What do you talk about in your content?

Whatever it is you share with your email subscribers can be categorised into a meaningful ‘topic (or topics, if you talk about more than one thing).

Let’s say, for example, you offer WordPress website development for freelancers and you provide a range of products and services, all of which are based around your core offering.

The content you share on social platforms and in your emails will all be related to your core offering, however, there may be sub-topics or niches that you talk about that may only be of interest to a subset of your audience.

For example, you might specialise in the use of the ‘Elementor‘ and ‘Divi‘ page builders when designing and building your websites. You’ll create content that talks about both these options, but it’s unlikely your email subscribers will use (or be interested in) both – they’ll either be an ‘Elementor’ user or a ‘Divi’ user and therefore probably have no interest in the other one.

These would be good candidates for separate ‘topics’ in your email marketing system; one for Elementor and another for Divi, that way, people don’t get sent emails that are of no interest to them.

Start small and then grow

When you’re just getting started with your email marketing, don’t try and solve the world on day one; instead, start small with just one or two topics and then, based on what you discover your audience wants from you, any subsequent topics can be added.

To continue the web dev example above, it would make sense to start with just one topic, ‘Web development’ and begin to share helpful content that focuses on the fundamentals of good design and development of a WordPress website.

You could craft a library of articles and emails that explain various aspects of ‘WordPress’; website development, website optimisation, best practices, what to avoid, examples of great websites and not-so-good ones etc. – you get the gist, providing helpful general content.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll start to get a feel for what content lands well with your audience and what dwindles in the background… this will then help you shape subsequent ‘topics’.

What are ‘Topics of Interest’ in ConvertKit?

Think of ‘Topics of Interest‘ as ‘tags‘ that have been applied to certain email subscribers on your list, as a result of an expressed interest.

If you join my email list and express an interest in learning about ‘ConvertKit(my preferred email marketing platform), then your profile will be assigned the relevant ‘tag’ that lets me know you want to receive emails about ConvertKit.

They’re a useful way of offering your subscribers a way to personalise their email feed, opting into the ones they want and ignoring the ones they don’t.

In the image above, you can see a few of the ‘Topics of Interest‘ that I have in my ConvertKit configuration.

How to create Topics of Interest in ConvertKit

Start by navigating to the menu option, ‘GrowSubscribers‘;

Once at the ‘Subscribers’ page, click the button entitled, ‘Manage Subscriber Preferences‘, towards the right-centre of the page;

This will open up a form that looks something like this; (your list will probably be empty);

You can see from the list above, I have 6 Topics of Interest that subscribers can opt in or out of, depending on their preferences. By default, a new subscriber will typically have maybe one or two of these applied when they join my list and will be aligned with their initial point of interest, but they can easily update their preferences at any time.

Creating a new Topic of Interest

There is a button at the bottom of the Topics of Interest form, entitled ‘Add another topic of interest‘ (see the image above) – when you click that button, you get a form that lets you create a new topic;

Enter your Topic title; this is what your subscribers will see when presented with the list of preferences

Then add the ‘Tag‘ that is to be forever associated with this Topic. You either create the tag beforehand and then select it from the drop-down list, or create it as you’re creating the new Topic.

Pro tip: Unless you are 100% sure about where a tag is being used and what it does at each part of your system, it’s best to create a new tag for your Topic and only use it for that Topic – that way, you won’t inadvertently set off any automations whenever a subscriber updates their preferences.

Once you’ve created your new Topic of Interest, remember to click the ‘Save‘ button.

How do subscribers access Topics of Interest?

Whenever you send out any email to your subscriber list, you MUST include a link they can click to unsubscribe from your list.

It’s good practice, but not mandatory, to also include a link for updating their preferences. This serves two key purposes; firstly, they can opt in and out of topics (which makes it more personal for them), but more importantly, it allows them to opt out of certain emails instead of unsubscribing from your entire email list – meaning you don’t lose a subscriber.

Below is an example of what these links would typically look like inside an email;

When a subscriber clicks on the link shown above, ‘Update My Email Preferences‘, they are shown a form that looks like this;

Using this form, the subscriber can update their contact details, as well as select (or deselect) their preferred topics.

After making preference changes, the subscriber must click the ‘Update profile‘ button to save any edits.

Adding the ‘Preferences’ link to your emails

There are two ways in which you can add a link to your emails that subscribers can click on to change their preferences.

Option 1:

Use a ‘link’ underneath a snippet of text of your choosing. For example, if you type the words “Update My Preferences‘ and then click the ‘link’ icon (to the immediate left of the ‘@’ symbol) in the email editor, you can add the link;

Option 2:

If you simply use the ‘_link‘ option, the words ‘Update your profile‘ are automatically applied by ConvertKit;

No matter which option you choose, the outcome is the same, with the subscriber being taken to the preferences page.

Subscriber preferences and extra verification

If a subscriber has purchased a ConvertKit Commerce product from you in the past and subsequently wants to update their preferences, they’ll be prompted to enter a one-time-use 6-digit code, sent to their email address, before gaining access.

This is because, once access has been gained, there is a link to view billing information stored in Stripe (payment merchant).

The unique 6-digit code email sent looks like this;

Once logged in, the subscriber will be able to click on the Stripe billing information link, as shown below;

Subscribers who have NOT purchased a product via the ‘Commerce’ platform will NOT be asked for any extra verification.

Deleting a ‘Topic of Interest’

If you delete a Topic of Interest, it will not delete the tag from your account, nor will subscribers get removed from the tag. Instead, the Topic of Interest will simply no longer show up when the subscriber visits the update preferences page.

Deleting a ‘tag’ associated with a Topic of Interest?

If you delete a tag that’s associated with a topic of interest, you’ll also delete the Topic of Interest. The ‘tag’ will also be removed from any subscribers’ profiles.

Summary

Topics of Interest are a fundamental feature of Convertkit to create basic personalisation for your subscribers.

ConvertKit supports up to 10 Topics of Interest in your account, however, in practice, you want to start with just one or two, and then add more as and when you introduce new topics into your messaging.

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John Bellingham
Email marketing strategist for aspirational freelancers.

If we haven’t already done so, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

The Freelancer’s Guide to Email Marketing gives you everything you need to know to design, launch, and run an effective email marketing system in your business.

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John Bellingham
John Bellingham

Starting out as a software engineer over 30 years ago, I began working for large corporates before realising solopreneurship was my 'thing'. I've had many businesses over the years, which have taught me many lessons.

I now spend my time helping other solopreneurs to implement the strategies and tactics that worked for me, whilst avoiding all my expensive mistakes.

If you're a solopreneur who's either starting or running a business, then connect with me and let's have a chat.

I love Formula 1® so that's always a good conversation starter if you need one! 🏁 🏎

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