I was a guest on a podcast and the host asked whether I would ever charge a fee to my newsletter subscribers.
My answer was an immediate “No.”
Sure, I might generate some revenue. But I’d lose 90% (or more) of you as a result.
I’m not in the “revenue-generating content business.”
I’m in the “share written content far and wide for free so that some of those people will eventually hire me or tell others about me business.”
It’s tempting to try and monetize every interaction.
But you have to be careful that you’re not stepping on your primary business in the process.
They were sent individually from friends/colleagues alerting me to an email they had each received with the subject line: “Why I love newsletters.”
The email had come from the newsletter editor of The Atlantic, letting its magazine readers know about nine different newsletters that it offered.
Since newsletters are my specialty, it occurred to each of these people to get in touch.
Being associated with a particular thing/solution/audience is an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
It amounts to a lot more than just having something to say when people ask what you do for a living.
You become a magnet for that small slice of professional services real estate.
The result? The people you know (and even many that you don’t) are constantly sending information/leads/clients your way.
I believe this is what is known as “marketing.”
It was from a company in San Diego, looking for help with the technical aspects of setting up a private email server.
I don’t do that kind of thing.
But… I was pretty sure I could point them in the right direction. So I called back.
Total time on the call? Five minutes.
There are two reasons this kind of thing is worth doing:
Reason #1. It’s nice.
If someone stopped you on the street and asked for directions, you’d help. This is just the phone version of the same kind of thing.
Reason #2. It’s marketing.
Yes, the odds of this guy ever talking about me, referring me, or hiring me are slim.
But the odds of any relationship-building interaction leading to anything of tangible value are slim.
So just do as many as you can – to improve the odds.
It’s a nice thing to do, it’s very quick, and you never know where it might lead.
The “From” line was: “we-deserve-better@a”
The “Subject” line was: “Michael, you pay 3X as much for your meds than someone”
There was more to both, but that was all that showed up in my inbox.
I went to click the “spam” button and accidentally opened it.
It was an email from AARP, asking me to support them in their quest to lower drug prices.
Here’s the thing…
If you send an email and I don’t know it’s from you I may delete it. So don’t put your email address in the From field, put your name. (My emails say Michael Katz | Blue Penguin)
If the subject line sounds spammy (like that one) and especially if I don’t recognize the name, I’m also likely to delete it.
You can send the best email on Earth (well, second best – this one is the best). But if I don’t open it, it’s game over.
Do I know more now about parenting than I did at the start?
Did I learn as much about parenting in year 29 as I did in year 1?
No way. Not even close.
The problem with becoming competent (let alone deciding you are an expert) is that the pressure to learn starts to evaporate.
Once we are “good enough,” well, that’s good enough.
I can’t remember the last time I bothered to read a parenting article, let alone an entire book, something I did all the time “back in the day.”
Whether having kids or building a business, it’s easy to stop learning and just keep doing the same old thing.
Are you still working on getting better?
P.S. Happy birthday Evan!