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How to start a paid newsletter

Create Your Product
How to start a paid newsletter
Table of contents
Read time: 5min

One of the best ways to build a thriving audience and make money in the knowledge economy is through the use of a paid newsletter. But before you think a paid newsletter is the same as a free newsletter with even more content added, it’s important to think about how a paid newsletter subscription will tie into your overall email marketing strategy. 

Fortunately, Kajabi has you covered with everything you need to know to launch a paid newsletter subscription, even if you’ve never sold anything online. 

What is a paid newsletter?

Paid newsletters are a knowledge product, an email campaign that your subscribers pay to receive. They’re also a marketing tool, a great way to build your personal brand as a credible authority in your field. And they’re an excellent way to supplement your existing income. 

A paid newsletter is a direct connection between you and your audience. You’re in complete control of the content at all times. You decide what you want to share and how much it costs.  

Your paid newsletter can be: 

  • A traditional-style print newsletter, mailed via snail mail
  • A PDF delivered by email
  • Content only accessible to subscribers via your Member’s Area

What kind of content can I include in a paid newsletter? 

Paid newsletters can incorporate all kinds of unique, engaging content. Depending on the knowledge you have to share, you could sell: 

  • Early access to your course
  • Interviews or podcasts
  • Personalized coaching
  • Member-only events
  • Additional learning materials
  • Case studies
  • Trend forecasts
  • And much more

Why should I sell a paid newsletter?

Selling a paid newsletter gives interested customers a way to get deeper, more thorough tips, strategies, and insights that they wouldn’t ordinarily receive in a free newsletter. 

What’s more, free newsletters often simply scratch the surface of a given industry or topic. Paid newsletters, on the other hand, pride themselves on digging into the nitty-gritty details. It’s those details that make them worth paying for.

How do I create a paid newsletter? 

Every great paid newsletter starts as a broad idea. To figure out what your newsletter should be, ask yourself a series of questions, and then build the foundations on your answers. 

Step 1: Create your strategy 

Your strategy is what will set your paid newsletter apart from all of the freebies out there, as well as any of your competitors who see your paid newsletter performance and are looking to siphon away some of your subscribers. 

You can start creating your strategy by asking three simple questions:

What is my value statement?

This is the value that your paid newsletter will bring to your audience. It has to be something that few others have access to, or incorporate strategies, research or other information that few people are willing to do the legwork on. That is what will separate your newsletter from the freebies out there while helping you to build your personal brand. 

How often will I send out my newsletter?

The frequency of your newsletter also matters, since you don’t want to overwhelm your users with countless emails. But you also don’t want there to be a content drought. Set a timing for your newsletter that doesn’t make you feel rushed to always put out new content, and meets your subscribers’ expectations. You don’t want them to feel like they’re getting anything less than they paid for. 

What format will my newsletter be in? 

You have a lot of options for the formatting of your paid newsletter. You can follow the traditional path of having it be a print newsletter, or you can put it as a PDF download for members only. You can also set it up entirely as an email list. It’s your decision and you have complete freedom and control over the process. 

Once you’ve nailed down the answers to these questions, it’s time to make your newsletter purchasable and announce your launch to an eager audience. 

Step 2: Set up your shopping cart

With your strategy done, it’s time to build out your sales process and delivery sequence. Start by setting up your newsletter as a product in your shopping cart. There, you can determine your newsletter billing frequency and payment options.  

This is also a good time to build an email campaign to welcome new subscribers, give them any access information they need, and deliver other important information. Use your email marketing software to set up an automation, triggered by the newsletter purchase.

Once your shopping cart is set up, you can start selling your paid newsletter. But it’s easier if you have a page on your website that does the selling, so let’s do that now.

Step 3: Build a landing page

The landing page is where you lay all of the benefits on the table. It’s where you share the details about your newsletter, why someone would want to subscribe, what kind of information they can look forward to, and how to get started. 

To help shortcut the process and save time, it’s a good idea to use a digital platform that includes a drag-and-drop editor to create your landing page. A good landing page building doesn’t require a lot of complex code and HTML knowledge. That frees you to focus on building the best possible knowledge experience for your readers. 

