For 4 mornings in a row, my family has been uncomfortably anxious.


The school bus tracker app, which shows us exactly where the elementary school bus that picks up our youngest daughter, HAS NOT BEEN WORKING.


It’s glitched every once in a while throughout the year, but never for 4 consecutive, frustrating days.

“But, Ashley,” you say.

“Can’t you just take her to the bus stop a little before the time when it should arrive?”

And this feels logical.

But 6:37 is rarely when it actually makes the stop.

Some days it’s 15 minutes ahead.

Some days, 15 minutes later.

And, I don’t know about you, but making educated guesses at the crack of dawn (sunrise was 6:41 a.m. this morning) isn’t my strongest skill set.

I err on the side of DO NOT RISK MISSING THE BUS.

Because missing it means an hour of your life shot sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on 2-lane roads that weren’t planned to accommodate thousands of frustrated parents and little ones.

So, for the past 4 mornings, we’ve been checking the app (which, for some reason, works like magic in the afternoons and gives us false hope for the next morning), complaining that it’s not working again, and feeling absolutely blind without its guidance.

“So, how does this help me make my newsletter better?” you ask (clearly the repetitive rough start to the day has me hearing voices).

Here’s how:

If you stopped sending (just as the tracker has stopped working reliably), would your subscribers feel anxiety or frustration?

Or would they not really notice?

Aim to be critical, or at least semi-critical.

Or, perhaps, enjoyably episodic?

Enough so that they’d notice your absence.

I’m not saying go wreck their mornings with a no-show every so often.

But, it’s actually healthy if your readers depend on you for a specific reason.

It strengthens your relationship with subscribers when you send what you say you’ll send.

When you… actually deliver, right?

Your newsletter should provide a value they’d rather not live without.

Be the reason they don’t miss the bus.

Ashley Guttuso  

Newsletter Tips




Morality, Marketing Strategies, And More

Just how knowledgeable are you as a publisher? This week’s insights help to shed some light on everything from online subscriptions and subscription marketing to morality and URLs.

  • Online subscriptions are doing more than providing a pathway to revenue. Marc Tracy shares how they are creating hope for local papers here.
  • Real question: are paywalls morally ethical? In this article, Alexandra Borchardt examines the dilemma and forecasts 2 different worlds of journalism.
  • In this Adweek article, ​​Mark Stenberg writes how Industry Dive is set to break $100 million in revenue as it reaches 2.5 million free email subscribers.
  • Are you playing Wordle? The NYT recently spent 7-figures to buy the free, online game and Jakub Parusinski with The Fix is speculating what this means for subscription marketing.
  • As a publisher, just how much do you know about URLs? Barry Adams is sharing his wisdom on everything from HTTPS protocols to trailing slashes here.

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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.

Happy newslettering,

Ashley Guttuso