News for Authors

How to Grow Your Newsletter Organically

by Stephanie Bowen|July, 2024

If you’ve started a newsletter, you may be wondering: How do I grow it from here? In this article, we offer several strategies for getting the word out organically and bringing in new subscribers without having to resort to paid advertising.

How to Grow Your Email Newsletter

1.Include a sign-up link everywhere you can. Have a website and/or social media? Add the opt-in prominently on your site’s homepage and in your bio on all your social channels. Presenting at events, conferences, or speaking gigs? Include a plug for your newsletter at the end, where appropriate. Your email signature, your business card, and your byline in articles or op-eds are all great places to mention it (though for the latter, check first with the publication).


2.Create an exclusive offer to entice new subscribers. This is almost always a piece of custom original content they’ll receive for signing up. It could be ten ideas/tips/recommendations for subscribers only or a short story or deleted scene you haven’t shared elsewhere. Other ideas to consider are special giveaways or opportunities to entice signups (such as an exclusive early excerpt of your book or the chance to participate in an AMA—“Ask Me Anything”—session with you).


3.Reserve something special for your newsletter readers. A newsletter gives readers the feeling of exclusivity; if it’s the same content they can get from your socials, podcast, or speaking engagements, there’s no reason to sign up. Think about what you can provide in the newsletter that won’t be anywhere else. Again, you can achieve this with exclusive and/or paid content, giveaways, behind-the-scenes info, or anything else that you might not post broadly on social media. Once you’ve decided, make sure people know about it, so they sign up to get these special offerings!


4.Tell everyone you know, and then tell them again. Spread the word to your family, friends, colleagues, online networks, and followers, and encourage them all to share it with others who might enjoy it. Include a note at the end of each edition encouraging readers to forward your newsletter to others they think would like it. And every time you send a newsletter, post a quick teaser about it (with a sign-up link, of course) on social media, so your followers can get in on the exclusive content you’re offering. People often need a few reminders before they take action and hit subscribe.


5.Try newsletter swaps and recommendation tools. Another great way to grow your audience is through newsletter swaps, where you arrange with another author, expert, or influencer in a similar genre to feature each other in your respective newsletters or social media. The idea is that the other person’s audience is more likely to subscribe to your newsletter if they hear an endorsement from the trusted source they’re already following. There are a few ways to do these swaps:

    • You each take over the other’s newsletter for one issue.
    • You do a Q&A with each other for your respective newsletters.
    • You feature a teaser for each other’s newsletter and/or book.
    • If the other person has a large social media audience but no newsletter, you can promote their social media to your readers in return for them promoting your newsletter to their social followers.

Also, some newsletter platforms, such as ConvertKit and Substack, offer recommendation programs that you can opt into to reach new readers.

As with anything you recommend, it’s important to keep in mind what’s relevant for your audience and not to suggest something that’s not going to be useful or valuable to your existing readership solely for the sake of gaining more subscribers. You don’t want to lose your readers’ trust!


Growing a newsletter audience is often a slow process; it takes time, patience, and consistency. But a newsletter also can be an incredibly rewarding way to connect with readers and fans in an intimate and in-depth format, and these tips hopefully will help you do exactly that.


Stephanie Bowen is the Director of Author Development.