Guess what people don’t love to read:

Stories that don’t have CONFLICT.

It’s true.

I intentionally use emojis in the subject line of this newsletter so I can scan the reply-to inbox and see which issues get the most direct responses.

And, no surprise, the ones where there’s actually a bit of plot in the intro get way more replies than the ones without.

Think about it.

You’ll hear people say, “Oh, that was such a good story.”

What they really mean is, “I was emotionally invested in the outcome.”

So it’s easy to understand why when I shared about my family’s struggle to get to our cruise port in time after a canceled flight, I got messages from people saying they’d stopped everything to read about it.

And it’s also easy to understand why a less conflicted story about how gemstone hunting (and the jewelry made from it) is like curating quality content results in less response. It teaches a lesson, but there’s not really anything at stake.

So… what am I getting at?

Should every issue of our newsletters drive intense emotional response?

I don’t think it’s possible.

Think about your favorite television series.

Sometimes it’s full of drama and surprise.

But there are also episodes dedicated to character and plot development, where nothing seems to happen.

They’re episodic in nature, moving the bigger story forward.

Our bigger story here is the universal conflict of being a newsletter creator.

We live in a land of conflict:

What to write about.

When to send.

How to grow an audience genuinely interested in what we create.

How to connect with that audience beyond the inbox.

All the opens and clicks and metrics tied to the unfolding of a narrative between you and the people who subscribe to the thoughts that burst from your brain.

Sometimes you will be on fire, telling an intense story.

Sometimes you will share little bits of yourself that help your readers without tapping into conflict.

And, perhaps, if you talk to them enough, you can bring them on a transformative journey that feels more like a weekly letter from a friend, where it seems like nothing really happened, but, in fact, so much actually did.

This week’s round up of newsletter tips and insights includes an article about owning the conversation (see Marketing). What conversation do you want to own, and are you doing that in your newsletter?

Ashley Guttuso  

Newsletter Tips




How Publishers Can Improve Engagement

When it comes to our newsletter readers, engagement is the goal. This week we’re looking at ways to improve engagement both now and in the future.


Money Matters

Curated News Curated News

New to Curated? Make a copy of this Getting Started with Curated Checklist to help launch your newsletter (public, private, or paid).


Opt In ChallengeOpt In Challenge

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