.

9 thoughts on “Should Writers Create Newsletters for Marketing?”

  1. I disagree. Newsletters can be a great way to create awareness. While not everyone will join the newsletter, there will be some clients truly interested in and excited about the chance to receive free financial tips and advice.

    As for myself, I’ve joined a number of newsletters in the past, though I don’t yet have one. But the newsletters that I joined I was genuinely excited about, since I believed that I’d be provided with useful information that would help my career to grow and flourish. And I was. Newsletters aren’t for everyone, and many people won’t join your newsletter. But I think it’s an important part of a company’s growth.

    I plan to start my own newsletter soon after I get my eBook published and out of the way. I’m really excited to see how it goes.

    • Well keep in mind, my target client (the people I’d be designing the newsletter for) are financial professionals. There wouldn’t be any financial advice because this is not targeted to consumers (consumers aren’t my clients). It would have industry information about compliance standards for communication, etc. Also, since these clients almost always hire marketing companies or writers (who are not my target audience) they really have no need for writing tips either. Although some of the independent advisors might–but again, time is precious to them and it’s doubtful they’d read it.

      That being said, this is MY target client, not everyone’s. It’ll be interesting to see what other writers feel their target client will or won’t enjoy.

      Good luck on your newsletter–I hope it brings you business 🙂

  2. Yo-we are on the same wave length again – in fact I wrote a post Tying a Noose on Newsletter Subscriptions. I included a poll where you could pledge to delete subscriptions from hitting your Inbox. This post centers around all the 4 billion newsletters attacking your Inbox. What – I’m going to add to the chaos?

    Like you, I wrestled with creating a newsletter for quite some time. I was letting the “experts’ mess with my head. I decided, “You know what – I don’t want to!”

    So, I’m in your corner, Yo!

  3. I’m with you, Yo, on the newsletters. As freelancers, our target markets would probably rather see the guest blog posts on blogs they read already than get something else in their inbox.

  4. I’m torn on this one. I’ve thought about creating a monthly newsletter for my freelancing site but I’m not sure what it would be about and why it would benefit me and the reader equally. I don’t like a bunch of newsletters in my inbox myself but, then again, I’m also the exact opposite of a hoarder. Clutter in any capacity stressed me out. So when I think of an inbox full of newsletters, I want to hit “Delete All.”

    And Yo is right about information that matters to the target audience. If you wrote a financial tips newsletter, no finance professional would want that. But they might want it if you wrote one about about marketing tips for a business in the financial industry. I guess it depends on who you’re writing it for and what you’re writing.

  5. Oh, me again. I just wanted to mention that Stacey Abler has a great blog post series for those wanting to create a newsletter for their business. You can find it at her writing services website in her blog.

  6. No newsletters here. I would fit a potential newsletter into a different category though if I were to consider it. If I were to write a newsletter on, say, homeschooling and different educational techniques that would be effective, I would target it at the consumer. These folks aren’t going to buy my writing services BUT they might buy ebooks or pay for weekly/monthly lesson plans – especially if they hate the prepackaged stuff for homeschoolers and want something more authentic. My clients, on the other hand, would be the ones making and selling the packaged stuff. *grins* Nothing like market diversity.

    Of course I haven’t done anything like that yet, but it would be an expansion of my business as an educational writer in a different direction than strictly client-based materials. I’m toying with the idea of sending list-serve emails periodically with special offers to clients rather than a newsletter – quick, simple and might renew interest in clients who I haven’t worked with in a while.

    So much to do and so little time (as usual.)

  7. I’ve toyed with the idea of a newsletter but decided against it. My clients are all so different…they range from novelists to people seeking web content to students who want their papers edited before turning them in. I can’t imagine coming up with a newsletter that would please all those diverse groups!

  8. I’m with you. I don’t have a newsletter and highly doubt I ever will for one main reason-I hate reading the majority and can’t imagine EVER hiring someone based on one.

    That’s not to say that some newsletters aren’t worth reading, but quite a few of them suck. And even more than that just seem to be a rehash of a blog I already subscribe too.

    Also, I’m in a similar position as you-there’s not really a need for my target demographic to WANT to read a newsletter. I mainly do blogging and marketing assistant work. If you want to hire me as a blogger, you’d just read my blog and check out a list of other places I’ve been published. If you need a marketing assistant-you don’t have time for a newsletter. There’s just no need for me to have one.


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