I’m blaming all bad newsletters on Anthropologie.
Well, not Anthropologie, per se, but retail brands in general.
For like 94% of us, retailers (like Anthro) were the first types of brands to sneak their way into our inboxes.
We happily handed over our new AOL or YAHOO or HOTMAIL (lol my parents still rock hotmails, and I love that for them) email addresses in exchange for 10% off our purchase.
Then we did the merry dance of either…
? Archiving every email from that brand immediately when we weren’t interested OR…
? Checking every single new message for the possibility of a restock, sale, or new inventory
We wanted one thing, and one thing only – NEWS.
We still don’t really care about the letter part of newsletter. We aren’t there for the CEO. We’re there for the PRODUCT.
But then this happened…
I’m not a Kardashian fan, but I must admit Kris’ personal branding prowess
When personal brands became a thing, which apparently was a phrase first used when Tom Peters published his 1997 article “The Brand Called You” in Fast Company magazine, we simply followed the suit of retailer newsletters.
It went something like this.
We made our free Mailchimp ? account, saw some beautiful (or not so beautiful depending on how long you’ve been an entrepreneur) templates designed for product-based businesses, and thought YEP. THIS IS IT.
If it sounds like I’m speaking from experience, it’s because I am^^^.
We completely forgot that as solopreneurs offering service-based businesses…WE are the main attraction, the entrée, and the reason many of our clients work with us in the first place.
For your audience, the letter part of the “newsletter” is what matters. They’re here to learn from you. Your thought leadership. Your ideas. Your expertise.
And, honestly, you’ve probably been depriving them.
Bottom line: it’s easy and fun to lean more into the letter half of newsletter, because the letter is what comes from YOU.
Here’s a look at how I would help you uplevel your
newsletter if I was working on your brand…
✖ INSTEAD OF: Sending an email about a course launch and details
✔ DO THIS: Share the moment or story that inspired this course and the specific content within it
✖ INSTEAD OF: Sharing books, podcasts, or resources
✔ TRY THIS: Share your analysis, takeaway, or reason behind using the resource
✖ INSTEAD OF: Sharing common quotes or widespread thoughts your audience already buys into
✔ TRY THIS: Explore a counterview, share a hot take, or explain something you disagree with in your industry
✖ INSTEAD OF: Always sitting in the seat of the professional educator
✔ TRY THIS: Let your creativity and storytelling skills shine and don’t be afraid to admit some of your more human tendencies too
I know email marketing isn’t the ~most exciting~ channel. It may have almost a 40:1 ROI ? but for a lot of solopreneurs, it’s still an afterthought.
Now is a great time to start building your relationship with your email besties, since most people are still laser-focused on social media only. And by the way…
Your newsletters don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) look like mine. In fact, when I ghostwrite content for clients, their emails look and sound nothing like mine. Yours should sound like you.
If you don’t know what you sound like, these are some great (and fun!) questions to help you get a feel for your own voice.
?Imagine your personal brand is a travel destination. What kind of experiences and emotions would people have when they visit?
?What kind of TV show or movie character do you relate to the most?
?What kind of humor do you enjoy the most and why?
?What kind of visuals and aesthetics do you associate with your personal brand?
Then use your own words to describe these things, and voilà – you start to get a feel for your own voice!
My answers would be:
- Southern Spain or a Midwest Lake! Because I want to create a community that feels approachable, fun, but also practical. Oh, and has great food.
- OK this one was really hard, and I even took a few Buzzfeed quizzes, but didn’t feel like they nailed it. I want to say Hermione Granger because I love her…but it doesn’t feel like a total fit.
- Witty, quick humor, because I appreciate intellect and I love when raw, confident honesty surprises me.
- I use a lot of warm-toned naturals in my brand because I like having a warm, grounded tone and keeping things simple.
Xo, Rachel Jeffries Murphy