When I started the Pinnacle Newsletter in January 2018, the plan was for it to take the place of my Facebook presence, which I shut down with great relief. I didn’t have particularly high hopes for the newsletter, and I had no rigid plan for content or strategy – I just told myself that I would be consistent, honest, and offer writing that I didn’t publish anywhere else. I have not been particularly active in promoting it, beyond the odd tweet and embedding a few signup links in blog posts. I never got around to creating an incentive either (‘Sign up to my newsletter to get a free e-book!’).
The subscriber count has steadily increased ever since, and while 400 may sound like a pretty low figure compared to (for example) my follower count on Twitter, there’s a qualitative difference.
In an attention-starved, information-saturated world, newsletters offer something different. A newsletter is more intimate than a blog post, less ephemeral than an Instagram update, and does not bleat for attention like a tweet. It just patiently waits in your inbox until you choose to read it. This act of intention is, in my opinion, key to the understated greatness of the format: the reader chooses to receive it and has to make a conscious effort to read it. This means that 400 engaged newsletter subscribers are immeasurably more valuable than 4,000 followers on Twitter. The connections are quite simply more tangible.
I like to think that the people who choose to receive my newsletter are more interested in my writing and my voice than the average casual follower. Many of you take the time to reply to my weekly letters with intelligent questions and comments. The quality of conversation is an order of magnitude better than the jostling, sniping and posturing that takes place on Twitter. Looking at the figures, my average opening rate is consistently higher than 60 per cent, which is extremely good (industry average is less than half that).
Put simply, I see my newsletter as an antidote or alternative to social media, and it’s become my most valuable way of reaching readers by far.
Thank you to everyone who has chosen to sign up and read my scribblings. While it really isn’t all about the numbers, I have a loose goal to reach 500 by the end of the year, so if you know someone who you think would enjoy my newsletter, here is the signup link you can share: https://tinyletter.com/alex_roddie