Are you embracing the exquisite pain of newsletter unsubscribes?

Dennis Shiao thinks you should.

And I agree.

We co-presented last week at Content Marketing World, and his point is sticking with me:

Don’t let yourself get numb to unsubscribes.

Dennis takes it very seriously.

He wants an email notification for each unsubscribe.

So he can process them individually.

Mourn their loss.

Experience the hurt.

And consider the why.

Similarly, I keep up with mine in a dashboard and make a point to review the reasons given after each issue.

Depending on your list size, this could require a significant time commitment.

But the point is this:

There is value in taking unsubscribes a little personally.

In considering each goodbye and the reason behind it.

Your newsletter is often a significant chunk of your relationship with your audience.

When someone opts out, acknowledging that individually and considering why will shape your future content in a more meaningful way than thinking of unsubscribes as a business metric.

It stings less when you turn people into numbers.

But if you pay attention to the individual names and reasons, you commit more fully to serving those who’ve stuck around.

Dennis challenged both independent creators and large brands to adopt this approach:

Intentionally humanize the relationship between sender and recipient.

Let it fuel our desire to earn trust in every issue we deliver.

Yes, sometimes an unsubscribe indicates the reader is not a good fit for you (or your brand). But, as tough as it is to accept, sometimes it’s good to wallow in the frustration of a farewell so we can improve going forward.

Subscribe to Dennis’s newsletter, the always insightful Content Corner, here.

This week’s issue includes the inspirational stories of some successful newsletter creators, advice for re-engaging subscribers, and ideas for improving your newsletter process (whether that’s automating tweet curation or building a community with purpose).

Let me know what you think.

Ashley Guttuso  

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Newsletter Tips

Find Inspiration In 2 (Very Different) Newsletter Success Stories

One of the best things about newsletters is they reflect the people and entities sending them, which means success is in the eye of the sender, right? Check out these 2 very different newsletters that might inspire your unique definition of success.

GQ reports that musician Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, has hit the newsletter scene by storm with bizarre essays and sexual fan fiction. His reasoning?

“I really missed when I would make things just to make them and share them right away… I needed somewhere for that energy to go.”

Anne-Laure Le Cunff published 100 articles of her newsletter, Ness Labs, in 100 days. For her, the journey (and success) was about learning in public.

In her words,

“Consistency trumps strategy.”





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Like this newsletter?

Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at], or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.

Ashley Guttuso