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ConvertKit Just Became the YouTube of Newsletters

Write a newsletter, get paid through ads


ConvertKit Just Became the YouTube of Newsletters

Write a newsletter, get paid through ads

Phone message vector created by pch.vector — www.freepik.com

Huge news in the world of online writing.

Newsletter and email marketing pros should be jumping up and down right now. Substack is already going back to the drawing board.

What has happened?


ConvertKit introduced a game-changing new feature

Silently, ConvertKit has been running a pilot project with multiple big-name newsletter creators for a few months now.

Screenshot from https://convertkit.com/sponsor

This program is essentially the YouTube for newsletters.


What’s it about?

Here’s the gist of it: You get paid for writing a newsletter, but not through subscriptions you have to build over time, no rather through ads from a large and growing pool of brand partnerships with ConvertKit.

It’s called the Sponsor Network.

Screenshot from https://convertkit.com/sponsor

How it works

  1. Newsletter writers sign up for the Sponsor Network
  2. ConvertKit helps with finding suitable advertisement partners for their newsletter issues
  3. Creators create as they did before
  4. ConvertKit pays a cut from the ad revenue to the newsletter creator

Sounds familiar?

It does.

It’s basically YouTube’s AdSense model. You create a video, Google runs ads on it, and you get half of the revenue.

Here’s the difference: Instead of getting half of the revenue, ConvertKit pays more. They do take a decent cut, though. 20% plus payment fees of around 3.5%. You get the remaining 76.5% of revenue.

Good deal? Keep reading!


What’s the downside?

Before you break up with any other newsletter or email marketing provider you’re currently using and sign up for ConvertKit instead, let’s talk about the major downside of this program. Or let’s call it a temporary limitation (because I sure hope it’s temporary).

ConvertKit’s Sponsor Network is only available for newsletters with a minimum of 10,000 subscribers.

That’s a hefty number.

One that most people I know don’t come close to, unfortunately.

You also have to be actively pushing out newsletters on a weekly basis. No automated setups once a month or every time that automation triggers, as far as I understand.

YouTube does something similar. You need 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours within 12 months to be eligible for the partner program.

The second downside

There’s another enormous difference to YouTube in this case:

For a minimum of 10,000 subscribers, you’ll be paying ConvertKit at least $100 a month already.

This is for the creator plan if you pay annually. On the creator pro plan it starts at $140 per month. And this will only go up.

ConvertKit ain’t cheap.


Why 10,000 subscribers?

About the elephant in the room…

Why does ConvertKit restrict the program to large newsletters like this? 10,000 subscribers minimum.

  1. Well, firstly I’d imagine, it’s still in testing. For advertisers, for writers, and for ConvertKit.
  2. Secondly, I’d say advertisement partners demand a certain subscriber base to get their money’s worth. It’s not like YouTube videos with a gazillion views.
  3. Thirdly, it attracts big names in the beginning. Names like James Clear (seen in the picture above). They will certainly profit from this deal and, in turn, drive some marketing and buzz around it. 
    That will hopefully lead to ConvertKit opening up the program for smaller creators as well.

Future implications

If ConvertKit does indeed lower the entry requirement for this program in the future, the company will instantly become the most promising and rewarding newsletter destination on this planet. More so than they already are.

Buckle up, Substack!


The bottom line

Email is booming like never before. You’ve got a newsletter, I’ve got a newsletter. Actually, I have 5.

It’s a crazy business.

Advertisers know this. Email presents a huge chance to get involved. After all, ad-based newsletters are nothing new. Countless companies solely focus on getting advertisers together with newsletter creators.

The difference here is that a large and popular service like ConvertKit takes much of the friction away in this process. You write, they do the rest.

Sounds brilliant. Let’s see how it turns out!

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