I made a mistake last week and I’m still dealing with the aftermath.
Nora, my 6th grader, rocked her first 9 weeks at her new school and made all As.
This meant she received an invitation to join an honor society.
The invitation came with a letter encouraging students to review the expectations of members on the school website and have a parent pay a fee online.
While this invitation was very exciting, it was shared with me while I was in the middle of work (she walks home from the bus stop and, on occasion, I’m in a Zoom meeting). Hello, 2021.
When I reviewed the page and saw a November due date, I sighed in relief that I didn’t HAVE to focus on it right that moment but could set it aside for a few weeks (it must have been mid-October).
And then… I forgot about it.
Until November 3.
At which point I did a 6 a.m. scramble, found the paper, and realized we’d missed the deadline.
We’d reviewed the website, learned the honor society required community service, and had decided this would be an amazing opportunity for my little do-gooder who’d completed a 20+ hour-project for her Girl Scout Bronze award last year. It would also be a wonderful way for her to meet friends.
But I’d let the chaos that was attending 2 carnivals, 2 gymnastics classes, a birthday party, and trick-or-treating the week leading up to the deadline distract me from paying the fee.
So I sent an apologetic email to the sponsor and Nora said she’d ask one of her teachers.
We got mixed messages.
The response I got was a firm no, 24 hours later.
Nora was told she’d still be allowed in, but would miss initiation.
I responded to the email immediately to ask if there was truly no possible way for her to join, waited 4 days for a response, then tried again.
And again it was a solid no, with a fair explanation that even if I’d forgotten that the students had been reminded daily.
Nora says she remembers one reminder, but that her teacher is checking it to see if it’s really a no-go.
I’ve had ALL THE EMOTIONS about this.
I get that it’s an attempt to be fair.
And we’ll live with the consequence if there’s really no chance.
I’ve debated hand delivering a complaint to the principal’s office, but I’m not so much interested in making noise (and causing drama) as I am in undoing the mistake that now robs my child of an opportunity.
She’s less upset than I am.
And if it needs to be a lesson learned, she and I will have both learnt it:
The moment she gets an invite at the beginning of the next school year, I will be paying the $35 fee. No setting it aside.
But I’ve also told her something she’s not learning from this experience that is true in the real world: you can occasionally make a minor mistake like missing a deadline, recover with a sincere apology, continue to do good work, and still salvage the project.
Enough with my middle school moaning—what’s the newsletter lesson hiding in here?
As a creator, you’re going to make mistakes.
Don’t shy away from sharing your failures if they can serve others.
The intimacy of a newsletter—which IS A LETTER, right?—allows for moments of vulnerability.
What are you doing to help your readers see you as a flawed human being?
Check out this week’s Opt In Challenge (near the end of this issue) for more on failing in public… and enjoy all the good bits between here and there for your weekly dose of newsletter news and tips.
Are You Creating Quality Content?
What exactly is quality content? Roger Montti breaks down Google’s John Mueller’s definition in this Search Engine Journal article. Spoiler: it’s not what you think.
Discovered via Raisin Bread.
Is Your Content Too Complicated?
Time to simplify. Cassandra Naji advocates for content enabling its target audience to do one thing—and nothing more. Check out the “value curve” in this Animalz article.
Discovered via Really Good Emails.
Wish Creating Industry Research Reports Came With A Playbook? Now It Does.
Erin Balsa, Marketing Director at The Predictive Index, has created a research report course that includes a plug-and-play template. It’s yours for $150.
10 Marketing Disasters To Avoid
In this Search Engine Journal article, Rachel Vandernick identifies the worst marketing disasters of all time and shares how top brands handled the mistake.
Discovered via theCLIKK.
Are You Doing Enough To Keep Your Audience Engaged?
Audience engagement matters. This week’s publishing insights look at just what publishers are doing to attract, engage, and retain subscribers.
- Content is now commerce. Troy Young looks at why we talk about it, how it changes everything, and what comes next in this episode of People vs. Algorithms.
- In this Axios article, Sara Fischer reports on The Atlantic’s decision to add 9 contracted writers to their new newsletter program.
- One of the writers going to The Atlantic is Charlie Warzel. He’s shared why in this issue of his newsletter, Galaxy Brain.
- You’ve heard of NFTs, but could they really be revolutionary for writers and publishers? Jane Friedman thinks so.
- Why do people cancel news publication subscriptions? This Nieman Lab article by Laura Hazard Owen offers some answers.
- News organizations are getting creative when it comes to getting readers to pay for content. Eliott Brennan identifies 3 innovative ways here.
- Are you missing out on utilizing user-generated audio for engagement? Peter Houston with What’s New In Publishing takes a look.
The Founder Of The Hustle Shares His Recipe For Success
Sam Parr, founder of The Hustle, has built a $20 million newsletter business. Peter Otieno summarizes Parr’s interview with Creator Lab here.
Discovered via Inbox Reads.
14 Steps To Increase Your Revenue
Justin Welsh has made over $1.3M in revenue and is sharing how in a series of steps on his Twitter feed.
Discovered via Marketer Crew.
What Is The Value Of Free Content?
Are you charging for the right things? This issue of A Media Operator looks at ads, subscriptions, and the value of free.
Discovered via The Media Roundup.
It May Be Time To Evaluate Your Job’s Opportunity Cost
Alex Cornell, author of Very Long Press, wisely takes some time to break down the “opportunity cost” of your job here.
Discovered via Really Good Emails.
Curious About Curated Or Newsletters In General?
If you have any questions about Curated or newsletters, we created a Google Form where you can easily ask them.
Seth will answer them live at Curated Crash Course during the Q&A segment of the session, but if you can't make it, he’ll send you a recording so you can see your questions answered.
PS: As usual, Curated Crash Course is today at 4 PM CT.
ICYMI: You can always check our Curated Public Product Roadmap to catch up on recent releases and find out what’s up next.
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Opt In Challenge
Share Your Failures, Not Just Your Successes
Deep breaths. This week your Opt In Challenge is to fail... and then share it with your readers. Brett Beasley shares how to do it well here.