Instead of Relying on Social Media, Build an Email List Instead
In the on-going censorship of anything sexual on social media, a lot of creators are left wondering what they’re supposed to do once all the social media platforms kick us off. How are we supposed to share our content and grow our audience?
Setting aside the obvious idea that sex and pleasure are natural and legal and that censorship of our content is wrong, it’s hard to know what to do. These platforms are owned by companies who get to make their own rules (no matter how ridiculous or hypocritical they may be). We’re playing in their sandbox and until there’s a societal and cultural shift, this may be our reality.
But I also don’t think everything is entirely hopeless either. As sex writers and creators have always done, we have to be creative and work with the system we’ve got.
One solution (though not a total fix) that I keep thinking about is the advice given to vanilla bloggers and marketers all the time — don’t rely on social media. Build an email list instead.
We’ve talked about email newsletters in the past. But today, let’s discuss replacing (even in a small part) your reliance on social media traffic with email subscribers.
Focus Less on the Numbers
For the vast majority of us, any email subscriber list we have will be much smaller than a social media following. Which is why some bloggers and creators reject the idea of focusing on email at all. Except, there’s one key thing you may not have considered:
Not every follower on social media clicks your links and reads your work.
If your email list is made up of people who want to read your work, the majority of them will click a link. Maybe not right when a notification goes out, but eventually. Some subscribers do a marathon session of once a week or month. Some show up every time there’s a new email in their inbox.
Your most avid fans usually subscribe by email without being prompted. They enjoy your content and want more of it. While some bloggers do really well getting views on social media, they’re still only attracting a fraction of their overall follower count. No one has a 1:1 ratio of Twitter followers and clicked blog links.
Sharing is Still Possible with Email
“But, Kayla, my tweets can be retweeted and my post might get shared to a Facebook group!” Yes, those are things are true. The same is true with your email subscribers, too. If someone enjoys your content enough, they may share your content to their preferred social media platform.
There is one key difference between email and social media.
You’ll have to ask them to do it. Calls to Action (CTA) are vitally important for content. Readers, watchers, and listeners who love you will (often) do what you ask them to do — as long as you make it clear what you want done. Especially if you let them know that they’ll be helping you reach more people.
Loved this blog post? Share it with your kinky friends on Twitter or Facebook!
Find this email newsletter useful? Feel free to forward it to your curious or sex positive friends who want to know more about sex!
(Yes, for anyone who likes these samples, feel free to copy and adapt them for your audience.)
Email Doesn’t Have to Be Time Consuming
If the idea of email subscribers has you imagining hours spent creating newsletters, slow down and take a breath. Yes, that’s what email can mean. But it can also be as simple as people subscribing to receive an email every time you publish a new blog post.
We often overthink this part, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Depending on the website platform you use (WordPress — self-hosted or not, Blogger, Wix, Weebly, etc), there should be a mechanism that allows people to subscribe to your blog. If you’re on WordPress with a self-hosted site, JetPack or Email Subscribers are two plugins that I’ve used — and they’re easy and free.
Once you’ve set up the plugin or tool, then you need to make it easy for people to subscribe. WordPress users can add a widget to your website sidebar or footer, encouraging people to subscribe. As long as the plugin works, all you have to do is create good content and remember to ask people to subscribe to see more.
You can also use a pop-up for email newsletters and opt-ins. Be mindful of the timing of your opt-in and how easy it is to click away from a pop-up. New visitors don’t want to feel like they’re being spammed or that you’re being pushy in demanding an email address. Returning visitors can also be annoyed by them. It doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t use these tools — but always think of the user experience first.
Email Lists Equal Love
A few too many of us have dreams of going viral or really enjoy that dopamine hit when we get 100 likes or a dozen retweets on one of our posts. (*Raises hand and tries not to look guilty.) Of course we want recognition and for a lot of people to see our stuff! Why else are we putting it out there and working so hard to promote our content?
But there’s a big difference between the really passive rando on Twitter who clicks a link because they happened to see it — and the person who subscribes to an email list. That random person on social media might have been bored, clicked the link, and may never come back. You haven’t engaged with someone in your audience. They don’t care about your content.
Your email subscriber is completely different. They’re showing up because they believe you’ve got something to say that they want to read or listen to. You’ve entertained or educated them in the past, and they want more of it. You inspire them, help them, or turn them on. They stay subscribed and click your links because they genuinely like you.
I’ll take 100 people in an email list who genuinely like my content over 10,000 people on Twitter who barely know I’m alive, any day.
Email Requires Less Effort
Like your social media following, growing an email list takes time and effort — everything does. The difference, though, is that growing your email list doesn’t require anything extra.
- Create the content that matters to you;
- Remember to ask people to subscribe at the end of the post (call to action);
- Move onto the next piece of content.
That seems like a much better use of time than spending all day long trying to craft the perfect tweet that may only get two likes, one retweet, and zero clicks to your website. Or letting your mood be determined by how much attention you’re getting on social media.
We can’t control how the social platforms view sexual content. Although the way they treat it is wrong and ridiculous. I don’t have concrete answers, but growing a list of email subscribers who opt in for our content is the best I’ve got.
And no, I’m not saying abandon your social media accounts (unless that’s what YOU want to do). But I wonder what would happen if we focused on building audiences who like us enough to subscribe to our email lists instead of focusing on the likes and retweets we can get.
Over to you…what other alternatives do you see for dealing with the shadow banning, very real banning, and other censorship we face on social media? Comment below or talk to me on Twitter!
And, in keeping with my own advice, if you want the latest posts sent to you each week, subscribe to my newsletter!
Highly reccomend Newsletter Ninja by Tammy Lebraque (I THINK). IT’s really good. Indie publisher expert David Gaughran called it his book of the year last year.
I may have to check that out. Thank you!