3 lessons I’ve learned from newslettering
Note: I define newslettering as not only creating one, but also studying the genre via subscribing to newsletters and interviewing people who regularly hit “send.”
1) The best way to figure out if your plan is going to work is to try it.
I’ve talked to many people who are crippled by anxiety. They want 100% assurance of success before launching. It doesn’t work that way. You come up with an idea and you test it. Then you iterate and you test that. And the best chance you have at success is launching with an intention to help others, not yourself.
2) Consistently reporting on a topic is both a goal and a reward.
Subject matter expertise isn’t something anyone is born with. It takes immersion. Challenging yourself to stay on the pulse of a topic your readers care about makes you their guide. Assessing the value of curated content to their lives (“should this be included or does it fail to meet a quality standard I’m creating on the fly?”) helps you begin to recognize quality, form your own ideas, and become a part of the conversation.
Committing to serving readers is both a personal learning journey and a path to thought leadership.
3) Email newsletters are relationship growers.
Letters have historically been an intimate way of staying connected. From my earliest issues I noticed that the more vulnerable I was—and the more focused on specific audience members I’d personally spoken to (as if writing just to them)—the more my message resonated with all subscribers. Mary Ellen Slayter explained it well in an interview when she said that newsletters take 1:1 and make it 1:many, but that only works if you still write as if it’s 1:1.
And it takes time. Issue after issue of sending little pieces of yourself to all those 1s.
Last week I shared a particularly tense story and encouraged you all to persevere in your newslettering.
This week’s intro is not quite as thrilling, but, I can attest, the more you put into your relationships with subscribers, the more fulfilled you will be by the process.
Do You Have An Effective Content Strategy?
How crucial is a strong content strategy to the success of your marketing efforts? Insanely crucial... according to me (a content marketer).
Content is the conversation you/your brand should be constantly having with your audience. And, yes, that includes newsletters, but it’s more than blogs and emails.
Too often, the focus in content marketing is 90% on creating and publishing and not much attention is left for deciding how to distribute and repurpose that content so that it doesn’t just die on your website.
Check out these 4 fresh articles that address this topic from a few different, but overlapping, angles.
- Barb Mosher Zinck writes how strategy trumps actual content. Her conclusion sums it up: “If you want your content to matter, don’t ignore all the work required to make it matter.”
- While content strategy is important, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Darrah Brustein offers 9 strategies to make it effective and enjoyable.
- Speaking of simplicity, you don’t have to start at square one to have an effective content strategy. Here’s a solid guide to content repurposing by Si Quan Ong.
- Finally, your content is meaningless if nobody sees it. This article from Ghost Newsletter explains the why, where, and hows of content distribution.
Are You Pursuing Change?
Innovation has become the norm in the publishing world. From new strategies to improvements in technology, publishers must be willing to adapt constantly. This week’s Publishing Insights focus on what publishers are doing to keep up.
- The New York Times has reached over 10 million paid subscriptions. They’ve outlined the strategies they used here (one of them is subscribers’ ability to “gift” up to 10 different articles each month).
- Big tech has no doubt changed local news. In this CJR article, Timothy Karr writes that the future of innovation is “non-commercial.”
- How can publishers benefit from AI? Marcela Kunova explores possibilities like searching audio, analyzing sources, and more in this article.
- As a publisher, you have a responsibility to find and correct misinformation. Olivia Collette explains how the comments section just might be your biggest resource.
- In her LinkedIn post, Anita Zielina reports that the Knight Foundation and Google Digital News Initiative are granting $900K to News Product Alliance. Check out what this will fund here.
- What do publishers plan to do to grow revenue this year? This Reuters Institute report found that subscription strategies will take priority over display and native advertising.