My husband cannot stand when strangers strike up conversation.

Recently, on a flight, I caught him smirking as two strangers met and began an endless exchange.

I’m somewhat neutral about the endeavor.

Mainly because I recall occasionally meeting really interesting people that way. But (gasp!) those memories all predate social media and the ability for someone to look you up and ask you to be more than temporary friends.

So he’s obviously influenced me to save the “here’s who I am and what I do” for more structured scenarios, like attending Content Marketing World a few weeks back and intentionally interacting with people in my industry.

It was unexpectedly exciting, especially since COVID began, to have these sorts of in-person conversations.

And, of course, I’m going to tie this into newslettering. Ready?

One particular conversation was with a man who’d actually lived in the SAME EXACT Manhattan apartment building I’d lived in for 10 months during graduate school 17 years ago.

It took some ramp up conversation to get to this fact. Maybe 10 minutes?

And when we discovered it I experienced a flood of emotions and memories of that period of my life:

  • The journalism courses I took and classmates I met
  • The exhilarating freedom of living by myself (it’s the only time I’ve done that in my life)
  • The way my long-distance boyfriend (now husband) and I would go see the same movies at the same time as long-distance dates
  • The pizza (John’s on Bleeker, specifically)

Suddenly there was more than “here’s who I am and what I do” going on.

There was a deeper connection.

He’d lived in the building years after I did, but it held significance to both of us for different reasons.

I write (and talk) a lot about the value of being human in your newsletter.

Of being a little vulnerable, even.

What I want us to think about is what we can include that draws our readers in, makes them feel closer to us, and, just maybe, opens the floodgates of memories and emotions for them.

I get that injecting personal stories into a newsletter isn’t for everyone.

But it’s powerful for those who are comfortable doing so.

For everyone else, you’re welcome to smirk with my husband.

This week’s issue highlights creators who have some unique insights on how they connect, create, and stay consistent. Plus, it prompts you to ask if you indulge in pluralistic ignorance. Nod your head if you get it.

Ashley Guttuso  

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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