Behind-the-scenes advice for busy solo professionals courtesy of Michael Katz, Blue Penguin Development

read an article about email newsletters.

It said that I needed a “strong open rate.”

That’s only sort of true.

Open rate is a calculation: Emails opened divided by emails sent.

Which means that if you want to, for example, drastically raise your open rate, just delete anyone who hasn’t opened your newsletter in the past six months.

If you cut the denominator down, the open rate goes up, even if no additional people are reading it.

Of course, what we really care about are readers, not rates. (Actually, what we really care about are engaged readers, but that’s a topic for another day).

So try this: Start paying attention to the raw number of opens you’re getting each time you publish.

At least then you’re focused on the number of people who are taking in your message, not a stat which, in and of itself, doesn’t really mean anything.