Every week, I get emails that start, “I think your newsletter readers would be interested in…”
Let me stop you right there. That’s not how this works.
I don’t send out a list of 10 things I think my readers would find interesting. I send out a list of 10 things I find interesting that I think my readers would find interesting, too.
It might not sound like a big difference, but it is. I could easily fill a newsletter with stuff I think people would like, stuff that would get clicks, etc.
But that is not what I do — in the newsletter, in my books, or on this blog.
I have always lead, first, with what I find interesting and/or helpful, and I assume, if I write about it well enough, the people who find me and my work interesting/helpful might find it interesting/helpful, too.
This is the point of The “So What?” Test in Show Your Work!
So, if you were compelled to pitch me something for the newsletter (which I don’t, by the way, necessarily recommend), the right way to do it would be to share something you think I would like, as in, “I thought you might find this interesting…”
Because people often ask me, maybe now would be a good time to briefly explain how I put the newsletter together:
First off, I don’t have an assistant. It’s just me and my computer in the garage.
I set aside an hour (or two) every Thursday to work on it.
I open up the template I use in Mailchimp, and I’ll usually start by adding an image at the top (probably pulled from my Instagram), which will suggest a subject line.
Then I start with a blank list of ten:
And I fill it.
First, I check this blog and see if there’s anything that I think is worth linking to. (Because I blog every day, there’s usually something, and often 3-5 things, but sometimes not. For example, my post about sausages will not, I’m afraid, make it in the newsletter.)
Then, I’ll check my logbook for any music, movies, or books, etc.
Then, I’ll go back through my Twitter feed, looking for interesting articles, etc.
If I have any big news to share or speaking dates coming up, that gets the #1 or #10 spot, depending.
If it was a slow week, I might go through my Instapaper to see if I faved anything.
And that’s it, really. I’ll send a test email, check links, and schedule it for Friday morning.
People ask how I’m able to do this week after week, and it’s really just about:
- A scheduled time & a repeatable format (simple list of 10)
- A system of sharing, keeping track of, and revisiting stuff I come across throughout the week (flow -> stock)
- Sending out a newsletter I’d actually read, full of things I’m genuinely interested in (write what you want to read)
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