My thoughts on newsletters (yes, I have a strong opinion).

Below ‘conversation’ was originally posted by The Middle Finger Project.

A person, going into business for themselves for the first time: How can I get found?

The world: Start a newsletter!

Person: What, like a weekly bulletin?

The world: No, like a newsletter.

Person: So, like, write a bunch of updates about me, me, and me?

The world: Yeah! A newsletter!

Person: Every week?

The world: Yeah! Content is king!

Person: And then ask customers to actually request to receive something I wrote all about me, me and me?

The world: Yeah! Opt-in!

Person: But will anybody care to read something all about me, me and me?

The world: Um…yeah, it’s a NEWSLETTER, DUH.

Person: But who even reads those?

The world: Everybody.

Person: You mean nobody?

The world: No, we mean everybody.

Person: Half the time I can’t even get my husband to listen to me–why will anybody else?!

The world: You have to create epic content!

Person: Epilepsy?

The world: EPICCCCCC CONTENNNNNTTTTTTTT!

Person: What does that even mean?

The world: You really need to invest in yourself.

Person: How do I do that?

The world: Sign up for an online class.

Person: How do I do that?

The world: Opt in for somebody’s newsletter.

Person: What if I don’t want to opt in for anybody’s newsletter?

The world: You probably don’t have the entrepreneur mindset.

Person: What’s the entrepreneur mindset?

The world: Do what everyone else is doing and then call yourself an entrepreneur.

Person: That explains a lot.

The world: It’s all about the mindset!

Person: I thought it was all about the newsletter?

The world: Yeah I’m a little confused myself; I’m waiting to see what everybody else decides and then I’ll let you know.”

this gif

For a long time, I’ve been hearing/reading/absorbing that I need to start a newsletter.  Should I want to be successful, I am already too late to the game.  That I need not hundreds, but thousands of followers – specifically in the form of a newsletter.  Mail Chimp.  Automated responses.  Sign ups.  Opt in.  Facebook Ads.

You want to know something?  All these words stress me out. I don’t know about you, but my average junk e-mail allowance is somewhere between 50-70 per day.  Many of those are companies I once bought from…five years ago still send me stuff.  I rarely (if ever) sign up for newsletters.  Why?  Because I have plenty of digital clutter.  If I want to find something, I know where it is.  I have enough distractions without someone else’s stuff adding to the mix.

Therein lies the question.

If I hate digital clutter so much (seriously, go try Unroll me, if you want to do something productive today), why would I hypocritically create more?  I love my blog, but is the content so great that thousands of people should subscribe?  No, it’s not and maybe I should look into that. In all honesty, the amount of effort it would take to create and coordinate extra content versus the few extra sales it would add has not reached a tipping point where I see the value.  Links to my books are all over my blog.  I mention my books every couple of posts (hopefully not too many to be obnoxious).  I feel like that is enough.

As I struggle to finish editing my current manuscript, worry about not starting or working on another book, try and launch some other projects I’m interested in and balance the other parts of my life, I don’t have enough time to maintain a newsletter.

‘The stresses of maintaining a newsletter’ – does it get more first world problems than this?

giphy
This is one of the gifs you get when typing ‘newsletter’ into Giphy. The more you know.

How about you gentle reader?  Can you direct me to a well done newsletter?  Is there one you find a lot of value in?  Would you like to see one from me?

4 thoughts on “My thoughts on newsletters (yes, I have a strong opinion).

  1. From your digital marketing specialist: hell no to newsletters. Unless you can create something truly unique and valuable (check out The Skimm, the only one I actually read on a regular basis) it is just as you described – digital clutter. Your efforts would be much better off in picking a platform that’s more visual (the big “ugh” for writers, but so necessary) and shows up automatically in peoples’ newsfeeds once they “opt in,” and creating shorter, tighter bits of content rolling out on a daily or 3x weekly basis. Facebook is a good one, but more and more writers are gravitating towards Instagram. And – let me tell you – people actually read those long-ass Instagram captions. We love the visual, and if we love it enough, we’ll love your captions too and maybe even go visit that “link in bio” that you’ll change up everyday. This also gives you an opportunity to use your blog a bit more because you can write whatever content you’d stick in a newsletter and bitly link it with a cool pic in Instagram. Note – Instagram won’t let you hyperlink in a caption, which is why people stick those in their bios. Sorry if this is remedial, but sometimes I start talking comm stuff and I sometimes receive blank stares.

    Newsletters are a ridiculous amount of work. Pick one platform and focus your efforts on that. If you get crazy, you can have that one platform post through to another (Instagram >> Facebook, or Facebook >> Twitter) but create a content schedule for the first 3-4 months, stick to it, and watch it grow. MUCH easier 🙂

    1. Thank you for this! I was just talking with a writer friend last night about the power of IG. As of this week, I’m going to put more of an effort to put some of my ‘platform’ there — I have a lot of fun quotes I made using Canva that would be a great fit. My only question at the moment is whether or not to create multiple accounts (ugh!). With YA marching stuff, Ann Benjamin, A to Za’atar and plain old Courtney Brandt, there is a lot going on. #myaestheticisoutofcontrol

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