Recently, I came across an amazing story on Medium by a creator who makes over $1K every month running ads on their newsletters.
I’m a content creator and write mostly about digital marketing and online income. And yet, until I read that story, I didn’t even consider running ads in my newsletters.
This wasn’t just ignorance; it was more than that. I’ve always been apprehensive about selling ads. I’m more than happy to do affiliate marketing because those are products I’m familiar with. I’m also cool with writing sponsored blog posts because those too are partnerships with brands I can trust to the best of my knowledge.
But the logistics behind selling ads are different. You have to go with whoever is buying ad slots simply because the cogs turn too fast.
And yet, something about running ads in my newsletters appealed to me.
The start of a new venture
I decided to try running ads on my newsletter mostly because the idea of trying something new was exciting.
I’ve been in the content business long enough to know how things work, so, setting everything up was a breeze.
Within hours I had a landing page set up, a new template for the Sunday version of my newsletter (which I decided to call the Sunday Blogger) designed, and a way to automate ad sales and payment collection figured out.
To speed things up, I even joined a newsletter ad network called Swapstack.
Then I started to get impatient
I was ready to roll and monetize my almost 8K active newsletter subscribers.
That was just five weeks ago…
In the five weeks since, I’ve sent four Sunday Blogger newsletters (I’ve sent more emails, but I had decided to run ads only on the Sunday newsletters.) I knew I wouldn’t land sponsorships right from the get-go, so I opted to promote my affiliate products in these emails until the first ad sales came in.
I also knew that it would take more than four weeks to land sponsors. After all, content business is all about patience! I had learned that many times over in the last four years as I waited to make my first 100 bucks, then the first $1,000, then the first $5,000, then the first 10K… you get the picture.
Why should newsletter ads be any different?
Up until now, I have practiced sufficient diligence and patience in my blogging business. Having to wait for things to change isn’t new to me. But waiting for sponsors to roll in was harder somehow…
That nagging feeling kept growing
But perhaps it was my general apprehension towards selling ads or the fact that until now the emails to my subscribers have always been personal — even when I promoted my products — that the idea of opening up the newsletter door to complete strangers (a.k.a. sponsors) made me nervous.
What if random companies or individuals started buying ads in my newsletter, and weeks later it turned out that they’re total shits?
Wouldn’t it reflect poorly on me?
The rational side of me knows that’s not the case. Inclusion doesn’t always mean endorsement in this day and age when things move too fast to keep track of.
But something in the back of my head kept nagging at me nonetheless. And the more time went on (which, to be honest, wasn’t that long,) I kept getting more restless and apprehensive.
I started to grow impatient with the whole thing.
And a little bored too…
And then I gave up
So, after sending out the fourth Sunday Blogger newsletter, the very next day I emailed my subscribers again and announced the end of the series.
I wrote them a passionate email saying how I wasn’t enjoying writing the Sunday Blogger newsletters — a rather strange thing considering I used to love writing newsletters until I started the Sunday Blogger series — and how the possibility of potential profits in the future wasn’t enough to keep at it.
Some of my readers were so touched by the whole ordeal and my complete transparency that they even replied to me (a rare occurrence), thanking me for always being honest and sincere with them.
On my part, the decision was so easy because I had yet to land a single sponsorship deal. Had I started making money from the newsletter, I presume I wouldn’t have quit so early.
I told myself and my readers that I simply didn’t have the energy to go after sponsors. If I have time to send cold emails, I’d rather do that to land freelance writing clients (a new thing I’m trying out,) and not newsletter ads that my subscribers don’t really care about one way or the other…
And then, the twist arrived
That was yesterday.
And today, just 5 weeks after I made the decision to monetize my newsletter and less than 24 hours after I announced the end of Sunday Blogger, I had my first, true potential sponsor reach out to me about running an ad on the newsletter…
What timing, eh?
Made me wonder, what if I received this email just 15 hours prior? Would things have been different? Would I not have decided to end the Sunday Blogger series or not announced the end of it in an “official” email to all of my almost 8K subscribers?
This also made me question myself: Is this a sign or is it a test of my integrity?
My final decision
What’s done is done, and even though I’m questioning whether I should or shouldn’t run ads on my newsletter, I think for now at least, I’ll lay off monetizing the newsletter with ads.
Things may very well change in the future and I may decide to re-launch Sunday Blogger + ads, but for now, I have other things to worry about and focus on: A new blog series, an upcoming blog writing workshop, and much more that will keep me busy.
Advertisers can wait.
There’s always a lesson, isn’t there?! 😉
The only lesson from this is simple: The content business is all about being patient.
Stay patient, do your thing, keep doing your thing, and as long as you do, opportunities will come.
I got impatient and gave up on Sunday Blogger just before things were about to change. I don’t regret my decision, but the twist at the end was a much-needed reminder that I must always practice diligence and patience in this business.
Giving up is the biggest reason for “failure.”
After all, nothing ever happens overnight.