How many of your readers do you know by name?

Last week, as I took time off to go metal detecting in England, I was struck by the thought that because the most successful newsletter creators are the ones that truly understand their readers, that a good measurement of progress is how many readers you’ve actually engaged with personally.

As I crept my way across the field, I challenged myself to list off as many reader names as I could.













The list goes on. They’re all people I met because of publishing Opt In Weekly.

Maybe you haven’t had a direct conversation with a reader (why not, though?), but you’ve begun to recognize the people who take time to respond and comment on what you send. Hopefully, you’re responding to these sorts of replies after each issue.

And while it’s great to recognize their names—heck, you could track this in a spreadsheet—I think the more important question is what else do you know about them?

Have you engaged enough to understand what their goals and challenges are?

Do you know if they’ve made a major career change recently?

Do you know what they aspire to become?

Do you know what sort of books they like to read?

Or if they’ve launched a TikTok account?

While this all might sound like data big tech would love to pounce on, gathering this information informally, through conversations or messaging back and forth, is insanely helpful in guiding your content strategy.

Rather than imagining a faceless crowd of strangers reading your work and attempting to guess what they’d find valuable, you’ll be able to settle your mind on one person and think “What would Tina find helpful this week?”

Your newsletter then becomes an ongoing conversation between you and individuals.

And there’s a very high chance that the problems one reader in your audience struggles with are shared by many.

Suddenly, your readers will begin thinking, “How did she know I have this problem and needed a way to solve it?”

If you haven’t yet, reach out to a few of your friendliest readers and try to book a 30-minute call to talk 1:1 with them.

Keep it casual.

Tell them it helps you get to know your readers and understand how you can improve your newsletter.

Ask them questions and let them tell you their stories.

Then, internalize what they’ve told you and use it to fuel your upcoming issues.

Get to know as many as you can.

Not only by name, but by what they need that you can provide.

Ashley Guttuso  

Newsletter Tips





Are You Retaining Subscribers?

Retaining subscribers has become a growing challenge for publishers. This week’s Publishing Insights examine strategies, tactics, and even incentives publishers are implementing to hold onto what they have.

  • Personalization is not new, but publishers are finding new ways to use it to convert and retain subscribers. Sara Guaglione explains how legacy publishers are adding personalized sections on their homepages here.
  • In this Toolkits article, Jack Marshall explains how subscriber models are in a shakeup, and publishers are having to face the facts about what it means for their products and approach.
  • Publishers are having a hard time maintaining early subscriber growth numbers. Simon Owen looks at possible causes and effects in his newsletter.
  • In this issue of The Rebooting, Brian Morrissey explains how publishers need to change the way they signal premium value.
  • To increase subscriptions to digital news, Canada offered a tax credit. This Nieman Lab article by Sarah Scire evaluates how it’s going.

Money Matters

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How To Customize Your Publication Site’s Top Navigation Menu

Hey, everyone. Seth with Curated Success here.

With Curated, your newsletter has a publication site (aka website) where visitors and potential subscribers can read your past issues and subscribe to your newsletter. You can customize your publication site to fit your brand image, including which top navigation links to display.

By default, these links allow visitors to

  • See your latest issue
  • View your newsletter’s archives
  • Visit your sponsorship page

You can control which of these links are shown on your publication site by going to your publication’s settings, scrolling down to the Hosting, Subscriptions and Publishing section, selecting “Web,” and toggling the individual links on/off in the Navigation Menu section.

You also have the option to add a custom link to your top navigation menu in the Extra Menu Option section (same settings page).

These links allow visitors to explore more of your content and learn more about your newsletter.

If you have any questions about your publication’s top navigation menu, let me know!


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


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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