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Why It’s Smart to Start Your Own Newsletter in 2024 (and Forget Medium’s Subscriber Feature)

  • 7 min read

And how to bring Medium subscribers to Substack, ConvertKit, or MailChimp.

In the summer of 2022, I experienced a knife-to-the-heart moment.

I received this message:

5 people have unsubscribed from your list.

…*knife to the heart*

You work so dang hard to get readers ON your list, it really hurts to watch them go.

Back then I luckily received around 10 insightful comments and emails from my 250+ subscribers in response to my post about the future of my Medium newsletter.

evaluated the feedback I received and made the decision to start my own newsletter in autumn 2022 — and grow outside of Medium.

Medium’s newsletter feature has several flaws

Medium’s newsletter function is a nice tool but it has its flaws.

Despite all the positive feedback I received, here are the top 3 knife-to-the-heart moments for my followers:

#3 — Boom! Bombardment

Boom!

Based on the feedback I’ve received, I found out that 10% felt bombarded by my Medium posts.

Usually, I post several times per day; 1x long form, 1–2x short form posts.

Unfortunately, Medium doesn’t offer a daily or weekly digest.

It sends out several emails.

#2 — Promotional

If you subscribe to get emails from one writer that’s still okay.

But when you opt-in to get emails from several writers you like on Medium, then you really feel bombarded.

Plus, you are annoyed because you can’t read them right inside your inbox.

#1 — Annoying

What most writers don’t know is that you can import email addresses from ConvertKit, MailChimp, Substack, your blog, and co. to your email list on Medium and send them your stories.

Unfortunately, this is annoying too.

95% of my stories are metered (=behind the paywall) to earn money from the Medium Partner Program. Meaning, a short preview of the story appears in the email directing openers to read more on Medium.

Your email subscribers do not have to be members to receive your emails but (!) as non-members they can’t read your stories because Medium doesn’t allow you to read three articles per month for free anymore.

I once tried it and heard that it’s annoying when you click on an article you want to read and then get a notification that you can’t continue reading.

Based on the above analysis, I asked myself:

How does an email look like that people actually want in their inbox?

As a brand manager myself, I know that the goal of a newsletter is

  • to connect with your audience
  • to build your personal brand.

Medium’s newsletter feature offers this only partially.

Moreover, a personal newsletter usually is like a little essay, designed to be read right inside your inbox.

It’s written in an intimate, less formal tone of voice.

“Take the simple newsletter. It is one of the best ways I know to build the community and culture of your brand.” — David Hieatt, marketing guru

As a writer, your newsletter is a line of communication with your true fans.

The fans who want a relationship with you beyond a social platform like Medium.

This is why email marketing still delivers the highest Return on Investment (ROI) in comparison to any other channel. It’s 3,600%. Email generates $36 for every $1 spent.

Making it one of the most effective options available.

A quick overview of the most relevant email newsletter providers

Here are my two favorite email newsletter providers, which I also recommended to my students:

Substack

Kristina God on Substack

I might be a bit biased because I have a newsletter on Substack and run a “Substack for Beginners” series on Medium… but I still think that Substack is the next big blogging platform for writers and authors.

Based on the feedback I received, I started my newsletter last autumn and now have 3,000 subscribers on my list.

It’s free and Substack’s recommendation engine is a goldmine.

You can recommend to your subscribers writers worth checking out, and get recommended in turn.

At the moment more than 100 publications are recommending me…

Kristina God on Substack

… and I got over 700 subscribers from this.

ConvertKit

photo credit: ConvertKit

Do you know The Daily Stoic? Well, bestselling author Ryan Holiday of The Daily Stoic, Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way started his career on Substack.

Substack was the foundation of his marketing strategy.

He used ConvertKit to build a successful daily newsletter about stoicism and the rest is history.

I used ConvertKit in the past for one of my newsletters.

A few weeks ago, I recommended my hubby migrate his subscribers from MailChimp to ConvertKit because the platform allows you to segment your subscribers and has a lot of data and insights in the backend.

In addition, it started mimicking Substack’s recommendation engine.

My hubby joined the Creator Network about 3,000 creators are currently participating in it.

My hubby is collaborating with a handful of other YouTubers and professionals and has grown his email list from 3,600 to more than 5,000 within one month.

Patrick God on ConvertKit

How to import your Medium subscribers to Substack and Co.

If you want to take your Medium subscribers with you and import them to Substack, or ConvertKit, follow my lead:

  • Click on Audience Stats
  • Click on Email Subscribers — See more details
  • Click Export this list.
screenshot by Kristina God
  • Click on Export list
screenshot by Kristina God

Now you can export your subscribers:

screenshot by Kristina God

You’ll get an email from Medium with the download request.

screenshot by Kristina God

Now you can download a list of your subscribers.

How to convert a .txt file into a .csv file

Medium provides you with an email export as a .txt file only.

screenshot by Kristina God

Unfortunately, Substack and Co. need a .csv file.

You will need to convert the list to CSV using a spreadsheet export.

Medium Support

My husband was so kind as to explain to me how to fix this.

It’s pretty simple:

Just rename the file with .csv at the end.

screenshot by Kristina God

Final Takeaways

Your personal newsletter will help you to connect with your audience more deeply and grow your personal brand.

Winning new subscribers on Medium is nice but the goal of this platform isn’t to help you gain subscribers you own. The goal is to help you build an audience of followers (that are rented).

So why not start your own newsletters in 2024?

Do you have any questions or want to share how you are faring with Medium’s subscriber feature? I’d love to hear from you.

👇Join my newsletter for more insights:👇

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