Level Up Creators

😳 You’ve got a list of email subscribers, now what!?!

Published about 1 month ago • 8 min read

The Level

Hey hey Reader,

Happy Thursday – let’s get you unstuck and back to regularly emailing your list 👍

As you may know, it’s one thing to get people to jump from following you on social to handing over their email address (thanks for yours btw 💜). It’s another to continuously earn the right to keep each email address week after week, month after month, and year after year.

Even if you don’t quite have a business plan for how you’ll use your email list “someday”, it’s important to maintain connection, provide consistent value, and build relationship equity in people’s inboxes on the regular. When you gather folks around a certain topic of interest, whatever yours is, and you nurture relationships with them over time via permission-based inbox real estate, you’re actually doing what’s called “retaining optionality.”

Retaining optionality means you’re leaving some doors open for yourself to walk through in the future, and even creating opportunities you’re not aware of yet. Building an engaged, loyal audience is one way to create your own luck. One example of this is a client of ours, Aaron Francis – you may follow him on YouTube or X/Twitter.

Aaron started “working in public” just a few years ago – sharing bits and pieces of projects he was working on (personal and professional) via social media. Folks started following along on his journey, anxious to know how random things like his shedquarters custom build was coming along, or to hear his approach to niche software-world things like database queries and MySQL optimization.

He built an audience – he had attention. And the wheels started turning. And over time, opportunities starting flooding in: job offers, brand deal sponsorships from software companies, creating a digital course and having it acquired(!!) by a software company, and so much more.

Aaron created his own luck, which, long story short, has turned into his new venture, Try Hard Studios, after being unexpectedly laid off at the beginning of this year. His audience was his backstop – a soft landing and a fresh suite of opportunities. And because of Aaron’s audience, influence, strong personal brand, and experience, Try Hard Studios is CRUSHING it in a big, big way. I won’t share his numbers thus far because Aaron is a kind and humble human, but my jaw may have dropped a little when he told me how well things were going during a call this morning!

Did I mention Aaron has an email list 😁. Aaron owns his audience. Yes, he has a sizable and ever-increasing cross-platform social media audience, but his email list is immune to the whims of social media platform owners. It’s the ownership of his leads that creates the highest degree of leverage for him as a creator and thought leader. His email list is a direct line to those who have raised their hands and said they want to hear from him – no algorithm bullshit, no shifting sand.

❓ Reply to this email:

What challenges have you faced when trying to come up with fresh and engaging content for your email newsletter?

But just like most creators I speak with, Aaron doesn’t always know what to say to his loyal email subscribers, despite the fact that he’s creative AF and prolific on social.

So, here’s my advice to Aaron and anyone else who needs an infinite stream of engaging newsletter ideas. Because hey, life is unpredictable, and we all need a backstop when things go sideways. Your email list could open the doors to your next big thing. *But don’t get me wrong here, I’m a big fan of cool nerdy stuff like automated sales funnels, digital recurring revenue products and services, and being extremely intentional about how you authentically and ethically utilize your email list to create revenue – come talk to me when you’re ready to explore that or hit the gas on your existing online business 💜

Top 5 ways to create infinite email newsletter ideas:

1. Create an engaging welcome sequence and then ask the key question

When your fans sign up to receive your newsletter, don’t leave them hanging and wondering what happens next. A newsletter signup should “trigger” (email automation term) the first email in a series, called a “welcome sequence”. Greet your new email subscribers like a friend showing up at your front door for a dinner party. Let them know you’re so happy they’re here and they’ve made a great decision by signing up!

Help them understand what to expect in terms of publishing cadence (how often and what day the newsletter will land in their inbox), the type of amazing content they should expect, tell them a little more about yourself, offer links to other free resources (if you have them), and anything else that’s relevant to you and your newsletter.

This is e-relationship building 101. Take your off-line learnings in building camaraderie and connection in real life to the inbox. But why is this important? Didn’t they sign up already, like, isn’t my job done? Nope. The sign up was step one.

Creating a warm and hearty welcome and offering more cool free stuff engenders something called the “reciprocity principle” (this is a real phenomenon in psychology). You’re about to ask them for a favor, so you need to inject some relationship equity from the get-go so that your email subscriber feels compelled to reciprocate the favor.

