How to Build a World-Class Newsletter
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Scott Oldford, top business advisor and mentor to Online Entrepreneurs, has scaled over 200+ businesses past 7-figures–and he’s actively scaling over 50+ companies today. You can get an inside look at what he’s doing and HOW he scales 7-figure businesses in his free newsletter, The 7-Figure Letter.
After struggling for years to find his life purpose, the creator of Panda Planner figured out how to “build” his life purpose in days using a simple 1-page tool, which he’s giving away here.
Delivering a compelling, value-packed newsletter is a great way to build trust and authority with your target audience, especially as a solopreneur.
It can also feel like an incredibly daunting task.
And that’s why I’ve spent the last 18 months creating a formula that helps me write my weekly newsletter in 75 minutes or less.
Today, I’m sharing my formula (in 8 parts) so newsletter creation can feel approachable for you.
Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Build An Idea Bank
The hardest part of writing a weekly newsletter is coming up with topic ideas. It’s strange because I get ideas all the time. But if I wait until it’s time to actually sit down and write, suddenly my mind goes blank.
It’s hugely helpful to capture all your ideas in one place, in real-time as they occur to you.
So my first tip is to always be building your idea bank.
It's like a savings account for your thoughts and concepts that will keep you from ever having to start from complete scratch when it’s time to write.
I spend a few minutes every day looking for ideas — scanning YouTube channels, reading aggregator newsletters, surfing relevant news stories or Reddit — and then reflecting on things I've learned to top up my ever-growing idea bank.
If you aim to jot down 2-3 new ideas every day, you’ll have 15+ fresh ideas to work with every week. That’s a lot of inspiration.
Step 2: Research And Gather Information
After selecting a topic from your idea bank, it's time to do a little digging.
Google is your best friend here, and I wouldn’t overcomplicate it.
Look for a book, tweet, quote, or article that supports your topic idea or offers an interesting perspective.
These research snippets not only back up your thoughts, but also offer diverse viewpoints for your readers.
Step 3: Use A Template
This step is my secret sauce for speed - a newsletter template.
A simple template serves as a roadmap to guide the flow of your newsletter, each and every week.
Keeping my audience in mind, my newsletter flow is simple:
- What's a big problem?
- How do most people solve it?
- Why doesn't it work for them?
- How might I solve it differently?
- Recommended action step(s) for readers with this big problem
This formula ensures I’m always helping my audience do something they’re struggling to do.
And that’s how you build a tribe of followers.
Step 4: Write Your Headers
Before you dive into the actual writing, draft your headers.
These headers will serve as your guideposts. You’re essentially building a mini-outline.
This basic outline will prevent you from getting off course and help you stick to your critical points.
Now, with your headers in place, you have a trail to follow. And this makes the writing process so much smoother.
I call this step “prepping the page” and it’s been another critical key to my speed.
Step 5: Fill Out The Body
Now it's time to flesh out your newsletter.
Each section should start with an opening line that lays out the intent of the header. What are you about to cover? Prep your reader.
Follow up with a paragraph about your insights, and then suggest some actionable steps your readers can take.
This framework ensures you deliver value and tactics your readers can actually use.
Step 6: Insert Visuals and Research
Next, incorporate the pieces of research you unearthed earlier.
If an image or video can support or underscore your points, add those in too.
One thing to keep in mind as you are out there finding your snippets: Varying the types of content you embed in your newsletters can keep your newsletter feeling fresh and help your readers remain engaged.
In other words, don’t just share the same type of content in every issue.
Mix it up and keep things interesting for your readers.
Step 7: Write Your Title
With your first draft ready, it's time to craft your title.
A title should be catchy and bold. And it should clearly tell the reader what to expect inside. Remember - it’s not clickbait if your article actually delivers.
An email subject line tester can help you gauge the strength of your title.
Tweak your title until it's enticing enough to generate good open rates.
And if you’re just getting started with this part, ask for help. Send your title ideas to friends or family and ask which subject lines are most compelling.
Getting feedback from other people will offer valuable and fresh perspectives that help you sharpen your message.
Step 8: Edit Using a Process
Lastly, it’s important to put your newsletter through a rigorous editing process.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are the basics. But be sure to check for conciseness and clarity in your sentences.
Scrutinize for unnecessary tangents.
Remove unneeded words and sentences.
And most importantly, ensure that you deliver what your headline promised!
Here are the 4 questions I scan for when I edit a newsletter:
- Are my sentences concise and easy to understand?
- Do I have any tangents or sentences that could be eliminated?
- Did I add links to relevant resources?
- Do I deliver what I promised in my headline?
Writing a world-class newsletter might seem like a daunting task. But breaking it down into manageable steps makes it not just possible, but actually efficient and enjoyable.
And the best part about a newsletter is that you can transform it into 6-12 pieces of content using a simple system.
Remember: you are already doing amazing work.
Now, let's amplify that with a stellar newsletter.
This Week’s Action Step
If you don't have one, start your idea bank, and capture 2-3 ideas there every day.
If you already have an idea bank, consider building a simple template that you can riff off of each week.
That's it for today.
See you next week.
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
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