Happy Blogging Basics Wednesday! If you’re new to Glitter & Spice, Blogging Basics is a weekly series through which I answer popular questions about blogging. Topics can be as simple as how to balance blogging with a full-time job or why having a blogger bestie is important… Or as complex as plugins you should be using on your site and how to figure out your rate for sponsored posts.
This week, I thought I’d cover how to create a blog newsletter. Sounds fairly straightforward, sure. And once you get it up and running, it will pretty much run itself. But the initial design and creation can be fairly tedious and technical, so I thought I’d give my best tips (and a few examples!).
What I’m Wearing:
Sweater: LOFT / Pants: Ann Taylor / Tote: Sole Society / Boots: Aerosoles, c/o
Earrings: Sugarfix by Baublebar, c/o / Rings: similar, BaubleBar / Nail Polish: Essie, c/o
Before we dive in: my sweater above is almost sold out (still available in one color in a XS!). If you love it but not in that color/size, this one is seriously identical. And can go off-the-shoulder, just like my sweater can! It’s $5 more, but it’s available in every color and size.
Also y’all might recognize these pants from Monday. Told y’all I’m obsessed. I wore this look to play around in Covent Garden with my photographer from Dallas, Vanessa, when I was in London last month.
But let’s not linger too long on the outfit. Y’all are here to learn how to create a blog newsletter (and this post is long enough as it is!). Below, I’ve included all of my tips… as well as a few newsletter examples to help get those creative juices flowing!
How to Create a Blog Newsletter
Figuring out how to create a blog newsletter can be a bit tricky… especially when you don’t have a technical background. There are tons of sites you can use to generate your newsletter. Since I use MailChimp and honestly don’t know really anything about the other options, the majority of this post will be specific to my experiences with MailChimp.
However, I can’t imagine that experiences across different platforms would differ too wildly. They all kinda do the same thing, ya know?
First off, keep in mind that a newsletter is different from a RSS feed mailer. The newsletter is a regular(ish) email you send out, which could feature topics from your blog (or not). If you subscribe to my emails, I’m talking about my “weekly roundup” email. An RSS feed mailer basically delivers your new blog posts to your followers via email. RSS mailers will auto-pull a photo, the title, an excerpt, and links from your post to send out. For my subscribers, this is my “new post update” emails.
When starting out, I recommend taking a look at various bloggers’ newsletters to get inspiration. I drew a lot of inspiration from Gal Meets Glam‘s newsletters and Margo & Me‘s onboarding process for new subscribers. That being said, nobody likes a copycat. The trick is to look to others to gain inspiration and pull ideas from several sources… and then customize everything till its unrecognizable.
Kinda like when I order a wedge salad. And ask the waiter for “no bacon, substitute balsamic vinegar for the bleu cheese dressing, and dressing and bleu cheese crumbles on the side.” It’s still technically a wedge salad. But it’s so different that it’s become almost a garden salad in wedge form. Does that make any sense?
BTW Olivia also has a gorgeous newsletter – I would definitely recommend checking it out!
Designing the Layout
MailChimp has template options so you can customize the look and layout of your newsletter (I’m sure its competitors do as well). Through the template options, you can choose from a bunch of layouts and dozens of themes. I use the 1 column full-width layout and I opted to design my own theme. Even if you don’t have a lot of coding/design experience, I would recommend you do the same as the built-in themes are a bit clunky-looking.
If you have limited/no coding experience, seriously don’t worry. You can create a gorgeous newsletter and never (or hardly ever) go into the HTML or CSS side of things. If this sounds like you, take a look at Olivia’s recent newsletter (you don’t need to subscribe to view it!). With few exceptions, everything is images – made easily by using Canva or Photoshop. She’s done very little (if not zero) font customization and the layout is extremely straightforward and user-friendly. All she had to do was decide what goes where and upload the images in the right spots.
Now check out my newsletter (you don’t need to subscribe to view it). With the exception of the font customization and the widget down at the bottom which showcases my latest faves (which was made using a rewardStyle widget), there’s still nothing really fancy goin on here. I only customized my fonts so they’d be identical to those used on the blog… and that widget is just a copy-paste from rewardStyle. Still really easy to duplicate.
And now for the content
I bet y’all thought the design was going to be the tricky bit. HAH no. Content, y’all. You only have to design your newsletter once. But the content has to change every time you send it out.
And it’s your best chance to differentiate yourself.
When deciding on your content for your newsletter, think about what you want the purpose of your newsletter to be. Should it educate your readers on a new topic each week like Olivia’s? Do you want to use it to share your latest finds like Jenny’s? Or, do you want it to broadcast what’s going on on your blog / in your life, like mine? All that matters is that you’re consistent from week to week, so your followers know what to expect (and hopefully find it useful and engage with you more!).
This week’s giveaway…
In case you missed it on Instagram Stories, I received a lil surprise package from Stowaway Cosmetics today… and [because I love y’all] I’ve decided to make it this week’s giveaway! This kit is worth over $80 in value… but it can be yours FO FREE if you enter via the giveaway widget below!
PS as an extra entry, leave a comment at the bottom of this post with where you wish to travel next or your top travel destination (within the continental US). I have a weekend with my girlfriends on the calendar for mid-March and we’re trying to figure out where to go!