5 Sponsor Strategies for a Million Dollar Newsletter

I had a plan to write a short case study about the client who found $20,000 in his digital couch cushions (metaphorically speaking) - but I want to spend more time making it really great for you. In the meantime, read the thread as starter material.

Next, a shout-out to ConvertKit for sponsoring the newsletter this month (again!). Their creator network is an absolute game-changer for bringing new subscribers to the Million Dollar Newsletter — referred by 32 other creators! There are hundreds, soon to be thousands, of newsletters on the network.

To make it easier, try ConvertKit’s new match tool and discover and share other creators to connect with and recommend. Don’t go it alone, grow your list with ConvertKit’s creator network.

The reason for my pivot isn't perfectionism masquerading as procrastination — it's because I wanted to take a step back and discuss how to book a sponsorship to begin with.

If you have any kind of public profile and follower numbers, you've probably received cold emails like this...

There are others like it, including those wonderful words "I wanted to reach out about a paid sponsorship on your newsletter."

You can also reach out to good fit brands directly, using some version of this copy to demonstrate the benefits of advertising with you...

"I have a [newsletter name] with [subscriber metrics] and I believe [your brand] would do well. [Past sponsor] had [specific results]. Can we have a quick chat about working together? [Brand kit] for more info about me." — [Your Name]

I highly recommend sharing your sponsorship wins, case studies, & rates on a regular basis. At least 2-3x/month, if not weekly. There are people ON TWITTER who are a good fit & will be compelled by you sharing positive results.

But to take advantage of these emails, and the leads that you generate through personal outreach, you need these five elements in place...

  1. Cadence
  2. Statistics
  3. CPM Rates
  4. Sponsor Success
  5. Automatic Intake

1. Cadence

You must have an established cadence of weekly sends. Sponsors are not going to take the offer seriously if you're not serious about publishing consistently. Start with a theme-based approach to outline your schedule and stick to it. Read more in this thread.

2. Statistics

You need a simple page to share your audience numbers and rates. Here are the core stats for email...

  • Total subscribers
  • Open rate
  • Click rate

Most brands will base their price estimates on these three numbers and assign a CPM cost to your sponsorship. CPM varies based on list size, topic, and audience type, but most of the time I set the floor at $40.

3. CPM Rates

Use this formula to estimate rates:
((Total Subs × Open Rate) ÷ 1,000) × CPM

Or use my handy rate calculator to figure out yours.

A note on rates: even if the formula rate was < $100, I would set $100 as my floor. You get to decide what it's worth to you to promote a brand or person.

I've set my price ($500) and stood by it.

4. Sponsor Success

If I come to an agreement with a sponsor, I WANT THEM TO SUCCEED. So I give more than a sentence or two + a link. I give a paragraph (or two). I share my experience. I give them an image or even use one of mine.

Do more than is expected and you will be able to charge more and have repeat customers.

5. Automation

I've automated the sponsorship process from ConvertKit Commerce (payment) to Tally Forms (information) to Notion (database). This means all I have to do is send or post the link to purchase, then check Notion for the content. Automate your process and (most) people will follow the rules.

I hope this helps you get started on booking your first newsletter sponsorship. I found my first ones through Twitter posts and direct outreach to brands I thought would be a good fit. You don't even need any followers!

As a final send-off, I highly recommend this video from my friends Jay and Justin. Justin is a sponsorship coach, The Creator Wizard, and he has an ingenious idea for pitching brands even if you have zero followers.