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Why Readers Share, and How to Encourage Readers to Share Your Newsletter Even More

By Jessica Albon

If you don’t have kids, you probably haven’t given this much thought, but most parents have to teach their kids to share. It’s not something they just naturally do. So, at some point in your life, you were taught to share.

Sharing comes more easily when there’s more than enough of something. It’s hard to share when something’s limited or you’re worried you’ll run out. It’s easy to share when you know you’ll always have more than enough.

That’s what makes email newsletters naturally so easy to share. If I share my copy with you, I don’t lose out, and you get to read something you might enjoy too. It’s not like giving away a million dollars, where you’d want to really think about who deserved it and whether or not you wanted to give it up.

The good news is this means your readers won’t require too much encouragement to start sharing your newsletter. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need any! Why don’t readers share your newsletter more naturally? Lots of reasons!

  • Some readers think you wouldn’t want your newsletter shared. They may think you want to control who has a copy, and that you only want people on your list to receive it.
  • Other readers just don’t think about sharing the newsletter. They’re busy and it would never enter their minds.
  • Some readers don’t get enough value from your newsletter to consider it worth sharing. They may enjoy reading it, but if they don’t think it has immediate usefulness, they won’t share it.
  • Another reason readers may not share is that they don’t know anyone else who’d be interested. If your readers tend to be “lone wolf” types or if they might be self-conscious about reading your newsletter, they’ll be reluctant to share.
  • And finally, if you’re the kind of reader who never shares a newsletter, it’s time to change that. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Encouraging your readers to share requires addressing all of these challenges. So, here’s how you can start to encourage more readers to share your newsletter:

  1. Start asking readers to share! You can add “Pls Share” in the subject line or include a note in the newsletter itself. There are other ways to ask, too, but start with just one of these options.
  2. Get your readers used to thinking of sharing the newsletter. One great way to do this is in your welcome message–make it clear what’s in it for *them* when they share.
  3. It’s not enough to write an entertaining newsletter! Start making your newsletter actionable, too. Break down your feature article into a step or two the reader can take right then and there. When you get them taking action, they’ll understand the immediate relevance your newsletter has to them and they’ll want to share that with their friends.
  4. If your audience is made up of lone wolf types, or if your readers might be self-conscious about being readers, offer “sharable” issues from time to time. Write about a topic that they will be comfortable talking about (that’s still within your niche), or encourage them to share it so that they’ll have accountability. Both have value for the reader and make it more likely they’ll be willing to share once in awhile.
  5. Don’t ever share newsletters yourself? Get in the habit of sharing. Lots. But while you do, watch which newsletters you naturally want to share, and which you have to force yourself. Start getting in the habit of thinking about at least one person to forward *every* newsletter you receive to and follow through at least half the time. Once you’re in the sharing habit, pay attention to what inspires you to share and what makes you more reluctant. That’ll give you new ideas you can implement in your newsletter.

Some of your readers will share the newsletter whether or not you invite them to. But most of your readers need a nudge. They need to know that it’s okay to share, and they need to have the motivation to do so. Start taking these actions and watch your readers become much more likely to share.

Which action will you take first to encourage your readers to share your newsletter? Add it to your to-do list and take action on it today!

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