Step 4: Drive newsletter subscriptions

You have a variety of options for promoting your paid newsletter. Here are a few proven ways to get the word out:

  • Promote it in your free newsletter
  • Create a banner on your website
  • Advertise
  • Mention it in blog posts
  • Promote it in your course materials 
  • Add a link to your author byline
  • Add it to your email signature

Remember, your paid newsletter is a digital product. Just as you’d create marketing campaigns to sell more courses or coaching programs, you can build marketing campaigns to sell newsletter subscriptions.

Step 5: Deliver on what you promise

Finally, this should go without saying: Deliver on what you promise. You’ve poured all of your time and effort into creating a paid newsletter that’s beyond anything that is freely available on the web. Now it’s time to pour so much value into the newsletter that your readers wouldn’t dream of unsubscribing. 

What are the metrics of a paid newsletter? 

Since your users are paying to receive your newsletters, you may wonder if it’s really “worth it” to go the paid route. Countless industry benchmarks prove that it is. 

For example, visitors to the New York Times online are twice as likely to become paid subscribers if they subscribe to a newsletter first. These metrics shouldn’t be surprising given that the New York Times actually runs dozens of newsletters across a variety of topics and reaches millions of subscribers every day. 

They obviously have the long-standing clout and credibility of being an established newspaper that has wholeheartedly embraced the digital age. But even without that background, many aspiring writers, activists, and pop culture fans are making inroads with paid newsletters.

Tech writer Jared Newman had a subscriber base of 17,000 users for his free “Cord Cutter Weekly” newsletter. He recently created a paid version, “Advisorator,” which already has 200 subscribers paying $40 a year. That’s an extra $8,000 from doing the same kind of work he was doing for his larger free newsletter audience. 

Plus, it’s not just tech news and traditional journalism that’s enjoying a rise in paid subscribers. Everyday advice columns, personalized news and opinion are also hot topics. For example, Emily Atkin runs heated.world, for “people who are pissed off about climate change.”

Emily quit her full-time job to wholly devote her time to doing a better job than she felt the media was doing when it came to reporting on climate change. She currently charges $8 per month or $75 per year and has been working on Heated since 2019, connecting thousands of subscribers with in-depth climate news that matters to them. 

Who’s making money with paid newsletters?

There are paid newsletters making money for just about every niche under the sun! Here are a few of our personal favorites: 

The Browser

The Browser separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to unique, interesting, and fascinating stories from around the web. It currently reaches 70,000 readers with a monthly fee of $5 or a yearly fee of $48. 

Cleaning the Glass

Cleaning the Glass is all about NBA and basketball stats. It’s used by actual NBA teams, agents, and writers alike who love playing the armchair GM. Cleaning the glass crunches the numbers so that stats fans don’t have to, showing that paid newsletters can thrive in nearly any niche. 

Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott and his team of flight fanatics watch the skies and sift through the deals to find truly amazing travel bargains. For both his premium and elite paid newsletters, he has countless member testimonials attesting to the quality and convenience. Clearly, Scott and his crew have carved out a lucrative spot in a particularly tough market ordinarily overshadowed by travel behemoths. 

As you can see, the potential for a paid newsletter that thrives in almost any niche is clearly there. From curated cheap flights to basketball stats, there are always people interested enough in a topic to want to pay for advanced information that gives them an edge. 

The only question on your mind now should be, “How can I do that too?”

The important thing to remember when choosing a platform for your paid newsletter is not to paint yourself into a corner with a system that only does email marketing, or only creates landing pages. These types of platforms limit your potential to make money as well as market yourself. 

And since there’s no sense in paying for multiple tools and trying to weave them all together into something that looks like it might work, Kajabi is here to help you concentrate on doing what you love, while making it easy for your readers and subscribers to pay you for your insights. 

How can Kajabi help me get started? 

Kajabi’s all-in-one platform makes it easy for you to launch your own paid newsletter while taking care of all of the tedious tasks in the background. With built-in email marketing software, shopping cart and memberships, you can start connecting in-depth with your subscribers while earning extra income beyond your courses or membership. 

Plus, by using Kajabi’s platform, you don’t need to worry about plugin or programming conflicts, countless updates, integrations, and other hassles. Everything is handled seamlessly through the platform, giving you a truly “one-stop solution” to launch an email newsletter, online courses, and so much more. 

Of course, it’s understandable to have questions before you jump right in. 

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