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Start building your Army from Day one

I wish every new writer could do this

Photo by Suzy Brooks on Unsplash

Before you start asking questions, I’m not talking about an actual army with guns and tanks; I’m talking about building your true fans who would become your brand advocates.

People make lots of excuses when it comes to starting a newsletter, but I’m going to tell you firsthand that it’s never too early to start building one — as long as you’ve started your writing journey, you have a story to share, and there are thousands of people who can benefit and find inspiration from what you have to share.

What topics should you talk about?

I struggled with this a lot. I was confused about what to talk about because I felt like I didn’t know anything. But I started anyway. I would tell my subscribers about what I learned from my encounters with clients; I would talk about things to avoid, things to help them improve their writing careers, etc.

Some weeks when I ran out of topics, I would look for podcasts, read blogs, or watch youtube videos just to find something to teach. I just wanted to have something to share on my newsletter day — Thursday. The things I shared helped me too. The more weeks that passed, the more my subscribers and open rates grew.

See your email subscribers as friends who you’re trying to help out. If you engage them with that thought, you wouldn’t be scared to share what you know. It would be more comfortable.

How can you grow your email list as a beginner?

This is another area where I questioned myself. I didn’t(still don’t) have that many followers on Medium or Twitter, so it was tough to grow my mailing list with such a little following.

I used different strategies. The first one was Linkedin. About 60% of my email subscribers are from Linkedin. I started posting helpful tips on the platform every day, and every three days, I’d leave a call to action for my newsletter subscription. I noticed that leaving a simple “sign up to my newsletter” alone was not as effective as writing it with a benefit at the end.

Some days I’d drop teasers of what I was going to be sharing on my newsletter that week, which would whet their appetites, and then I’ll leave a call to action. It was a more effective approach, and I kept doing it. Then the other strategy I used was to repeat the process but this time, on Facebook groups. I was not as consistent, but the few times I did it, I gained subscribers.

Then I ran ads. I used the Copywriting strategy ‘PAS’ meaning Problem — Agitation — Solution. The copy I used looked something like:

“Have you been struggling to get clients? Sometimes, it may not be anyone’s fault but yours. Your success as a writer largely depends on the knowledge you consume. There are no in-betweens.

I used to struggle a lot in my freelance writing career. I felt lost because I couldn’t get the right answers I needed, from Youtube channels or podcasts, but when I decided to go under someone’s wing and learn from them directly, things started to look better for me.

And that’s what I want to help you with — an opportunity to learn and ask questions concerning your freelance career. I started an email list so I would be able to help people like I’ve been helped earlier. It would be a place where you can easily ask questions and get answers quickly.

Sign up to my weekly newsletter, where I give insights on freelancing, personal branding, and copywriting.”

I just did a $5 ad, and it got me about 50+ subscribers that day. It wasn’t bad. But it would have been better if I used a lead magnet — a freebie. But the problem I’ve noticed with using these freebies is if you’re trying to grow your mailing list with lead magnets; after they’ve gotten what they exchanged their email address for, they would never open your email again — or they would unsubscribe — but not always though. A way around that is to keep persisting; soon, they would see something catchy and open your emails.

There are lots of benefits that come with having a mailing list. Apart from having an army that would gladly be your brand advocates, you’ll learn more in the process.

Just don’t be scared. All you have to do is, set a date and deliver on that date. If you don’t know what to say, look for content anywhere. Pick a niche and stick with it — so you wouldn’t lose anyone’s interest. A tip on picking a niche is to talk about what you do.

Sign up for my newsletter here


Start building your Army from Day one was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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