My new website – coming soon – will include a free e-book for new subscribers (and all you devoted existing subscribers will receive one, too, of course).

But why?

Forgive me for mentioning it, but I am already giving you, my dear subscribers, a free e-newsletter every week into which I pour all the knowledge, skills and expertise I have gained over the past 16 years in journalism!

So why must I – and you – lure new subscribers to sign up for our e-newsletters with another piece of free content that is reserved just for them; a piece of “premium free” content, if you like?

An email address is valuable currency

We all know our email address is valuable. And I am not talking about selling it. Of course not. Never. Ever. That is the fast route to brand destruction.

No, as content marketers, a subscriber’s email is valuable because how our subscribers respond to our emails gives us vital information about whether we are on track with our stories and other content.

What your subscribers tell you

As soon as you win a subscriber, you learn one thing about them: they trust you. And trust is the basis of all the best kinds of business relationships.

It also tells you that they are hopeful you will provide valuable content to them.

It’s a great start. All you have to do is keep up a regular flow of trusted, relevant and timely (magnetic) content.

But there’s more. The various analytics technologies show you aggregate information about how many subscribers open your emails, how many click on your stories, and the average time spent on your website reading them.

I really don’t want to bore you

In the days of print, we journalists really had no idea what you thought of us, and our stories. We just knew if you liked our “masthead”.

As a content marketer, I treasure the opportunity to improve my understanding of my subscribers. Here’s what else your subscribers will tell you:

  • whether you are publishing the kind of content they need to read
  • what issues matter most to them
  • the headlines that grab them
  • the ideas that intrigue them
  • the stories that bore them
  • if your stories are relevant


Our inboxes are overflowing, of course, which is why I keep a tight focus on blogging tips and content marketing.

I know my subscribers are interested in an independent commentary on who is who in content marketing, how to improve writing skills, and how to turn content into customers, have more fun writing and spend less time agonising over it.

But even within this tight focus, there is no limit to how much more I need to know about my subscribers and their interests.


That brings me back to premium free.

Sending out your regular free e-newsletter is content marketing 101. To build your subscriber base, offer more.

I’ll be offering a free e-book that current and prospective subscribers are going to love and find instantly helpful. But you can also offer webinars, or infographics, podcasts, tutorials or slideshows – as long as they are magnetic.