Want to make $40M on newsletter sponsorships like Morning Brew?
It’s possible. The scrappy team started just 5 years ago and recently got acquired by Business Insider for $80M. All with a newsletter that monetized through ads and sponsorships. There’s room for many more indie newsletters to become massive media companies through a sponsorship business model.
Not Boring is a good example here. Its creator, Packy McCormick makes his newsletter available to everyone for free while still making over $6,000 per week. He does deep dives on companies that he invests in or that sponsor him. His subscribers learn about new businesses while companies get exposure to a relevant audience.
Packy got here in about a year. This could be your story, too.
Let’s figure out how you can monetize your newsletter with sponsorships.
In general, a well-defined niche audience makes it easier to sell sponsors. Businesses look for targeted audiences to sell. For example, a newsletter about traveling vs a newsletter about traveling in RVs. The latter is probably a lot more interesting to a company selling camping equipment, trailers, or hiking gear. The former can work too, but it’s also pretty broad. A well-defined target audience signals who should ideally sponsor your newsletter.
Share your open rates
You can attract sponsors by showcasing your reader engagement. Businesses sponsor content to introduce their brand to potential customers and convert that coverage into sales. Anything you can do to quantify your engagement will help sponsors understand their ROI from placing ads with your newsletter. A large mailing list on its own is not enough if the emails aren’t actually read. If you have 1000 subscribers and your open rate is 40%, an ad will be seen by 400 people. And a smaller portion will click on a link to the sponsor’s site. This is the number sponsors are trying to understand, meaning if you make it clear to them upfront, they’ll be more willing to work with you.
Letterdrop, for instance, helps you share up-to-date newsletter stats in real time. This way sponsors understand what kind of exposure they might expect from sponsoring you.
Figure out pricing
Your newsletter frequency, audience value, ad placement, and type of ad (sponsored post or a slot at the end/beginning) are some of the things that affect how much a sponsor will pay. Make sure you can generate enough value for a sponsor to command a price and make it worth it.
Here are some examples.
Take a look at the number of subscribers and open rate. The stats are pretty good which allows for setting quite a nice price of $125 per ad. This newsletter is niche, which attracts more sponsors in the field of animation and digital art.
And now compare it to the same parameters of this newsletter about financial freedom and lifestyle, Friday Digest.
There may be more subscribers but the open rates are much lower, making the price per ad about the same.
Interesting stats, right?
Research other newsletters in your space
Depending on your niche, the newsletter market can be quite saturated. It’s a blessing in disguise since you can find the people and companies who already advertise with newsletters similar to yours. Newsletter ad directories like SponsorGap, Hecto, and Swapstack can help you find newsletter advertisers. Newsletter directories like the ones listed here are a good source for navigating sponsorships as well.
Keep tabs on companies paying for ads
Create a list of who pays for Facebook/Google/Reddit ads in your niche. As a shortcut, start following active Instagram and Facebook accounts of businesses in your space. If sometime later an ad from a company appears in your feed, it's a sign they are investing in ads, meaning they will likely be open to sponsoring your newsletter too!
Build a list of contacts to reach out to
Try to find the relevant person at companies to talk to. Generally, their role will be something like "Head of Marketing" or "Demand Gen", etc. LinkedIn and Twitter are your friends in this task. Tools like Hunter are helpful for finding their emails.
Prepare a pitch
You got the contacts. Well done! Now it’s time to sell potential advertisers on how you’re going to get them in front of prospective customers.
Make sure you cover these points when preparing your newsletter pitch:
For inspiration, take a look at The Hustle’s advertising page. Letterdrop can give you a ready-to-go landing page to pitch to your sponsors without having to use any third-party apps. It takes 5 mins to set up.
On Letterdrop's checkout page your sponsors can book slots, select a package and add their blurb.
And you can manage sponsor requests from a central dashboard and map them to your posts with a content calendar.
Once the ad's been published, relevant stats will be automatically shared with sponsors so they can track their return on ad spendings.
Click here if you want to read more about the ins and outs of newsletter sponsorships on Letterdrop.
Ready to strike your first newsletter sponsorship deal? I hope this ultimate guide on how to get sponsors for your newsletter gave you some encouragement to start.
It's a good day to build your own landing page for sponsors! Especially since we're free to start 😊
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