At the end of say, the second or third email in your welcome sequence, ask some variation of the question, “What are you struggling with the most?” or “What can I write about that would be most helpful to you?” or “What do you hope to learn/gain from my newsletter?”.Those responses are gold, y’all. Save ‘em! You can also put a similar variation of this question at the bottom of each edition of your email newsletter and keep that gravy train flowin’!

2. Mine social media

Comb through all of your social media posts, ecosystem partner posts, and competitors’ posts, across all channels, once per quarter(ish). *Ecosystem partners are non-competing individuals or companies who target basically the same audience as your account. You’re looking for the most and least popular content. Obviously stay far away from flops, but key in on posts/carousels/reels/etc that did especially well.

Take notes in a central location, whether that’s a Google Document, Notion doc, or a notepad. Be consistent and put these notes somewhere foolproof/lose-proof.And if you’ve read anything of mine before, seen a video, etc., you know that copying another creator or company’s content is super not cool. Copying someone else is completely different from drawing inspiration and riffing off of someone else’s content. ❌ Copying, ✅ Drawing inspiration

3. Use Generative AI (ChatGPT, Gemini, etc.) as a brainstorming partner

No, AI isn’t great for everything, but it’s a killer brainstorming partner! The key is to get your prompt right, which is a topic for another day. Providing ample context is foundational to a prompt that will yield usable results. And we’ve got you covered – grab our free AI Guide right here to learn a bit more. That guide comes with a spreadsheet that you can copy, fill out, and then copy-and-paste comprehensive done-for-you prompts into your favorite Gen AI tool. Not only do our prompts help you with brainstorming content ideas, but they’ll help you write drafts of different kinds of content (landing pages, emails & email sequences, video scripts, and more!). It’s free, so go get it.

4. Zoom in or zoom out on a topic

You don’t have to take a topic at face value. Go up to the 10,000 foot level and provide a zoomed out POV on any topic OR zoom in and get hella specific on another. Today, I’m zooming in an important pain point that creators regularly encounter: no fresh ideas to share with their email list. This is a deep dive. Conversely, I could’ve given you a top 5 list of must-haves for a successful newsletter… although, reply if that’s of interest to ya 😉.

5. Recycling your oldies but goodies

If the content you create happens to have some shelf life and you’ve been at this whole newsletter writing business for a while, start recycling topics you haven’t hit on in 18+ months. Dust something off and give it a fresh/updated take. If you’ve changed your mind on something you wrote a while ago, tell you email list how you came to that new conclusion. A “contrarian” take on a popular idea is another angle.

The most important rule of creating email newsletter content: THERE ARE NO RULES

You are free to change things up, but be prepared for some subscriber attrition if you stray too far from your OG value prop and your typical content. But try things like: top 10 lists, old way vs. new way, industry content round up, analyze and/or summarize content from another creator/influencer in your space, inject more personalization into your newsletter with “a day in the life of [XYZ]”, subscribe to other newsletters to get a fresh perspective, feature one of your subscribers.

Again, no rules. You have explicit permission to steer your ship any which way. Try things → review results → make adjustments → try again. After all, that’s pretty much what life and business are about.

Put yourself out there and start creating your own luck 🍀… which, as it turns out, isn’t really luck after all. Hard work and consistency creates opportunities. People who put themselves out into the world with good intentions, vulnerability, and humility, by default put themselves in the pathway of extraordinary opportunities.

You’ve got this and we’ve got your back 💪💜

- Amanda

P.S. If you’re ready to start an email list but need help, sign up for our free Own Your Audience Challenge and we’ll walk you through the process, step-by-step.

And if you thought this was helpful (thank you, I’m flattered ☺️), but you ain’t seen nothing yet - check out Level Up Creator School where you get me and my entire consulting team as your new team of business advisors + no-fluff business courses + a community of like-minded creators and thought leaders like you. Learn more here.

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Level Up Creators

Turn your knowledge & experience into rock-solid recurring revenue. We build and grow recurring revenue businesses for creators & digital thought leaders.

Each week we publish tips, shortcuts, tear-downs, knowledge bombs, and easy-buttons to help creators, solopreneurs, and coaches achieve the holy grail of business: recurring revenue. Say goodbye to high-stress launches and hello to subscription-based products & services where you’ll find stable, predictable, scalable revenue. Our CEO, Amanda Northcutt, has been in the digital subscription space for 20 years as a consultant and 6-time executive, and she’ll give you the roadmap to your own subscription success each week!

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