Ann Handley is a writer, digital marketing pioneer, and WSJ best-selling author of “Everybody Writes” and “Content Rules.” She has published her newsletter “Total Annarchy” every other Sunday for over three years, never missing a single issue, always “with a focus on writing, content, marketing, life.” Your friends at Verb recommend it.
Handley wrote a recap of her experience publishing Total Annarchy when crossing the three-year mark. She started with 2,000 readers and has now more than 45,000. Her list of the seven things she learned in three years starts with the frequency of publishing. “How often should you publish? I get this question a lot,” she says.
“If you can manage it, publish it every week. Monthly is too infrequent. It’s too much time; subscribers will forget you. It’ll be too hard to build momentum.”Ann Handley
We liked this answer so much that we decided to introduce a weekly subscription offering so we can help you follow the tip.
There are several reasons to heed Handley’s advice on writing frequency. For one, she uses “fortnightly” instead of the ambiguous “biweekly” to describe her newsletter, so you are clear about when you will get it.
Why does Handley send her newsletter every two weeks? She points out that it takes a lot of work for her to write it, so she can only afford to do it every two weeks. This rings true. In our experience, you need to be ready to meet your deadlines in the long run if you are going to stick to your frequency. Otherwise, you just won’t make it.
Is that so bad? Handley’s second tip is to avoid writing only when you have something to say. She says this is the perfect excuse to put off writing indefinitely. You will not develop the discipline to gather your ideas, sources, and content. Worst of all, your readers will not learn to wait for your content.
“Set a schedule. Stick to it. Don’t break the chain.”Ann Handley
Verb’s team of professional writers has worked on deadline as part of a newsroom, publishing daily or even multiple times per day their entire careers. We can vouch that there can be no excuses for your publication to be late.
Handley’s other tips are about finding inspiration, using technology, connecting with your audience, prompting responses, and growing your list. Excellent advice from a true pro with the generosity to share her tips with us. Total Anarchy is free. Now that many writers are starting newsletters, on our own or as a side gig, we do well to sign up and learn more from Handley.
Another way to learn from Handley is to read her books. “Everybody Writes” lays out a process to organize yourself around starting and finishing what you want to write. One step we have taken up for this blog is “The Ugly First Draft.” The idea is to put down your text’s first version in one sitting instead of editing as you go. Even if the result is ugly, the next time you sit down you’ll have something to edit instead of a blank page.
If you don’t agree that everybody writes, we have you covered: you can get a Verb subscription and our team will help you get it done. Now you can also publish at a weekly rhythm.