Welcome! I'm following up on last week’s post, which touched on Substack, Mailchimp, Revue and Letterdrop. This week I’m sharing some pros and cons of Convertkit, Buttondown, Medium, Letterloop, Tinyletter, Mailerlite and Ghost.
Note: If you have a newsletter, reply to share the link — I’m always curious to discover new newsletters. and to spread the word when I can.
Ideal for creators and advanced email campaigns
As I wrote last week, Substack is popular among writers for its ease of use. But ConvertKit is favored by many creators aiming to create sustainable businesses online. It’s particularly popular among those running online communities, selling online courses and providing subscription services. It has a more advanced feature set than services like Substack and Revue, and unlike Mailchimp, it’s built to be useful for individual creators rather than professional marketing teams.
I asked Hanna Lisa Haferkamp, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Making Stories what she likes most about ConvertKit.
"The ability to generate and re-use automated email sequences for things like onboarding, promoting a new product, or sharing promotional materials has been a game changer,” she wrote. “We've saved countless hours of manual work by using them."
Notable newsletter writers who use ConvertKit
Tiago Forte The productivity guru behind the “Building a Second Brain” system. If you haven’t come across Tiago’s work, I recommend starting with his posts on taking notes, organizing ideas, & summarizing books.
James Clear is author of Atomic Habits, one of the most useful books I’ve read on developing positive personal habits. His 3-2-1 newsletter reaches a million people weekly. He includes 3 short ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to ponder.
Limitations and considerations: Its free for up to 1,000 subscribers, but costs $79 or $111 for 5,000 subscribers depending on the feature set you need. The advanced functions may feel unnecessary or overwhelming for those who just want to write. To its credit, Convertkit has lots of useful blog posts, creator case studies, video trainings, and help resources if you’re aiming to learn more about developing a sustainable newsletter.
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Ideal if you like supporting indy developers
Buttondown is simple, independent newsletter software run by Justin, a guy without a customer success team or a board of directors. Its minimalist interface is easy to use. You can email him for more info → firstname.lastname@example.org He publicly shares his monthly costs💸. also runs Spoonbill, a service that updates you when someone you follow on Twitter updates their profile.
Notable newsletters on Buttondown
Priam is a newsletter about the ancient world by historian Eugenia Russell. “Buttondown is great,” Russell wrote in reply to my email query. “The Markdown works perfectly and customer service is brilliant. I also like the fact that it is one person's vision and passion project.”
Pricing: Free for first 1,000 readers, then $5/month for each additional thousand readers. Or pay $29/month for the pro version with advanced features.
Other Creative Services for Sending a Newsletter
Medium has a newsletter service to accompany its popular publishing platform. I love using Medium for my independent writing, but I’ve found its newsletter service confusing. Even so, Medium has a wonderful writing interface and a huge audience of readers scrolling around the platform.
MailerLite has a strong feature set, including integrations with lots of other useful services, like Wordpress and Slack. A newsletter I love, Brainpint, is sent by Janel with Mailerlite. She’s the author of Newsletter OS, a helpful resource guide for anyone eager to learn more about newsletter writing.
Ghost is a fast-growing service focused on giving newsletter writers more flexibility and freedom to create a distinct look and feel for your newsletter and landing page.
Wordpress is the dominant publishing platform online. Plug-ins allow you to publish articles to your site that then get distributed to readers as a newsletter. This allows you to get the best of both worlds — having a flexible, professional-looking site that showcases your work while also staying in touch with readers by email.
Simple Services for Friends and Family
Tinyletter is a super-simple free option made by Mailchimp. Once you reach 5,000 readers, you have to switch to a paid Mailchimp plan. No advanced features.
Letterloop lets you create a group newsletter with friends or family. The service emails whomever you invite with a couple of questions that you choose. Their replies are compiled into a group email that goes out to everyone in the group. Here’s an example of what one of the emails looks like. One group member pays a $5/month fee. I like that it’s low-tech. No apps to install — everything works by email.
More help with building your email newsletter
Questions to consider when selecting a platform for sending your newsletter. These were shared with me by reader Katherine Lawrence.
Hal Koss’s overview of 9 newsletter services for journalistic newsletters
How many subscribers you can reach for free on top newsletter services
Thanks for reading! - Jeremy
p.s. In a Creatorspaces podcast episode👇 I summed up the apps I use most, talked about why I write this newsletter, what my goals are, and what I would tell my younger self.