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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!

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