Last Sunday, we awoke to the familiar sound of an early morning pickleball match and a mountain of cases of Girl Scout cookies that had taken up residence in our living room.
This was intentional.
Out of sight would mean out of mind, and this is our family’s 4th year of selling cookies.
We know that it’s about 45% strategy (pick the right places to sell at the right time) and 55% hustle (commit the hours it takes to conquer that mountain).
This year the hustle was a little harder because we decided not to sell at a grocery store booth. The pandemic has impacted everyone, even the volunteer sales force that brings you Girl Scout cookies.
But the day promised opportunity.
The pickleball court is across the street from our house and the sun was out, which meant people would also be using the nearby pool.
So we set up shop in the driveway. One daughter managed to hoverboard with a large sign like a really coordinated panhandler and the other ran in and out the house to restock cookies as they sold.
It was a slow start, but as the game released and a large group of neighbors came out, they all smiled with delight at our efforts.
Most of them bought cookies. AND ALL OF THEM MESSAGED THEIR NEIGHBORS.
A steady stream of people began to stop by.
We had cars stopping in the middle of the street and reversing to buy cookies.
A good many of those people showed up because their neighbors called and texted them.
It was high-visibility meets word of mouth at its finest.
The girls managed to do something they’d only done at grocery stores before: they sold a total of $422 worth of cookies in roughly 5 hours.
Why? Because they targeted an audience that WANTED to help them.
The pickleball players were huge amplifiers.
We all need amplifiers.
People trust other people more than they trust companies.
If you’re trying to grow your newsletter subscription list, it helps immensely if someone with a larger reach than your own is so impressed by your work that they share it with their audience.
Sometimes that means strategically targeting those people. Find ways to get their attention and earn their amplification.
Go find your pickleball players and let them know you’ve got cookies.
This week’s issue includes some voices I think are worth amplifying. Read more about targeting people who will share your content in today’s Marketing section.
Paradox Found: When NOT To Target Your Ideal Client Persona
Rand Fishkin breaks down the very fine art of creating content for experts who have the ability to influence the persona you want to reach.
Read that again.
But completely genius.
Think back to my Girl Scout cookie story. The pickleball players had the ability to share our content (in this case, cookies). It was important that we reach them so they could amplify our messaging.
Now imagine that all of them had health concerns and couldn’t buy cookies, but they KNEW a bunch of people who would. See where I’m going here?
This article is worth bookmarking, y’all.
How To Uncork Your Marketing
In this article, Latane Conant, CMO at 6Sense, masterfully relates telling your brand’s story to the experience of wine tasting. I won’t be surprised when a record number of marketing teams plan offsite wine tasting events to more fully embrace the analogy.
Use This Process To Get From Ideation To Distilled Messaging
My obsession with Tiny Little Business and Andre Chaperon continues. This piece is actually a newsletter he and business partner Shawn Twing sent out last week and it might be the content creation recipe you’ve been missing in your life.
I don’t want to spoil the read, so I’ll tease you with an outline of their approach:
- The Dossier (all the ideas, ever)
- The Manifesto (1-2k words)
- The Frame (300-500 words)
- The Hook (1-2 sentences)
Let me know if you give their approach a try.
Improve Your Interviews
Here’s a little writing secret:
It’s so much easier to write almost anything if you interview someone.
As a former freelancer, at some point I overcame my dread of requesting interviews and started looking forward to the process. Here’s the deal: once you’ve identified someone as having an opinion worth capturing on the topic you are writing about, you get to have a conversation with them and use that to fuel your content.
But it’s not just as simple as requesting their time and asking a few questions. You need to be prepared to have an actual conversation, which means you need to do your research before that chat takes place.
In this article, Whitney Rhodes offers up 4 interview strategies you can use in your next article.
Note: I found this via Driven.
Increase In Print Subscriptions Tied To Hunger For Curation
Here’s an interesting take on the rise in magazine subscriptions Dennis Publishing has recently experienced:
Julian Thorne explains that they’re
“...undoubtedly benefiting from the increased appetite for news curation...”
In other words, some print publications are experiencing a comeback because readers like that they offer a finite amount of content.
David Pilcher of Freeport Press references an older article about curation that sums this up well:
“To be successful, a print publisher must master the idea of finite space, creating a carefully curated edition each time they go to press. This idea is antithetical to the current state of digital affairs and its never-ending stream of content. A recent report from Journey Group points out the need for digital publishers to grasp the idea of boundaries.”
What does this suggest for newsletter creators?
Readers like publishers who pick out the best for them and stick to a set amount of content at a set cadence. That doesn’t mean you can’t change things up here and there, but it does mean that if you go overboard with more, more, more, your readers might find that overwhelming. They’re trusting you to distill things for them.
New Week, Old Drama
The battle for who gets paid to capture our attention continues, this time with a few rounds of disarming disinformation.
- 'WWD,' 'The Economist' Launch Education Offerings
- Journalists and the looming superstorm of climate disinformation
- To Quash Disinfo, Researchers Must Work With Journalists
- After Facebook’s news flex, Australia passes bargaining code for platforms and publishers
- Facebook to invest $1 billion in news industry after Australia row
- Can social media and journalism form a global partnership?
- Create Big Tech fund to pay for northern journalism
- 'We will not build alternate identifiers': In drastic shift, Google will end behavioral targeting, profile-building in its ad products
- Can Publishers' Contextual Targeting Replace Third-Party Cookies?
- To Succeed Without Cookies, Try Content Commerce
How To Keep Sponsors Coming Back
Yaro Bagriy from Newsletter Crew has created a list of ways to help your sponsors achieve more ROI. It’s a solid list, but I’d like to add two more here that I think are actually more effective than those he’s listed:
Make sure the audience you’ve cultivated is a good fit for the sponsor.
Sponsors will see the best results when their offering is highly aligned with the interests of the people who have subscribed to your content. Misalignment can both undermine the credibility of your newsletter (“Why am I seeing an ad for this?”) and result in low click-throughs for the advertiser.
Consider encouraging ads that read and are formatted similarly to your content.
This approach (sometimes called native or advertorial) plays into the idea that people read copy that interests them, and sometimes that copy is and advertisement. You’ll find great examples of this in iOS Dev Weekly.
While many media companies experienced massive layoffs due to the pandemic, Insider Inc. managed to hire 130 new employees and will be increasing their minimum salary to $60,000 annually for U.S. employees.
Newsletter Fest Keeps Growing
This FREE, virtual conference is April 12 -16 and the speaker list is getting very impressive. Be sure to check out the event site and subscribe to the Newsletter Fest Newsletter to receive updates as this event draws near.
Psst! We’d be extra thankful if you’d share this event on social media for us. Here’s a promo video you can use.
ICYMI: We now have a Curated Public Product Roadmap! Check out our recent releases and what’s up next.
Opt In Challenge
Try Animated Gifs
Lily Worth explains the value of creating animated gifs for your emails. They’re a nice way to add movement to your newsletter. I challenge you to follow her instructions and try out adding a gif to yours this week.
Like this newsletter?
Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at]optinweekly.com, or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.
Also, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with fellow email newsletter creators. All archived issues will be available on OptInWeekly.com, so you can send them the link to check it out.
Have a great week sending, y’all.
Thanks for reading,