6 mins

Friday Feature: Faster Than Normal

How a growth expert has scaled his newsletter to over 70k subscribers in 2 years.

Sameer Ansari

Alex Brogan is a growth expert.

His social media presence alone exceeds 620k+ followers (​LinkedIn​ + ​Twitter/X​ + ​Instagram​).

Alex *gets* online audience growth.

But he also knows better than to place all his online eggs into one big algorithmic basket—which is why he’s been focused on growing Faster Than Normal (FTN), a twice-weekly newsletter that’s now exceeded 70k subscribers.

And why stop there?

In the past 11 months, Alex also…

→ cofounded an AI newsletter→ grew it profitably to 50k+ subscribers→ and then sold it.

Alex’s journey is equal parts fascinating and inspiring. And we’re going to get into it all in this week’s Friday Feature. Read on to learn how Alex….

  1. Optimizes for product-market fit before chasing growth
  2. Monetizes his newsletter to fit readers' needs
  3. Is Building an engaged community to future-proof his business

Let’s dive in!

#1 - Product-market fit first, growth later

Great newsletter growth tactics can only do so much.

Forget budget or time shortages. Without product-market fit, your newsletter's going nowhere fast.

That's why Alex focused on creating the right content for the right audience before obsessing about FTN's growth.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

→ Minimizes risk

→ Value-driven

→ Stronger reader engagement

🙋 How Faster Than Normal does it

Alex relies on the Jobs to Be Done framework— or JTBD, as it’s commonly known.

Per ​Coursera​, “JTBD posits that people don’t buy products; they “hire” them to do jobs, such as solving a problem or fulfilling a desire.”

Here’s how Alex used the framework:

→ He narrowed on the ideal FTN reader profile (founders, investors, creators, and anyone wanting to grow professionally)

→ He researched the job his readers wanted FTN to do for them (It’s to teach readers the best practices of 0.01% of the people and companies—so they implement them and improve their work and businesses).

Alex took feedback from them on how he could improve the content to benefit them.

He applied those suggestions and found the product-market fit 👇

✏️Steal this for your newsletter​

Ramli John has an excellent JTBD formula for content marketing. 

Figure out…

  1. Your reader’s current situation (when
  2. Your reader’s pain point (what)
  3. Your reader’s desired outcome after finding a solution to their pain point (why).

For example, you read this newsletter: 

→ When you’re looking for ways to grow and monetize your newsletter

To find proven tactics to grow and monetize a newsletter in one place (what)

So you can earn a stable income (why)

So, identify the reader's desired job for your newsletter. Then, create content that addresses all three things.

The best part? You can apply the JTBD framework to your newsletter landing page and content. Here’s a free cheat sheet (from Ramli) to get you started. 

#2 - Monetization through serving readers

Traditional newsletter operators follow the traditional media monetization model: sponsorships + affiliate income = 100% revenue.

And fair enough, it’s is a proven model. But the media landscape is changing and newsletters could be leaving money on the table.

Alex understands this.

So he monetized FTN in a way that fit the needs of his readers.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

→ Revenue diversification: If one revenue source dries up (sponsorships), the others can fill that gap (paid products and services). 

→ Win-Win monetization model: Readers pay to have their problem solved.

🙋 How Faster Than Normal does it

Alex has a core audience of founders, investors, and creators. He uncovered their problems and challenges through conversations—and designed three courses to solve them: 

  1. Sovereign Creator: How to grow a 6-figure audience.
  2. Newsletter Mastery: How to start, scale, and monetize a 5-figure subscriber newsletter.
  3. Master Delegator:How to hire, onboard, and ramp a virtual assistant.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Follow Alex’s approach. 

Figure out a common problem your subscribers have and what solution you can provide them. 

You can also (similar to Alex) start a waitlist to gauge initial interest.

Or build something live on social media—and then launch a course teaching people to do it. 

That's what Dan Shipper, founder of Every, did. 

That post got 1.2M views, validating interest. So, he launched the course. 

Or follow similar approaches to discover readers’ needs and launch something that will help them.


​Justin Moore​ whose readers were always asking him the same questions, so he created ​Brand Deal Wizard​.

Or ​Amanda Goetz​ who co-launched ​Break An Egg​ to help her audience improve with their LinkedIn growth.

#3 - Community building with a long-term mindset

Contrary to his AI newsletter, Alex is building Faster Than Normal without the intention to sell it.

Instead, he's fostering a massive online community.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

→ Stronger relationship

→ Valuable feedback

→ Higher conversion rates

🙋 How Faster Than Normal does it

→ Maintaining a two-way communication:

Alex involves his subscribers in helping him make content decisions.

For example, Alex asked for suggestions from readers on how he could improve that content. He tweaked the content based on their advice.

He also asks questions related to the topic he’s sharing to keep them engaged.

→ Leveraging social media:

Alex leverages his 620K+ social media audience to build a strong community.

For example, he answers people's questions and clarifies any confusion.

→ Hosting learning sessions for his students:

Alex invites industry experts to help his course students have a competitive edge over others.

For example, you’ll get access to guest lectures about running paid ads or email deliverability if you enroll in his ​Newsletter Mastery​ course.

You’ll also receive templates “covering everything from finding your niche to reaching out to sponsors and more.”

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Copy what Alex does to strengthen your community.

Here are a few other ways:

→ Feature people in your newsletter:

Chenell from Growth In Reverse ​features​ readers who have referred her 10+ new subscribers to her newsletter.

→ Create a community-wide challenge:

Anthony Castrio ​shared​ with us that he created a newsletter growth challenge called Speedrun 1000. In doing so, Anthony grew his newsletter 10x faster—and organically!

→ Interact with your subscribers:

Create a FB or Slack group and host monthly Q&A or AMA sessions. You can also provide free 1:1 sessions as a reward for X number of referrals subscribers (hint: use ​SparkLoop​ to do it with ease).

→ Foster community interaction:

Host, organize or share in-person community meetups.

Lenny Rachitsky shares monthly community gatherings.

Adding it up…

Alex plans to continue serving his audience as best as possible.

One way he’s doing so is to write additional content (like deep dives on successful people and companies).

We'll be watching—and taking notes!

Here are 3 things to do next:

1. Check out the Faster Than Normal newsletter

2. Check out our whole conversation with Alex Brogan...

Video →

Audio →

3. Give us your take: what newsletter is doing something different and innovative we should feature next? Maybe it's yours... EMAIL US and let me know!

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