Hello, Sweet Potato.
Every week I get a
half-dozen invitations to subscribe to various LinkedIn newsletters.
Published by my LinkedIn connections, the newsletters have names like Shrek's MarTech Update or Princess Fiona's Marketing Trendz.
You probably get them, too. The invitations arrive in the same spot we receive connection requests, which makes it one-click-simple to opt in.
Many have massive subscriber numbers, in the tens
or hundreds of thousands.
Which makes me wonder... as the self-appointed Captain of Team Newsletter:
Am I missing out? Are you? Should we all join Shrek, wade into the swamp, and also publish newsletters via LinkedIn?
Wait wait wait: What about that age-old content marketing wisdom of... Never build a house on rented land?
Usually, yes. But is that logic sound here, too?
Let's wade in.
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Twitter also lets anyone start a newsletter for free—via Revue, a Substack competitor Twitter acquired in
You can showcase your newsletter on your Twitter profile page and encourage followers to subscribe directly within the platform. You can also convert your subscribers to a paid newsletter, if that's your fancy.
And although the newsletter publishing function is integrated with your Twitter account, Twitter doesn't own the list: You do.
Facebook also has a newsletter publishing program, called
Bulletin—but right now it's invite-only, to a select few. (Malcolm Gladwell, Jessica Yellin, Tan France.)
But let's focus here on LinkedIn's newsletter program because Twitter's functions mostly like a traditional newsletter. And because we are not Tan France.
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So should you publish a newsletter on LinkedIn?
Yes... BUT ONLY IF you can check these 3 requirements (you must be this tall to ride this ride):
You already have an in-house newsletter program.
____ You have the resources to run your own newsletter program AND a LinkedIn newsletter. (AND! I'm repeating that word because it's important!)
____ You have a plan for converting "subscribers" on LinkedIn in some way that benefits you directly.
I am using
"subscribers" in air quotes to underscore the biggest downside to your LinkedIn newsletter:
You don't own the data.
YOU DON'T OWN THE DATA. (Now in shouty-caps. And bold.)
You don't own the list of subscribers.
You can't export it.
Port it over to a new platform.
Mash it. Slash it. Succotash it. Or do any of the things you can do with an actual database you own.
If you choose to leave or get booted off LinkedIn for whatever
reason... your newsletter gets shut down, too. Again: you don't own the data!
(Heads up! There will be a quiz following this newsletter about whether you own the data that will be 110% of your grade.*)
* Hee-hee... just joshing.
* * *
Sooooo you've checked all the boxes like you're voting for all candidates at once in a November election.
The question becomes: How do you best use a LinkedIn
1. Give your LinkedIn newsletter a different tone and vibe.
Give it a separate identity. Issue it a new passport. Still within your brand. But separate from your company's newsletter.
Orbit Media has long published a twice-monthly newsletter that's a dive into the deep end of new marketing ideas and tactics.
But! Orbit also started up a LinkedIn newsletter with a "super boring but very descriptive name" of Digital Marketing Tips, says Orbit's Andy Crestodina.
It's boring and basic because "clear is better than clever in this case," Andy said. Obvious bests obscure.
Since LinkedIn invites people subscribe with one click, make the value of the newsletter
- "Digital" = well, digital marketing. No advice on billboards or skywriting or gas-pump advertising here.
- "Tips" = fast. Easy. Quick. All the synonyms!
On LinkedIn, get specific:
Lord Farquaad's Castle Decorating on a Budget versus Home Decorating Ideas.
Ogre Onion Recipes versus Shrek's Kitch'n.
2. Use your LinkedIn newsletter as a way to reimagine other content.
Andy uses older, evergreen blog content for Orbit's
LinkedIn newsletter content.
They're like deep cuts on a Stones album. Forgotten. Still catchy. And in some cases... legendary.
3. Warmly welcome your LinkedIn readers onto your land.
Remember above how we chatted about a plan for converting "subscribers" on LinkedIn in some way that benefits you directly?
It's 335 words ago, up there ^^ .... before I popped off about that business of LinkedIn "subscribers" vs. your true
Anyway, do that.
Andy shares MOST of his deep-cut Tips in the LinkedIn newsletter proper. But
subscribers are then escorted over to Orbit's site to access the rest.
Those pages are (you guessed it!) optimized for converting readers to the Orbit house-brand newsletter as well as its services/products.
And by the way... you measure "conversion" however you see fit. Maybe it's enough to for you to grow awareness or advance thought leadership...? That's a legit goal, too. Just HAVE a goal.
to be so mean about it.
Actually, I'm not sorry at all. 😉
* * *
What kind of results might we have?
Andy was early in on the LinkedIn program. In 12-ish
months Orbit's Tips newsletter has grown to 150K subscribers (!).
(Yoopsie... I mean... "subscribers.")
On his own site, the deep-cut articles often get 40K views, he said, "which is double the average weekly traffic on our entire site!"
Can we do the same?
I don't know.
Am I going to do a LinkedIn newsletter? Maybe? I'd need to feel
confident checking the #2 requirement above. (I'm not yet tall enough to ride that ride.)
But if you're down for the challenge... please let me know how it goes!
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