The Career Author Podcast: Episode 90 – The Art of the Email Broadcast

Email broadcast

What should I put in my email broadcast? This question is one we all face on a regular basis. You have an email list, but what do you do with it? This week, J. breaks down a recent email broadcast and explains why it was one of the most effective he’s ever sent.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • Options available for sending an email broadcast to your list.
  • How to connect with your specific audience.
  • Why “being yourself” means more than “looking professional.”
  • Examples of authors doing email broadcasts extremely well.

Types of email broadcasts:

  • Sales
  • Recommendations
  • Requests (like surveys)
  • Announcements (like cover reveals)
  • Personal stories
  • Free swag (like sample chapters)
  • Reminders or follow-up emails (sending via re: or fwd:)
  • Contests and giveaways

J.’s actual email

Subject: That’s what she said.

Did you immediately hear Michael Scott’s voice from The Office? That stupid gag always made me chuckle.

In all seriousness, I’ve worked with hundreds of authors, and I tend to hear the same thing again and again. There’s no shortage of writing advice available on the internet. Good advice. Great advice. But filtering it and then executing on those ideas is insurmountable for many of us.

When I hear a client tell me, “I don’t know where to begin,” I immediately want to say, “That’s what she said.” I’ve heard it so many times.

In the next few months, I want to create and build things that will help you become a career author, to live the author life. But I need your help. I need to know what you need.

No catch, nothing for sale. Just hoping you’ll take 5 minutes and fill out this anonymous survey.

[link removed]

Thanks for the help. I can’t do this alone.

And…that’s what she said.



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What was the subject of your best-performing email broadcast and why do you think it resonated with your audience? Comment at thecareerauthor.com.

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19 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 90 – The Art of the Email Broadcast

  • Morning guys.Great way today J. There are podcasters who talk so slow that you can speed them up and barely notice until it gets to around 2.0.
    Great advice today. I like the way you listed each type of email.
    To answer your question. I don’t have a list so my best performing email will be the first one I send next year.
    I am not comfortable giving away personal information to strangers. Is it OK to create a persona for emails? I’m not talking about making out one is someone one is not, but doctoring personal stories to retain some privacy.
    A book worthy of note that complements this podcast is “Newsletter Ninja” by Tammy Labrecque. It’s more geared to creating an email list than the title suggests. On you theme of recommends I believe she’s writing a book 2 about Email automation. At least “that’s what she said…”
    Great show. One to file.

    • I think it’s totally fine to create a persona not only for email broadcasts but for your entire author business. You don’t have to give it all away. That’s what she…

  • I felt like I was rocking it at 1.3x and now i realize that I can crank it up even more and still be good to go.

    I am going to have to watch again so I can write down each of the different email types. Thought they would be in notes but I figure you don’t want to give out the TLDL (too long didn’t listen) on the post here.

    my wife and I use the “thats what he/she said” all the time. Nice call back.

    My issue with my newsletter is that there is no one on it. Should I be writing on my blog/newsletter before anyone is actually listenting?

    • Good call. I just added those to the show notes.

      I think its good practice to start before you think you should. Don’t assume people aren’t listening. They might be 😉

  • This episode is timely. I’ve been thinking about changing up my email someway this month. I was reading about using rich text format as opposed to the templates and most of those that I know that do that have success with it. So that’s what I’m going to try.

    I actually do a lot of these things already, so I was glad to hear that I was on the right track as far as content is concerned!

    Great show as always guys!

  • I made a big push to grow my mailing list a few months ago and developed an automated onboarding sequence that includes 7 emails spread out over 2 months. It’s worked great so far, but I’ve been struggling to up with new emails to send to people once they’ve finished the sequence, so this episode was incredibly helpful.

    The most effective email in my automated sequence talks about what the inspirations were for one of my books. It was mainly inspired by a video game I like and old westerns that I used to watch with my dad when I was a kid. I think talking about my dad and making it personal is why it works so well.

    • I’m a firm believer in the autoresponder sequence. And it doesn’t have to be all ninja. Some scribers know it’s automated. It just has to logically onboard the person while showing them a bit about who you are and what you’re doing. Picturing a relative or friend is is a GREAT idea.

  • Loved this podcast! So funny, because I just recently started listening to audiobooks and podcasts on 1.5x. The reminder about including callbacks to jokes or lines your audience already knows is so smart. I’m still scared to remove images though…I hate ugly emails.

  • I have been struggling with email ideas. So this week’s show fueled some ideas. For the next few months.

    Interestingly due to being clueless about what email last month I sent my list a personal story. We just broke ground on building a new home and why my family decided it was time to move. The subject line was simply “A new house” but it has a 54% open rate.

  • Great episode guys. It has inspired me to write better newsletters. J, I’m jealous. How did you get Dean’s newsletter mailed to you? I went to his website, but can only find how to sign up for his email newsletter. BTW, like Suzie, I also look forward to and read all of your emails.

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