I’ve never been particularly gifted at writing, but it is something that I enjoy. In recent years my writing has mostly been technical and thought leadership articles, which I have generally received positive feedback about from the people whose opinions I value most. Thankfully the audience for such things tends to be more focused on the value of the content over the writing style, which works in my favour. That type of writing has real value to me. Not just as a marketing tool (which admittedly has been the motivation behind most of what I have ever written), but for self-improvement too. 

Writing helps clarify thoughts. Putting ideas down in written form forces you to think about them differently, to structure those thoughts and to re-evaluate them. It also forces you to learn. I’ve often chosen topics to write about that I’ve known I needed to know better, knowing that writing about them will force me to either learn more or be buried under internet criticism. Sometimes both. 

It’s in that spirit of learning that I have decided to launch a regular newsletter aimed at web publishers. I’ve so far published three issues of Powered by Ads, my regular roundup of essential news for web publishers. The original plan of writing this monthly didn’t even last the first month and I am now committed to sending this out to a slowly growing audience every other week. My main motivation for this is to stay informed. Stepping back from the company I founded means being less involved with publishers and ad monetisation day-to-day than I have been. It also means no longer having access to the hallowed inner sanctum of the Google Certified Publishing Partner program. I am a committed advocate of ad-supported publishing. Stepping back from the business doesn’t mean I want to step back from a part of the industry I know and love. This newsletter gives me the accountability to stay informed and keep learning.

There’s another aim too. Email newsletters are enjoying a renaissance, and subscription newsletter platform Substack recently announced that it now has 1million paying subscribers. Email subscriptions have become a key revenue stream for many publishers and are an area I am keen to learn more about. Most of my newsletter experience has been through platforms like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, so I am interested to find out what this new generation of platforms has to offer. I’ve chosen to write Powered by Ads on Ghost rather than Substack. I’ll write soon about why I made that choice and what my experiences are of the platform. 

In the meantime, if you are interested in web publishing, or are involved in a website that runs adverts, please check out what I am doing over at poweredbyads.com