Michael Williams: How you can both grow your newsletter and stay true to yourself

With 1000 true friends, you can keep your own voice and need not sound like a big publication.

Matthias Bohlen
2 minutes reading time

You can stay true to your voice and go paid at the same time.

When I read the interview with Michael Williams this morning, one thing really stood out to me:

I launched paid from the get-go because I didn’t want to deal with advertising or brand partnerships. I simply wanted to do what I wanted to do and didn’t want to have to hold back or cater to brand partners.

Let’s have a look at how Michael did it.

Growth ideas that got Michael to 1,000 paying subscribers

Michael already had a blog that he founded in 2007. He’s now using these growth patterns for his newsletter:

  • Free posts to grow the list: Decide wisely about free vs. paid posts. The ones with the most PR value and ease of sharing, make them free. That attracts new free subscribers.
  • Extra-high price tier for friends: Michael created a special rate of $250/year (almost 4x the annual tier price) and got 2 dozen true fans who pay it.
  • Focus on storytelling: Michael says you should spend 80% of your time on the story itself, 20% on running the newsletter.
  • Target engaged free subscribers: Look at your subscriber analytics. Reach out to your most active subscribers and thank them for reading and supporting the newsletter. Then, offer them 10 to 25 percent off an annual subscription as a “thank you.”
  • Make them pay attention: Change email header and footer regularly. Michael uses the headers and footers for news or other announcements like an upcoming Q&A thread.

You could add “bundling” to this impressive list

The list above is totally impressive. So many options!

I’ll give you one more option: What if Michael bundled his newsletter with another one, written by an author he trusts? They could sell both newsletters as a bundle and make up to 44% more money with it. My upcoming platform, newsbundler.com, will enable people to create a “writer collaborative” on the fly, within minutes.

I must contact Michael and ask for his feedback about it!

Want more from Michael?

Go get ‘em here:

Want your own small media business, together with another author you trust?

Download our FREE eBook called "2 Writers Making Money". It shows you exactly how to raise your income as a paid newsletter author by teaming up with a buddy, selling a bundle of your newsletters, and splitting the revenue.

Set this up once, then forget about it and get back to writing.


Get your income growth playbook here: