When I was starting this, I really had never experimented with email publishing before. I didn’t know what to expect and honestly still feel like I don’t have a huge understanding of how it works or what makes a newsletter good or bad. That said, I have learned a few things along the way, so I figured I’d share them with you in case you’re thinking about dipping your toe in.
I also want to give a shout-out to a few newsletters that inspired me to start this whole thing. Casey Newton’s The Interface, Delia Cai’s Deez Links, Dan Oshinsky’s Not A Newsletter, the legendary UK media gossip newsletter Popbitch, and the now sadly defunct Broadsheet Daily were all big sources of inspiration for this crazy thing.
I figured I’d take this opportunity to celebrate a little bit. Garbage Day has a new logo, which was originally meant to be a huge mural full of memes, but I got depressed while making it and gave up about 1/5 of the way in. Oh well, maybe next year. I also pulled some numbers from the last year which I thought were kind of interesting.
Who’s Reading Garbage Day:
2,564 total free subscribers
~65% average open rate
Biggest issue for subscriptions:
August 1, 2019
Gained 134 subscribers
A little confused about this one. As you can tell from the title, I was a little hungover and it was a short one. I’m thinking someone must have promoted the newsletter that day. Either way, welcome all 134 of you. I hope you liked the non-hungover newsletters that came after.
Biggest issue for un-subscriptions:
March 13, 2020
Lost 4 subscribers
Look, I had a feeling when I sent this subject line out that it may have been Too Much and you know what, I was right. Would I do it again? You bet. Good riddance. Sorry being a slutty social media marketer scared you all off!
The 3 most-read issues according to open rate:
SonicFox5000 Vs UK Parliament [PvP] - 80% open rate
sexyfurby69 - 75% open rate
A three-way tie between:
Is Furby Meat Kosher? - 74% open rate
No Hentai On The Chuck E. Cheese WIFI Please - 74% open rate
So I think the big takeaway here is that you freaks love furbies. Number 1 makes a lot of sense, it was the first issue, there was a lot of curiosity. But the fact you all clicked on emails about crabs boiled in Pepsi and hentai at Chuck E Cheese with equal intensity is something you all need to talk to god about.
The 3 least-read issues according to open rate:
The true global pandemic is men deciding to start podcasts - 55% open rate
I’ll be honest, I was surprised that so few of you opened up the E-Girl bath water one. In my mind that was when this newsletter really came into its own. It may have been that the subject line was just too long, not sure. Number 2 on here makes sense because it’s essentially just gibberish. And I think we can all agree Number 3 is right because who in their right mind would ever open an email subject line with the words “pandemic,” “men,” and “podcasts” in it.
“Trailblazers: The First Two Men Ever To Do A Podcast”
One of the most exciting things about the last year of Garbage Day has been using it to launch a podcast. I’ve really tried to keep this whole thing fun and not overstay its welcome, but once quarantine started, it seemed like there might be a little more appetite for other Garbage Day-related stuff. It’s been a lot of fun and I want to thank my ever-unflappable co-host Luke Bailey for holding this whole thing down with me.
Tracking podcast growth is tricky and there’s only been a few episodes so far. I also changed hosts this week from Podbean — which was good, but expensive — to Anchor — which is equally great, but free, so I lost some data there. As far as I can tell, it seems like the show is averaging about 1000 downloads a week across all platforms, which is cool! Substack’s podcast integration is great, the only downside is if you want to send out an episode embedded in your newsletter email you have to upload it individually, which throws off the global stats. That said, the rest of it is pretty painless and the metrics Substack offers are easy enough to integrate into the audience tracking tools Anchor provides. I recommend giving it a try!
Seriously, thank you all for reading. And an even bigger thanks to those of you who have emailed me stuff. It’s been great meeting you all. In the first Garbage Day issue, I wrote:
Everyone has a newsletter now just like everyone has a podcast now. Which makes sense, both of those things are fun to do and can sometimes make a bit of money. I feel like most of them are about how everything is awful. Which is also fair, everything is awful. The modern world is a nightmare from which we cannot wake. KFC’s new Mother’s Day campaign is about how much the Colonel wants to fuck our moms.
But also there’s lots of good stuff, particularly on the internet. Obviously, there’s lots of bad stuff on the internet too, but memes are actually really good now.
I’d like to think, a year later, I’ve played a small part in reminding people that this bizarre digital fever dream we plug into every day is actually a worthwhile endeavor.
As always, any typos in this email were totally on purpose actually.
P.S. here’s a truly confounding TikTok.