It’s time to face a really harsh truth:
Quality content is not what grows a newsletter’s audience.
Yes. Top-notch writing is nice. I won’t begrudge you that. But, more importantly, it should be content that people actually care about enough to share.
People aren’t compelled to share content because it’s rigorously researched, well organized, and beautifully written.
Instead, we share the things we care about.
Things that prompt an emotional response.
For instance, if I read something fascinating about ancient history, I share it with my husband.
If I watch a sentimental video that brings me near tears, I send it to my mother.
If I see a good Harry Potter or Star Wars meme and it’s kid-friendly, I share it with my daughters.
If it’s not kid-friendly, I share it with my father.
The point, though, is that for something to take off and be shared with the right audience (people who would benefit from subscribing), it needs to stir something inside the reader that makes them think, “It’s worth the time it’ll take me to forward this to the people in my life that care about this topic. They’ll appreciate it.”
Better yet? “I serve an audience of 50,000 followers that care about this deeply and I think they should read this.”
That’s the kind of organic amplification that will grow an audience, newsletter or otherwise. (Note, if you’re running paid advertisements for your newsletter, you’ll want the ad copy to be something worth caring about, too.)
The questions you should to ask yourself with each send:
Have I written something worth sharing?
Would I thank someone for sending it to me?
Who, specifically, am I hoping will share it?
When you write with the goal of your content being shared, you align your intention with the intentions of the sharer. You apply a critical eye to what might have seemed important as it flowed out your fingers but is now less powerful when you think, “What would X think of this? Would they care?”
I’ll happily admit that one of the best editing techniques I’ve ever used is to pretend to be a specific person in my audience (it helps if we’ve had an actual conversation) and to read my content from their perspective. Even if this person doesn’t actually open my newsletter (gasp!), I’ve written “to them” in a way that resonates with a majority of my niche audience.
Go ahead. Pretend to be your most influential reader. Did your words make the pretend version of that person care? Or was it more “meh?” Time to revise.
Today’s Prologue was inspired by Rand Fishkin’s recent Sparktoro blog post Who Will Amplify This and Why? He offers some reasons why your content might not be performing well and provides advice on how to find and write for amplifiers (people your audience looks up to). You’ll want to spend some time with his article. I subscribe to his blog. It’s insightful and frequently worth sharing.
This issue finds itself somewhat focused on the intersection of marketing, writing, and publishing. There are some interesting voices in the mix and a challenge to leverage your content strategy (specifically writing about things your readers actually care about) to improve deliverability.
Please let me know what you think about the assortment of insights and advice included today, and, if you find yourself emotionally compelled, please share it with a newsletter creator who might find it useful.
...And we’re off!
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 (and sharing?),