There was a short window of time Tuesday when the wifi and the air conditioner were both working at our fixer-upper fishing camp.
Maybe 45 minutes?
During that moment, we didn’t realize we should appreciate it.
All we knew was that we were officially set up for me to work remotely.
And that Sal would begin staining the 31 9-foot wood ceiling planks we’d hauled out of a hardware store the night before.
We’d driven 2 hours that morning with boards bouncing dramatically between us because we’d had to stack them on the center console.
It was supposed to be the first of 4 days of a workcation while the girls are at their grandparents.
An escape to Walden Pond of sorts.
But a storm the week before had knocked out the wifi and Tuesday was the first day a technician could repair it.
We’d actually spent the weekend there with the girls and enjoyed an Internet-free holiday weekend with nice, cool AC.
The wifi repair felt like a triumph, but just as I began to work, I noticed the air felt… warm.
When we bought the place back in October, the inspection had shown the indoor unit (and “probably” the outdoor unit) would need to be replaced, so we’d negotiated and had the previous owner pay for a new indoor unit.
We’d theorized that if the outdoor unit needed to be replaced, we’d do it when the situation became dire.
Of course that moment was just as we started our little getaway.
But, that’s life, right?
And a very first world problem.
I’m super aware of that.
Bummer I have to go back to my regular house instead of spending a lovely time on the lake in an investment property.
But definitely not actually dire in the more severe sense of the word.
So… I’m sending this from my normal locale, but maybe the weekend was enough of a waterside retreat to draw out some Thoreau-esque truisms about newslettering:
If you’re having trouble with your newsletter concept, publishing at a regular cadence, or achieving a desired goal like signups or monetization, look for ways to simplify.
The solution is rarely to make things more complicated.
Cut a section.
Choose a format that is easier for you to create regularly.
Decide on one monetization goal and focus on one micro goal to hit to test viability.
And, above all, make 100% sure that you enjoy publishing.
If working on the newsletter feels more like a burden than a retreat, take a step back, fix what’s broken, and get back to the good part.
Should You Try Amplified Marketing?
Lindsay Tjepkema of Casted (a podcast and video marketing platform) wrote a Marketing Profs article about how content marketers should try Amplified Marketing as a way to escape the current pressure to produce more and more content.
In short, it’s a push to lean into interviewing experts your audience can learn from via podcasting and video creation (which is what Casted helps marketers do).
While I’m a fan of the premise of starting from expert conversations then repurposing and distributing content to your audience (I think of it as squeezing the content for all it can be worth), I’ve recently been challenged to consider that this approach has a weakness: positioning the experts you interview as experts with strong points of view instead of your brand.
While I support Amplification Marketing, I think the more evolved version is figuring out how your company can go beyond facilitating connections between your audience and experts to actually being the source of expert advice, or at least one of the voices in the mix.
Discovered via Social Media Today.
Is Paid Social Worth Your Marketing Budget?
Mary Keough just lit LinkedIn on fire with instructions on how to test to see if your audience is on social media (specifically LinkedIn and Facebook/Instagram) and can be targeted, specifically...
“If I had $1,000 to conduct a marketing experiment to prove the efficacy of paid social here’s what I’d do:”
Find 7 very detailed steps here.
Using Email To Grow Loyalty
“The likelihood of converting a sale from an existing loyal customer is 60-70% — but only 5-20% from a prospective customer.” — Altfeld
In this 45-minute YouTube video, the Zembula team breaks down how to drive loyalty revenue with emails.
Discovered via Really Good Emails.
Finding Magic In The Mundane
If you’ve subscribed to Opt In Weekly for a while, you know I’m big on being vulnerable and connecting with your audience. This sometimes means you need to be a good storyteller, but your stories don’t always have to be life-changing. Jay Acuzo explains how even mundane stories can be gripping here.
Discovered via For the Interested.
Balancing Curated And Original Content
Do you spend more time creating or curating? Jonathan Gandolf offers 4 strategies to help achieve balance:
- Meet your audience where they are
- Create Brand Rabbit Holes
- Focus on people not personas
- Forget B2B, we’re all type C
Learn what these mean here.
Issues & Possible Solutions
- Recently publishers gathered at Digiday’s Commerce Week to discuss how to best reach post-pandemic consumers. Sara Jerde compiled 5 key takeaways here.
- Struggling with retention? These 6 strategies from Richard E. Brown might help you to sustain your subscriber base.
- What font are you using for your newsletter (please don’t say papyrus)? Dávid Tvrdon explains how plain language and fonts affect readability here.
- In this WNIP article, Esther Kezia Thorpe shares how Tortoise, an “audio-first publisher,” is attracting new (younger) audiences with podcast subscriptions.
- Is “posh news for posh people” a viable funding model? Bron Maher shares a panel discussion on the topic here.
Who Should Sponsor Your Newsletter?
Authenticity matters in your content AND in your sponsorships. Justin Moore breaks down finding good-fit brands for sponsorships into these 3 steps:
- Do a “brands in your house” audit
- Identify brands your followers love
- Figure out which brands partner with other creators in your niche
Consider This Billing Cadence Shift
Running a paid newsletter? Should you transition to a 4-week billing cycle?
Jack Marshall explains how to transition and why you might want to (hint: you get to charge subscribers 13 times a year instead of 12) in this article.
Discovered via The Rebooting.
How To Add A Social Share Image For Your Newsletter That Looks Great Wherever It’s Shared
Did you know you can customize the image that’s shown when you (or your readers) share any link to your newsletter on a social platform?
In Curated, this is called a social share image and you can add one to your newsletter by going to your publication’s settings, clicking on Logo and Favicon, and uploading a Social Share Image.
Some social media platforms, like Twitter, crop social share images to a square shape, so here’s a few tips to make sure your newsletter’s social share image looks great everywhere it’s shared:
- The best image size is 1200x630 pixels, which is a landscape orientation and is big enough to not look pixelated.
- Use an image that will look good even if it’s cropped down to a square shape (imagine a center square in the rectangle).
- Keep the most important elements of the image in the center so that if it gets cropped it will still look good.
Above is an example of a social share image for the newsletter Opt In Weekly. The white dotted line indicates how it would look if it was cropped to a square.
If you have any questions about setting up your social share image, let me know!
Curated Crash Course Is Back Today At 4 PM Central
Curated Crash Course returns today at 4 PM CT!
As usual, the first 30 minutes include a tutorial on getting started with Curated followed by a Q&A session that begins at 4:30.
This is built to be a come-and-go Zoom call, so feel free to hop in whenever you can and leave when you have to.
If you have any questions about Curated or newsletters, we created a Google Form where you can submit 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.
New to Curated? Make a copy of this Getting Started with Curated Checklist to help launch your newsletter (public, private, or paid).
Opt In Challenge
Could A Little Love Increase Your Subscription Renewals?
This LinkedIn newsletter issue by Andy Griffiths addresses the concept of creating softer paywalls, including requiring newsletter signups to access walled content. He then encourages publishers to offer a “love gift” to subscribers to increase renewals.
Your Opt In Challenge this week is to read through his ideas and figure out what sort of “love gift” you might offer.