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Sometimes, You Crash into Landscaping

Your readers don’t want more information. They don’t look to you for entertainment or “edutainment.” They’re not on your list for the party ;-) .

They’re subscribed to your list to get to know you. To see how you honor your commitments. To see if you’re aligned with what’s important to them. To “try out” working with you in an anonymous way.

How do I know this is true?

Easy. The sheer volume of information available today… Well, let’s just say it’s gone a tad beyond daunting. Even the most information-hungry info-junky has long ago been sated.

If your office looks even a smidgen like mine, there’s enough paper information to last you a *lifetime* (heck, there’s enough stuff in my printer tray to last me all week!).

So it’s not for lack of information that people have joined your list.

It’s likely not because they’re lonely or want more email, either ;-) .

People join your list because they’re interested in getting to know you better. They *think* you might be able to help them, and they’re examining whether or not that’s the case.

And that’s why there are only three things you *must* do in your newsletter:

  1. Be consistent. Do what you promise. Publish when you say you will. Don’t send ads when you’ve offered articles.
  2. Be yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be Chatty Kathy or share photos of your brilliant yellow Lab like I do. But you do need to be authentic in your newsletter–don’t take a stand you don’t believe in. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  3. Improve. You’ll falter, make mistakes, and just plain screw up. You’ll write articles that are absolute disasters, or grammatical marvels. You’ll annoy people you really didn’t want to annoy. And, over time, you’ll get progressively better. Make fewer mistakes. (Though, if you’re like me, those grammatical marvels may not diminish.)

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last year covering how to be yourself. And we’ve talked a lot about being consistent. Today, we’re going to look at #3.

Last week, I had a (very) minor accident in my truck. I was the only person involved (well, Izzy was involved too–he was riding in the back seat), and it was completely my fault (I backed into a bush at the beginning of my driveway). I had *never* hit anything before (nope, not even when I was first learning to drive).

And my first inclination was to be really frustrated with myself. After all, I’m no novice at driving ;-) . So, how ridiculous was it that I *hit* a bush?

It’ll be the same when you make mistakes in your newsletter. You’ll think to yourself, “Here I am, an established professional, smart, good at what I do, and I made *that* mistake?”

But, just like I learned I need to worry less about what *might* happen (which is why I hit the bush) when I’m driving, you’ll learn a lot from your mistake as well. And that’ll help you improve.

(Of course, you don’t always make a mistake while improving, but don’t let it bug you too much when you do.)

You’re going to *lose* subscribers. Accidentally skip issues. Write lousy articles. And then you’ll improve. And face entirely new problems. Like how to sculpt the landscaping so the one bush doesn’t look so lopsided.

Your challenge:

See if you can’t make one mistake in your newsletter today. (Don’t make a mistake deliberately–just keep track after you’ve published and see if you’ve made one.) If you *do* make a mistake, congratulations!

What Makes You Wonder About Newsletters?

This site is no longer active. Please visit us over at Thrive Your Tribe.

I’d like to hear from you–

what do you most want to know about company newsletters?

I’ll answer these questions in upcoming issues of Newsletters in Focus.

To post your question, scroll down to the bottom of the screen where it says “Leave a Reply.”

I’m looking forward to hearing your question!

Jessica's Signature

How to Respond to Your Readers When You’re Not Sure How to Respond to Your Readers

Last week, we talked about how to train your readers to be more responsive and I walked you through five steps to getting more reader feedback. Today we’re going to talk about what to do with the feedback once you get it.

First, let’s get one thing straight. You have to respond. That’s just a fact. If readers send you emails and you don’t reply, they’re unlikely to write you again.

Celebration Break!

Next week, we’ll dive right into talking about Joy as a newsletter component, but, first…

You have to experience it!

And that’s why I’m “assigning” you a Celebration today. Here’s what you need to do:

Your 2-Minute Pep Talk: Be Aware of Your Changes

We all have those friends who seemingly have the gift of hospitality–you can’t set an empty glass back on the table before it’s filled again, the room isn’t too hot nor too cold, and the food is always perfect.

And you may feel like I do–that there’s no way I could ever be that good at being aware of my guests’ needs.

Audio: Your Two-Minute Pep Talk

Audio for Your Two-Minute Pep Talk (running time, 3 minutes–because you’re a much faster reader than I am ;-) ). To download the file, simply right-click the link and select “Save Target As.” Or, you can use a great podcast program like iPodder which will keep track of all of your podcasts for you.

Download audio version of Your Two-Minute Pep Talk here.

Q & A: Readers Want to Read Between the Lines

I’ve mentioned before that I seldom watch the news on TV, so it was a bit out of the ordinary that I saw the coverage of the terrorist attacks in London last week. Several reporters mentioned the dramatic change–from being awarded the Olympics just the day before.

What does this have to do with newsletters and awareness? Just something we hadn’t yet discussed–that you need to be aware of what’s going on in your readers’ world. You don’t have to mention it, but you should be aware of it. That means keeping up to date on news stories that may impact your readers, knowing what’s happening within your industry, and keeping an eye on trends.

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July to our US readers! We’ll be back in your email boxes next Monday. In the meantime, keep sending in your questions about Awareness in your newsletter.


Your Handy-Dandy Detective Kit

As a second-grader, I was a huge fan of mysteries. For Christmas that year, I received a detective kit so I could go out and solve mysteries just like the characters in my favorite books.

With fingerprinting powder, a silly disguise, and code-breaking supplies. But, the part of the kit that was the most fun to play with was a selection of plastic pieces used to create composite pictures of “suspects.”

Using a wide variety of eyes, noses, mouths, face shapes, and hair styles, I could create pictures that looked similar to people I knew.

Last week, at the end of your challenge, you were left with handfuls of numbers. And, just like those facial features, the numbers may look like a bit of a jumble before you put them together into composites. (more…)

Audio: Your Handy-Dandy Detective Kit

Listen to Your Handy-Dandy Detective Kit by downloading the audio file. Simply right click and select “Save Target As” to start your download.

Approximate Listening Time: 3 Minutes

Audio: Your Handy-Dandy Detective Kit

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