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I've now asked 30+ successful newsletter writers how they got their first 1,000 subscribers.

Their answers are amazingly similar.

Here's how to go from 0 to 1K subscribers (thread):

First, the high-level lessons:

  1. Most growth tactics are simple, not easy.
  2. You have to write good stuff for people to subscribe & stick around.
  3. It's easier to succeed with a clear niche, but you can succeed without one.
  4. Different wins – make your writing distinct.

Now, the tactics.

Here's what most people did to go from zero subscribers to 1,000+...

0 to 10 subscribers:

  • Set up an email capture page
  • Ask your friends, co-workers, and family to subscribe

Getting started is easy.

Text your grandma. Call your sister. Ask your Tinder date to sign up.

These people will cheer you on even if your first few emails suck.

10 to 50 subscribers:

  • Share your subscribe page on FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Keep inviting your friends, family, and colleagues

Don't overthink this. Most people just share an open-ended invite to subscribe.

You'd be surprised how much people want to support you.

50 to 100 subscribers:

  • Reach out to every new subscriber and establish a relationship
  • Ask your existing subscribers to share

Growth at this stage is counter-intuitive – you're too small to start a referral program, but early fans are disproportionately willing to help.

100 to 250 subscribers:

  • Tweet!
  • Publish on a consistent schedule
  • Post your best work on aggregator sites (Hacker News, Reddit)

Two themes start to emerge at this stage...

1. You have to write where people are already hanging out.

Your future readers are hanging out on Twitter, Reddit, Hacker News.

Build up a presence there, then plug your newsletter when something hits.

2. Consistency builds a foundation for growth.

The majority of writers I asked have some sort of weekly or bi-weekly publishing cadence.


  • Maximizes your shots on goal
  • Helps you learn what's working
  • Forces you to uncover more ideas

Right around here, quality seems to matter a lot more.

You're promoting your work to strangers and lots of people on your list don't know you.

They'll be less forgiving, so raise your bar.

250 to 500 subscribers:

  • Break your routine and produce some staple content
  • Don’t stop doing what’s already working

You now have a bit of distribution and can spend some extra time writing something especially good.

The people I talked to had success writing:

  • Long-form interviews with somebody interesting
  • Personal essays that went in-depth on their story
  • Deep dives on a topic they knew a ton about

1. You've built a small but real distribution channel.

There are hundreds of people paying attention to your work, some of whom may have relatively big audiences.

If you write something great, it now has a far higher likelihood of spreading beyond you.

2. You have a backlog of work, some of which is pretty good.

Lots of writers routinely pulled their best work from their archives and shared them with new readers.

The hardest part at every stage is just showing up consistently & doing the work.

If you don't quit, compounding eventually works in your favor.

1K subscribers takes a while, but 2K is now inevitable.

Now, go take a Twitter break and write something interesting... if you bend minds, your growth curve will bend as a consequence.

Join 50k+ doing their best work

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