The personal website of Chris Coyier

My Obnoxious Answers about Email Newsletters

(This is just an email-answer-turned-blog-post.)

What are some of the gotchas / pain points I should to look out for in running a newsletter?

You need desire and motivation to do it. Newsletters are no sure-fire-business-win, so hopefully, it’s fueled by your own passion for the topic. We have a newsletter on CSS-Tricks because, as a publication, it’s a nice way to reach folks that may not otherwise swing by the site. Email is cool because it’s so opt-in. If people don’t want it, they unsubscribe (or don’t subscribe in the first place).

One potential pain point will be content generation. Do you have an unlimited stream of that from your brain? Some people have trouble spitting out works on command. If you do, maybe start compiling a huge idea pile now.

Another pain point can be guilt. If you can’t manage to get one out consistently, you might find yourself feeling guilty about it, and the guilt leads to choices like nuking it, which is yet-more guilt.

How long does it take you to put together a newsletter (excluding time to create the actual blog content)?

There is no answer to that. You could spend 20 minutes compiling a few links. You could spend every waking moment preparing, writing, editing, and formatting. How much time do you have to put into it? Is it your livelihood or some for-fun side thing?

Do you use any tooling / outsourcing to put together the newsletter every week / month?

Lately, we write it in WordPress/Gutenberg and send it through MailChimp/RSS.

A bit of outsourcing in that Robin Rendle leads it up for us and does the vast majority of writing for it. Thanks Robin!