My daughters both bridge to the next level of Girl Scouts next week.

It’s a big deal.

We all get a great sense of pride at these ceremonies.

Mainly because the week before bridging I hustle and get all their badges on their uniforms.

Just kidding. Kind of.

It’s more about what they’ve done in the past two years as a Daisy, Brownie, or Junior.

The task of making sure all the badges and pins are on before that final moment is pretty monumental, too. Especially in a pandemic year when I’ve been operating in mission critical mode and procrastinating things that require extra energy I don’t seem to have.

As I worked on one vest the other night, making sure the different types of badges and pins were all in the correct spots and reflecting on how they were earned, I thought about copywriting.

I know. I’m a nerd. We’re all aware.

What struck me is that to an outsider (say, someone who has no clue what anything on the vest means), it’s just a mix of fabric bits and pins. But to a Girl Scout, the placement and number of pins is everything.

For example, the girl’s left side of the vest is reserved for Journey Badges. These are multi-week journeys that require the girls to really dive into a certain topic (this year they did Think Like a Programmer) and then complete a Take Action Project (not a community service, a sustainable project that has lasting impact).

On the right side she boasts “Try It” badges. Each has 5 requirements she must meet to earn the badge. They add up as she learns a variety of skills such as Simple Meals, Horseback Riding, Eco Camping, ect.

And there are pins that represent how many years she’s been a Girl Scout, how many years she has sold cookies, and if she’s completed 3 journeys during her time at any level (it’s called a Journey Summit Award).

This is a simplified explanation, of course. But what you end up with is a visual display that seems foreign to some but immediately communicates how accomplished she is to those who understand the Girl Scout world.

A few weeks ago, I shared a video clip from Newsletter Fest of Liz Willits explaining the importance of writing for skimmers and for those who read every word. It’s like the Girl Scout vest. There will be bold statements that communicate the main points, but more meaning waiting in the text below.

There are people who just want a surface-level explanation, and people who understand that there’s a story behind that subhead: people who read and click.

Write for both skimmers and divers.

Fill your vest (newsletter) with the stories you want to tell.

And, issue after issue, build a world they can choose to explore at the level they enjoy.

Today’s Prologue hints at a topic I hope you’ll find as interesting as I do: worldbuilding. There’s a wonderful article in the Marketing section about how you can use fiction writing tactics to build a world for your real life audience.

There are also some pieces about the creator economy and exciting announcements about private newsletters and a special event we have coming up in Curated News.

Now, let’s spelunk into this newsletter world.

Ashley Guttuso  

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Ashley @ Opt In Weekly  

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Have a great week sending, y’all.

Thanks for reading (and sharing?),

Ashley Guttuso