Run Your Newsletter Like a Restaurant - Deepstash

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Why write a newsletter?

  • Improve information diet. You can add intentionality to your information consumption by asking yourself, "Can this be included in my newsletter?"
  • Build a habit of creating. Committing to a regular publishing schedule forces you to create on a consistent basis.
  • Collect your ideas in one place. Your newsletter becomes home to your ideas.
  • Repurpose content for social media. E.g. You can turn the main points in your newsletter into Twitter threads.
  • Find like-minded people. Sharing your thoughts online generates conversation and connections with people who resonate with your ideas.


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How to overcome limiting beliefs

  • Lower the stakes. If an email newsletter is scary, write a thread on Twitter every week. Prove to yourself that you can produce a collection of ideas and notes in under an hour.
  • Start writing to become more creative. Our best ideas come to us when writing. 
  • Realize that playing small doesn't benefit anyone. Your readers benefit the most if they can learn from your ideas.
  • Connect with your "why". Why did you start writing in the first place?


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Why you need a content creation system

  • Increase consistency. Life circumstances and motivation vary every week. A system helps you be consistent despite these variations.
  • Increase efficiency. With practice, your system will help you create your newsletter in less than a few hours.
  • Avoid creator panic. You'll always know where your next idea is coming from.


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John Nicholas' Content Creation System

Like a restaurant, the system has 4 components:

  • Menus (topics)
  • Ingredients (ideas)
  • Staff (distribution system)
  • Reviews (audience feedback)


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1. What do you want to write about?

This is where you set up your menu:

  • What topics resonate with you?
  • What do you want to serve your readers?

You can pick several topics and organize them into "modules" or sections of your newsletter. With modules, you:

  • Create awareness for capturing information. If you don’t know what meal you are cooking, you won't know which ingredients to collect.
  • Create consistency. Your readers know what to expect from you each week. There is room for experimentation, but stick to your broad niche. Nobody likes a mixed kitchen (burgers, pasta, fish).


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Ideas & Tips for Deciding on Newsletter Modules

For example, James Clear's 3-2-1 Thursdays has 3 modules:

  • 3 ideas from him
  • 2 thoughts from others
  • 1 question for the reader

Tip: Limit yourself to 3 - 5 modules.

  • Save yourself time each week
  • Prevents audience overwhelm


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2. Find ideas for your newsletter

As you consume information, look out for ideas that

  1. resonate with you, or
  2. can go into your newsletter

When capturing ideas, write a brief description of:

  • why this idea resonated with you, or
  • why it could help someone

This helps you pull yourself back into the frame of mind you had during the idea capture. The note can also slot straight into your newsletter when you share the idea.


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3. Write the newsletter

Set constraints to make your newsletter enjoyable for your readers and yourself. For example:

  • Length: Your readers are busy, so keep your newsletter under a certain word count. This also means you don't have to write too much.
  • Cadence: Stick to a publishing schedule that's sustainable and non-spammy. From this schedule, backsolve when you want a first draft done.
  • "Table of Contents" section: Allows readers to choose which modules they want to engage with each week. Also acts as an outline that you can easily fill in.


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4. Distribute the newsletter

  • Email your subscribers. They've already opted into receiving your content.
  • Post on social media. Repurpose your newsletter content for easy consumption on other platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)


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5. Get and act on feedback

  • Always encourage your subscribers to reply to you
  • Your subscribers and followers will point out what resonated with them and what didn’t (silence is also a form of feedback)
  • Use replies and comments to generate new ideas

For example, when people ask you questions about your process e.g. how you script a YouTube video, the answer you give them can become another newsletter issue.


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Developer of solutions, people, and self / Living in 7 countries in 4 years of CS undergrad at Minerva University


A nice analogy for creating your content flywheel.


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