I'm killing my email newsletter and resurrecting it as something I can be proud of. Why am I doing this? Because I can't think of an unselfish reason not to do it.
Emailing you whenever I want helps me. It gets me in your inbox more often, allows me to express myself more frequently, and lets me sell you things. None of those are necessarily bad reasons, but they aren't very compelling, are they?
So I'm changing everything. And here are my promises to you:
- I will respect your permission and try to share useful content. Once a week, I'll send a newsletter of the latest from me. And whenever I have really big news (like a new course, free webinar, a book), I'll send more than one weekly email.
- I will spend an entire week writing my best content and deliver it to you every Monday along with other useful links and resources. My goal will be fewer, better messages.
- I will give my best to the community and try to give more than I take as much as possible.
All of this is subject to change, of course, but I promise to tell you before I make any changes. I'm going to continue to blog when I have something to say (probably 2-3 times per week), but I'm also going to spend more time writing for other blogs and magazines, as that was how I got my start.
Getting back to my roots
This really goes back to my roots of blogging. I launched this blog, creating content for it every day for an entire year. Halfway through the first year, I started an email list. Since I was already writing seven blog posts a week, I wondered what value I could add to a newsletter.
So every Sunday morning, I'd wake up early and write an original thought on writing, influence, or creativity that I'd share with the tribe. People loved it. But as I became a dad and life got busier (and I got better about boundaries on the weekend), I decided to streamline everything. I stopped blogging as much and started sending an email newsletter with the blog post to everyone.
Suddenly, some weekly subscribers were getting three emails per week. I did this, quite frankly, because I had no margin to write a newsletter on a Sunday morning. Since so many wanted links to my newsletters, it just made sense to blog it.
But the Internet changed, and people are now busier than ever. And unless you're a news site (or Seth Godin), it's hard to get away with sending an email to your list every day. Of course, some people are doing this, and that's fine. I've heard quite clearly from my readers than anything more than twice a week sounds like noise.
So I'm listening and taking action.
Content isn't king (the audience is)
When I tested this idea with some readers on Twitter just to see what they thought, I didn't hear any objections. There was nobody saying, “I want you to send me more email.” Some were saying twice a week and some said once, but nobody said, “You're sending me three emails, but I'd love eight.”
Nobody. That spoke to me.
So I decided to change everything, because I couldn't find a good reason to not at least try it. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. What if sending fewer emails gave me more time to create higher quality content? What if it allowed me to connect at a deeper level with my tribe? What if this bought me some margin to work on my next book?
Giving myself permission to break this unspoken rule started to excite me. And in that respect, I think it's a win/win. But honestly, even if it was just a win for you, the reader, that's reason enough to do it. Often, I think marketers get selfish about the way they interface with their audience, without acknowledging that they are in this very position because of their audience. That seems wrong.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not a doormat, and I do have boundaries. I can't promise I'll reply to every email or read every 50,000-word manuscript people send me. But I got into a bad habit of making decisions without first considering what effect they would have on my audience.
Now, I'm trying to get back to the center.
Three core values of this community
Along those lines, I've chosen three core values that will guide this blog and community moving forward. They are:
- Connection over interruption. Every time I send an email or post content, I'll ask myself, “Do I have the right to share this? Does this help connect readers with something that helps them?” If not, I won't share it.
- Quality over frequency. Instead of running my mouth every time I have something to say, I pledge to only publish my best work when it is both interesting and helpful.
- Impact over profit. In any business, there are always more opportunities to maximize profit. But that's never been very motivating to me. So I'm recalibrating my business to focus more on the people that run it (i.e. my team) and make it possible to continue (the community, i.e. you).
Personally, I plan to model these myself. But I hope that you, as a member of this community, will consider joining me. I'm excited about the opportunities to invest more time into creating video content, writing elsewhere, and doing other fun things.
If this resonates, maybe you should consider changing something that you thought could never change. This isn't just a nice idea. It's a smarter way to market your work. I'm convinced of it. And maybe it's a smart move for you, too, if you're in the business of building an audience.
My hypothesis is this will increase open rates, increase trust with readers, and decrease the amount unsubscribes. But those reasons aside, it feels like I'm taking better care of my community, which is a reward in itself.
Free resources and giveaways
- If you haven't downloaded my eBook, “The Beginner’s Guide to Building an Audience” you should get it. It will get you started on your journey of earning the attention your work deserves.
- This week, I'm giving away a Kindle HDX (thanks to BookGrabbr).
- If you're looking to get started with an email marketing platform, check out my guide to building an email list. I also recommend using Aweber to manage your email lists and contacts.
You can also listen to the audio version of this post or find it on iTunes.
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What change could you make to focus on building connection and community? Share in the comments.