How to Get Your Email List Started (and What to Send)

If you’ve been a freelance writer for any length of time I’m betting someone has told you it’s time to get your email list started. I’m right, aren’t I?

How to Get Your Email List Started

And I know you’re thinking about getting your email list started and you would but…what on earth do you send? Right!? Am I reading your mind right now?

Maybe you’re wondering if you should wait till you have a certain number of subscribers before getting your email list started? Well, there is no reason to wait. I mean, even if you have one subscriber it’s worth diving in. First of all, they don’t know how many people are on your email list and second of all, by getting started you will get into the habit of emailing your list and will be an old pro by the time you build it to whatever number you had in your head.

Three ideas for getting your email list started and what to send to your subscribers

  1. Share your latest article, video, podcast, etc.

    Tell the story of whatever it is you’ve published this week and add a link so your subscribers can jump over and see it for themselves. It’s an easy way to let people know what’s going on without putting on too much pressure.

  2. Write an exclusive article or essay about a topic the people on your list want to learn more about

    This may seem like a lot to take on but it’s an excellent way to create value and connect with your audience. If you don’t know what they want why not ask?

  3. Curate a list of articles based on your audiences’ interests

    Again, you need to know what your audience is interested in if you want to provide a list of valuable articles and resources from around the web but if you nail the topic your email subscribers will love you! And since you do tons of research for your freelance writing anyway, collecting links of great articles should be second nature.

These are a few quick ideas to get you started with emailing your list. But maybe you’re still not convinced you need an email list. I get it! You’re a freelance writer, what do you need with email subscribers? Well I have a few reasons why getting an email list started is in your best interest. I published my article over on Story Board in an article called Why Freelancers in Marketing and Communications Should Have an Email List but here’s the quick version. Check out the post for the explanations:

  • An email list nurtures potential clients who aren’t ready to hire you…yet
  • An email list helps people who are on the fence about hiring you
  • An email list is a great way to stay in touch with previous clients
  • An email list helps you build authority in your niche
  • An email list helps you avoid the freelancer feast or famine cycle
  • You own your email list

If you've been a freelance writer for any length of time I'm betting someone has told you it's time to get your email list started. I'm right, aren't I?

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How to Create a Digital Business Card for Your Freelance Writing Business

Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote your business through everyday communication.

Creating a digital business card for your freelance writing business

What if you had a digital business card that you could pass out to all your friends and colleagues to help you get paid work?

When you’re a hungry freelance writer it’s difficult to know where to look for work. Things like job boards, Craigslist, and cold emailing queries are what people lean towards but these are (in general) low paying, competitive, and an exhausting hustle. Your chances of landing solid clients are low so your pitch rate has to be high.

If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals. Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too. The trick is letting people know what you do and that you’re available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up.

Today we’ll focus on one of the easiest yet most overlooked way to put yourself in front of warm leads and set yourself up for referrals. It’s your email signature. We do almost everything by email so this is a golden opportunity to add a little bit about yourself and your business.

No, this doesn’t make you look desperate. Think of your email signature as a digital business card. It’s a perfect opportunity to promote yourself and your business through your everyday communication.

Here’s what a good email signature can accomplish.

  • Makes you look professional
  • Advertises your expertise
  • Lets people know you’re available
  • Lets people know how you want to be contacted
  • Serves as free marketing
  • Is professional and shows you’re serious about your business
  • Makes it easy for people to contact you

Convinced? Great, let’s do this.

Already have one? Wonderful! Take a few minutes to review your email signature and adjust as necessary.

What should your digital business card include?

Best practice recommends between four and seven lines for an email signature (although I say less is more here), so pick and choose the information you will include. Some suggestions include the list below.

  • Your name
  • Your title/type of writing you do
  • Company name (if relevant)
  • Contact information (How do you want people to contact you? Remember including your email address is redundant)
  • Website address (link here to your professional site or the site you want prospective clients to see—where they can learn more about you and your services)
  • Tagline (what sets you apart from your competitors) or marketing message
  • Social links (if relevant, and only if you want your prospective clients to see)

Avoid adding images—most people have image blockers or read email on phones these days. If you feel you need your photo, logo, or social icons then use a service that will embed it into your email signature like Wisestamp or Hubspot.

Another tip is keep your email signature brief. There’s no need to list every social platform. Dial back your contact information to the best way people can reach you and your best website, which will give people more information about you and your services.

I’ve linked instructions for adding your signature to your email below.

  • Adding your signature in Gmail
  • Adding your signature in Outlook
  • And don’t forget about your smarphone!

  • Adding your signature to your iPhone
  • Adding your signature to your Android

Be brave, put yourself out there!


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If you’re wondering how established freelance writers generate leads they’ll tell you most of their work comes through warm leads (existing relationships) and referrals. Even if you’re just starting out these options are available to you too. The trick is letting people know what you do and that you're available so they think of you when an opportunity comes up. Today we'll focus on one of the easiest yet most overlooked way to put yourself in front of warm leads and set yourself up for referrals. It's your email signature. We do almost everything by email so this is a golden opportunity to add a little bit about yourself and your business.