6 mins

Friday Feature: Strategy Breakdowns

How Tom Alder launched Strategy Breakdowns to 5k subscribers—and grew it to 35k—with LinkedIn.

Sameer Ansari

How Tom Alder grew Strategy Breakdowns to 35k subscribers with LinkedIn.

Can you beat Tom Alder at the LinkedIn growth game?


→ has 75K followers on the platform
→ grew Strategy Breakdowns to 5K subscribers before launch—thanks to LinkedIn
→ hit 35K+ subscribers in only 7 months—75% directly from LinkedIn

How did he do it?

In this week’s Friday Feature, you’ll learn how Tom…

  1. Grew to 5K newsletter subscribers before his newsletter launch
  2. Used lesser-known hacks to dominate LinkedIn
  3. Diversified his revenue streams

Excited? Let’s dive in!

#1 - Launching your newsletter to thousands of subscribers

Before launching Strategy Breakdowns, Tom grew his LinkedIn account to 20K followers. He built a loyal audience interested in the business strategies of technology companies.

So, when he launched his newsletter, he had an audience he could promote his newsletter to. That helped him grow it to 5K subscribers before publishing the first edition.

Colton Sakamoto and Tyler Parker from the Office Party newsletter shared they followed a similar strategy to grow their newsletter.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Discovery: Newsletter discovery is challenging. But you can use social platforms (like LinkedIn) with billions of users to grow an audience.

Validation: Growing an audience to thousands around a topic is a surefire way to test newsletter-audience fit.

Trust: When you build a relationship with your audience over time, they’ll trust and like you. You’re building credibility, which you can leverage to ask users to sign up for your newsletter when you launch it.

🙋 How Strategy Breakdowns does it

Tom started creating content on LinkedIn in July 2021. He took a 30-day challenge to write one post daily for 30 days.

He continued doing it for 9 months and gained 10K followers.

Tom took a 1-year break, but resumed posting in January 2023. This time, he decided to launch a newsletter. So, he added a "subscribe" CTA to subscribe to each post.

Initially, it was a simple mailing list with relevant links.

But within weeks, he niched down on a topic and rebranded the CTA:

Some of his posts went viral, bringing in 300–400 subscribers per CTA. One post even landed him 2,200+ subscribers 🤯

Eventually, after 2 months of posting and teasing his newsletter, he published his first edition to ~5K subscribers.


✏️Steal this for your newsletter​

Choose your zone of genius: Tom wrote about company strategies because he loved the topic, and his career revolved around it. So, choose a niche with a personal interest and relevant experience.

Be consistent: It took Tom 39 days to “go viral.”

What if he’d quit? He wouldn’t have 75K followers on LinkedIn, 35K+ newsletter subscribers, and a potential million-dollar business.

So, as cliché as it may sound, don’t give up. Develop a daily writing habit and post content every day.

Share your newsletter link: Like how Tom shared his “subscribe CTA” for months before publishing his first edition, do the same. Drive your LinkedIn followers to your newsletter sign-up page (when it’s ready) with a solid CTA.

🎧 Bonus: Learn more about Tom's growth journey on LinkedIn in our recent chat →

#2 - LinkedIn Growth Hacks

Sure, consistency helped Tom to grow on LinkedIn.

But, he learned and applied a few hacks to consistently go viral on the platform and turn LinkedIn followers into newsletter subscribers.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Virality: These hacks are free with viral potential (as Tom has proven; you’ll find it below). They only cost you time.

Consistent growth: Like how Yong-Soo’s “5 growth levers” help him stay focused and follow a strategic playbook to grow newsletter subscribers, these “LinkedIn hacks” allow Tom to do the same.

Uncapped growth: Use these growth hacks at any stage to grow consistently—whether you want to get to the first 1K subscribers or scale from 1K to 50K and beyond.

🙋 How Strategy Breakdowns does it

Here are a few things Tom does to leverage LinkedIn’s algorithm:

#1 - Outbound engagement

Half an hour before posting the content, Tom comments and likes big creators’ posts. It helps him get noticed in different people’s feeds, with the goal of becoming the "top" comment on the post.

#2 - Pay attention to the first hour after posting content

One hour after he posts on LinkedIn, Tom responds to every comment in a way that creates more conversation, either from the original commenter or from people who want to jump into that thread with insights.

For example, this one comment alone has 19 follow-ups:

More comments > more engagement > more algorithmic boost.

#3 - Be smart with the CTA

Like other social platforms, LinkedIn penalizes posts with links.

Here’s how Tom shares his CTA link AND avoids the algorithm punishment:

  1. He shares the initial post without the CTA.
  2. After 1 hour, he edits the post, adding the CTA link.
  3. He leaves 3–4 comments on his posts after 10 minutes.

The additional comments could be more insight + the newsletter link, like this:

Or promoting his sponsor slots or requesting readers to follow him:

Adding these info nuggets in the comments only increases the chances of more comments on the original post, which is favored by the algorithm.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Follow the above organic hacks:

Step 1: Start half an hour before posting your content with outbound engagement. Create a list of larger LinkedIn accounts within your niche, and engage—but don’t comment just for the sake of it. Add genuine & helpful commentary.

Step 2: Share your LinkedIn post. Then, do outbound engagement for 10 minutes and return to your post to respond to the comments. Do this for one hour.

Step 3: After one hour, edit your post with CTA and add extra comments under your post.

#3 - Diversified revenue

Many newsletters rely heavily on ads as a main revenue stream.

For Strategy Breakdowns, ads make up 75.8% of his total newsletter income.

Putting 75.8% of your eggs in one basket could be risky.

And that's why Tom plans to bring this percentage down and diversify his revenue streams even more.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Stability: If one revenue stream faces challenges, the others can balance that. You mitigate risk and ensure financial stability and stable growth.

Competitive advantage: The more your finances are secured, the more you can experiment, adapt, and grow.

More value capture: Multiple revenue streams help you create monetization offers for every subscriber. For example, you can monetize some readers (who don’t pay) through ads and some through paid products like subscriptions, courses, or community memberships.

🙋 How Strategy Breakdowns does it

Currently, Strategy Breakdowns has three revenue streams:


#1 - Ads:

Right now, Tom sells 1x “Main Ad” + up to 3x “Secondary Ads” per newsletter, but he plans to move to 2x “Main Ads.”

#2 - Paid referrals:

Tom uses SparkLoop to recommend newsletters to his subscribers and earn referral commissions.

#3 - Affiliates:

He recommends SaaS tools to earn affiliate income. Tom likes the recurring revenue from these types of affiliate programs.


Tom wants to reduce dependency on outside forces (like ad budgets and demand) and be more reliant on revenue streams within his control.

So, here are a few opportunities he’s thinking of:


✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Want to diversify your revenue streams?

Start by considering the Rule of 10s below.

100% of your audience is willing to pay you $0. But you can still monetize that audience with things like ads/sponsorships and Upscribe for example.

Here’s what that might look like for a niche B2B newsletter:

Adding it up…

Tom Alder recently quit his job to go all-in on his newsletter. He plans to build a fully-fledged newsletter empire.

The immediate step is to launch an on-demand B2B product and/or a Micro-SaaS to scale revenue.

Safe to say, he’s onto something big. We might have to bring him for Round 2 to learn how things are going—and more of these awesome growth hacks.

Here are 3 things to do next:

  • 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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