6 mins

Friday Feature: Touristy

How Touristy surpassed 100k subscribers — 100% organically.

Sameer Ansari

How Touristy surpassed 100k subscribers - 100% organically.

Growing to 110K+ newsletter subscribers in 4 years is super impressive.

But doing it organically is truly remarkable.

And that’s exactly what Noor Chopra did with Touristy.

Oh—and she did it without any employees.


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

  1. Differentiated with a unique tone
  2. Grows 100% organically
  3. Finds sponsors through outbound tactics

Let’s dive in!

#1 - Differentiation with a unique tone

Do you read the WSJ cover-to-cover? Yeah, me neither.

That’s because it is—and most business and tech publications are—dry.

Informative, yes. Exciting? No.

Noor wanted her business and tech newsletter to be the opposite—one that educates and entertains.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Brand personality: Adding personality helps you differentiate from the crowd. And only you can write like you. 

Increased engagement: A casual tone and memes can help inspire subscribers to read, share, and comment on your content. Case in point: Noor averages 41-42% open rates.

🙋 How Touristy does it

Noor started Touristy during the pandemic.

You might recall: traditional news was severely negative at the time.

So Noor decided to make the newsletter light and informal. The content gained traction, and readers loved the tonality.

So she doubled down on it.

Here’s how Noor adds fun to her newsletter:

#1 - Sarcasm

Noor flexes her millennial sarcastic muscle throughout her content.

There are occasional jokes/humor, too.

# 2 - GIFs and images

She’s particular in finding the best GIF or meme.

You’ll also find images throughout her content (example).

# 3 - Emojis

Noor doesn’t miss a chance to add relevant emojis.

# 4 - Personal Commentary

She shares her thoughts & opinions on the trending tech and business news.y mention of their growth strategies.

✏️Steal this for your newsletter​

Finding your newsletter’s voice doesn’t happen overnight.

But the more you experiment, publish, and get feedback, the quicker you'll find it.

Try Touristy’s approach by diversifying your voice from the common “tone” in your topic, niche, or industry.

Tarzan Kay has been successful using a very personal approach, sharing unfiltered life experiences along with her one-of-a-kind personality.

Whatever you do, remember…

→ Seek feedback from your readers to hone and refine your tone. Specifically, ask why they liked/disliked a particular edition and what emotion it evoked. Edit accordingly.

#2 - Mastering organic growth

Noor has grown Touristy 30-40% annually without investing a penny in paid ads.

Most of those subscribers came through readers who loved her “witty millennial sarcasm” and shared it with their friends.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

$0 investment: Organic growth only costs time, not money.

Higher conversion: Word-of-mouth recommendations come with built-in trust. People are more willing to try something if it’s endorsed by someone they know, like, and trust.

🙋How Touristy does it

Here are Noor's few organic growth tactics:

→ Leveraging her college network post-grad: Leveraging her college network post-grad: Noor graduated from NYU and Cass Business School, London. She was part of many WhatsApp and FB college communities where she shared her newsletter.

→ Personalized DMs: She DMed people on social media with a glimpse of her content. If they liked it, she asked them to subscribe to the newsletter. This helped her reach 1000 subscribers.

→ College ambassador program: Students who had subscribed to her newsletter and loved it promoted it to their college mates in exchange for perks.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Maybe you graduated from college a long time ago. Or never went.

You can still benefit from a similar strategy.

→ Leverage your existing network: Reach out to friends, family, colleagues (current and past) and share your newsletter.

→ Leverage online communities: You’ll find hundreds of FB, Reddit, and Slack communities related to your newsletter topic.

For example, if you want to join marketing communities on Reddit, type “marketing” in the Reddit search bar > select communities.

Join 1–2 groups, engage with the folks, and provide value (by sharing insights and tips). Share your newsletter naturally as a solution to a problem

Check this out → a brilliant example of Eric Lam using Reddit to grow.

→ Leverage your existing audience: Take Yong-Soo Chung’s approach to building in public. He shares newsletter metrics and milestones, growth strategies, content ideas, and more on Twitter and in his newsletter. It helped him grow to 12K+ readers in a year.

You can also repurpose your newsletter content (like LeQwane did) and share behind-the-scenes (how you plan, research, and write) on socials to increase subscribers.

But remember: Your content must fit each platform to succeed. For instance, images work best on FB. Long-form content is the go-to format on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit. And short-form videos succeed on Instagram and TikTok.

Here’s a great example of how Harry Dry of Marketing Examples tailors his content to each platform to add subscribers.

→ Partnerships: With SparkLoop, you can partner with similar newsletters in your niche to get high-quality, engaged subscribers. Sign-up here.

#3 - Outbound tactics to find sponsors

Initially, Noor monetized her newsletter through affiliate marketing and in-email ads and sponsorships, which were mainly inbound requests.

But relying on inbound requests alone is risky.

So, she created an outbound sales system to keep her monetization flywheel spinning and her sales pipeline as full as possible.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

→ Predictable revenue: Inbound sales are unpredictable and unreliable. But outbound sales done well means a steady pipeline of sponsors and a reliable revenue stream.

🙋How Touristy does it

Here’s the step-by-step playbook of how Noor does outbound sales:

#1 - Finding relevant clients:

Noor has a list of clients she thinks would best suit her readers. She often comes across these companies while researching for her newsletter.

#2 - Researching about the client:

She researches the client to see how they could benefit from sponsoring her newsletter.

#3 - Sending personalized emails:

She sends personalized emails to clients—outlining why they should advertise with her and information about her newsletter (niche and metrics) and audience (demographics, interests, etc.).

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Before moving forward, here are some great resources about ad sales:

Newsletter Office Hours: How to sell more newsletter ads and sponsorships

The $3M playbook for newsletter ad sales


→ Steal Noor’s strategy: research potential brands to work with (that fit your audience's interests), create a media kit, and send a personalized pitch to clients.

→ Steal Chenell’s Strategy: Chenell Basilio of Growth In Reverse asked her subscribers how they’d feel about ad sponsorships in her newsletter. Most of them responded positively. But the best part?! 14 people (!!) replied asking to sponsor her newsletter.

Do the same and see if your subscribers are interested in sponsoring your newsletter. Often, your first advertiser is already subscribed to your newsletter.

Adding it up…

Noor has masterfully set up her newsletter foundation for long-term success.

Now, she wants to grow revenue fast.

One way she’s thinking of doing it is to share her newsletter bi-weekly instead of weekly (to increase ad revenue).

She also plans to start a podcast and add another audience acquisition channel. We'll be watching!

Here are 3 things to do next:

1. Check out our podcast chat with Noor...
• Video →

• Audio →

​2. Check out Touristy →

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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