Time for vacation, help me reflect on News Bundler!

For an entrepreneur’s mind, it’s important to have some time off, to recharge and reflect. This is such a time for me now.

Matthias Bohlen
5 minutes reading time

Happy Saturday,

it’s Matthias here again with a special issue of News Bundler Weekly.

Phew! I am now 5 and a half months into the News Bundler project (or product).

Time for a vacation is approaching. My wife and I will take 2-3 weeks off, so you won’t hear anything from me for two Saturdays. The next issue will go out again on July 9th, 2022.

We’re heading for the shore of Tuscany. Italian sun, Italian cuisine, a hotel full of lovely people from all around the world, and speaking “La lingua Italiana”, one of the most beautiful languages, will be our priorities. I am really looking forward to it because we’ve been staying at home since Covid arose in early 2020.

Looking back on 5.5 months of News Bundler

Vacation is always a good time to reflect and improve, so let’s go back in time for a moment:

The good stuff

On January 4th, I started my journey to explore the field of paid newsletters. First, I joined the #ship30for30 writing course and found out how to publish consistently, every day, for 30 days in a row. Then I went to a weekly rhythm and published one newsletter issue every week since then.

Consistency was not the problem that I thought it was!

During #ship30for30, I got the idea for News Bundler and built it within 5 weeks. The product, the website, and all the blog posts about it, re-publishing them on Medium, Substack, and ConvertKit. There is also a presence on Twitter where I tweet about newsletter growth as well.

To be able to charge subscribers and send payouts to authors, I connected News Bundler to Stripe.

It was clear right from the start that whenever you deal with money, taxes are something that you must handle correctly.

Interestingly, since Stripe is an American company and does taxes correctly for the U.S., the easiest way for me to “get taxes right” was to incorporate as Bohlen Labs LLC in Delaware, USA. Even for me as a German entrepreneur, doing business from the U.S. was easier than cobbling something together here in Germany. Amazing!

Marketing, the real challenge

But: Marketing News Bundler was (and still is) a challenge for me. Having a great product is not enough, you must have a channel to reach the people who want to buy and an offer that they find compelling.

It turns out that News Bundler is almost an entirely new product category, and getting attention for it is more difficult than I imagined it to be. I almost always need to explain to newsletter operators how News Bundler really works.

3 possible solutions for marketing

Therefore, I created “2 writers make money”, both as a free 7-day email course and a free eBook that people can download. With the course or the book, you can learn to make more money from your paid newsletter.

While I enjoyed to write all that, I realized that for me as an engineer it feels hard to “toot my own horn” and to repeat myself over and over again – at least it’s harder for me than to write a new piece of software.

Therefore, on May 27th, I decided to create Get Their Click, a solution that allows you to connect your favorite newsletter system to the big “Subscribe” button on your Twitter profile.

My reasoning is that almost every newsletter author should want to have it, because:

  • it brings them more subscribers by making it so easy to subscribe, with one click,
  • it’s a “set and forget” thing, totally automatic
  • it has immediate and long-term value
  • it’s “brain-dead simple” to set up (quote from Brendan McAdams who jumped on it immediately)
  • it’s free!

Once the authors use Get Their Click, I want to tell them more about News Bundler and get them to use it, too. Marketers call this a “lead magnet”, and in this case it’s also a special kind of “engineering as marketing”.

Get Their Click is now live and kicking. 🙋🏻‍♂️ At the moment, it happily transfers subscribers from Twitter/Revue to ConvertKit. I will write support other platforms besides ConvertKit once I’m back from Italy.

Now, this sounds all great and good, doesn’t it?

But wait … 🤔 … there is another obstacle!

The much bigger challenge

News Bundler as a product itself seems to be a nice-to-have, not a “pain killer” type of product. Newsletter authors know that growth is important, but taking the necessary steps for bundling doesn’t seem to be their priority.

I don’t really know what it is that keeps authors from bundling. Is it…

  • Finding a buddy author to team up with?
  • Defining a good bundle of newsletters to sell?
  • Fear of cannibalization, i.e. realizing that people who buy the bundle will cancel the original newsletter subscriptions because they don’t want to pay twice?

Whatever it is, I realized that people don’t adopt News Bundler quickly. And: They don’t share it on social media so “word of mouth” doesn’t kick in. Traffic from Google is trickling in now but it will take more time until SEO really kicks in.

This is where you can help me

It’s good that vacation season is here and makes me stop for a moment and reflect.

My fellow entrepreneurs would say: “Got a marketing problem? Ask your customers!” So that’s what I’ll do.

I have prepared a short survey form for you, it will take you less than 10 minutes to answer it and send the results to me. Please do so, it means a lot to me. Click here to see the survey.

When I return from vacation, I will use the results to find out which way to go. You will help me a great deal if you answer the survey!

Have a good time and see you again in 3 weeks! Matthias

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.

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