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At the start of 2020, I decided I’d get more consistent with my content creation. I figured writing one email a week would be a great place to start. I’d be able to practice a creative craft and stretch my writing muscles.
“Perfect,” I’d thought, because my real goal was to complete the first draft of a book by the time summer rolled around. Obviously, that didn’t happen with 2020 throwing more than a few curveballs into my schedule, like canceling my writing retreat three times. 😅
Despite my plans getting derailed, I tried my best to keep up with my intention of writing weekly.
By the time fall rolled around, though, I started to feel like I hadn’t sent an email in forever. Remote schooling (plus purchasing and DIY remodeling a house at the same time) meant emails were quickly becoming the lowest priority on my list.
On top of that, we ramped up our podcast, Pixie Dust & Profits, for Season 3, releasing weekly episodes rather than following the every-other-week schedule we had done for the prior two seasons.
In my line of work, metrics are everything though, so I spent a few minutes counting in ActiveCampaign*, and the results are in:
- 19 emails for my consulting business
- 33 emails for my podcast, Pixie Dust & Profits
Phew, that adds up to a whopping 51 newsletters!
I was pretty shocked, to say the least, and it was a great reminder that even when things feel off or shifted beyond your original plan, you can still be making progress without even realizing it.
That’s why you should always track the important numbers in your business… and I just may be hosting a challenge in February to help you with just that! 😉
Now, without further ado, let’s get to the list of things I’ve learned in the last year of writing regular newsletters.
1. Writing every week really wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it would be.
It seemed like a huge, daunting task at the start of the year. What was I going to say? What did my audience want to hear? Why was I even planning to do this?
But there were two pieces that calmed all the internal dialogue for me:
First, breaking down my objective as simply as possible.
I went into the year already writing emails every-other-week for my podcast, Pixie Dust & Profits, but since they were based on episodes, I had content to work with.
Writing for my consulting business seemed to be a much more daunting task. But when I broke it down to its most basic studs—I only had to write one email a week, nothing more, nothing less.
Second, knowing my end goal.
If you’ve run through my Kick Shiny Object Syndrome to the Curb workbook, you know that I stress the 6 key strategic pillars for scaling your business.
In my case, I wasn’t writing emails to increase sales and revenue (I was fully booked with 1:1 clients, after all) but to increase awareness of my expertise, why and when clients come to me for support, and how I can business owners like you sort through all the noise with sound business practices.
2. You don’t have to write all in one sitting.
I could write ahead, even if it was just a few sentences or an idea. There were plenty of times that I copy/pasted something I wrote in the spur of the moment on social media into a google doc to become the basis of an email sometime down the line.
I actually wrote the rough outline of the first 7 bullet points of this article in Q1 because I wanted to jot down my notes as it was happening in real-time. They changed slightly upon reflection, but it made completing this blog so much easier to have the ideas ready to flesh out!
3. Changing your surroundings can spark creativity.
Sometimes, I’d find myself in a place where I couldn’t do much of anything, so I’d open up the notes app on my phone and start typing up the first half of my weekly newsletter. No words would come to me as I sat at the computer screen but waiting in line to return an item? I’d spend it furiously typing away about the importance of good customer service. 😉
4. Writing gets easier.
At the start, I felt like it took me ages to write an email… but as time went on, I got faster and faster. Writing skills are a muscle that I hadn’t been exercising as much as I should have been, and once unleashed, the words would fly.
5. It doesn’t matter if your email list is small.
I started the year with 70 people on my list who had been built up over 4 years of barely ever promoting my list. Many of them had attended an in-person workshop with me and were simply being kind to stay subscribed. 🤭
Over the last 12 months, though, I’ve gained 30 active subscribers, a 40% increase just by writing and sharing (and repurposing, see #9) wayyy more often than I was in the previous year.
6. Getting feedback from your readers is basically the best.
I’d never had as many new faces in my inbox as when I’d send a new email. Knowing that someone actually read my email but also found it helpful enough to hit the reply button was an instant mood booster. Plus, it really solidified that the time I was spending on writing was directly increasing my visibility.
7. Creating a plan, even if I didn’t always follow it, helped tremendously.
As an idea generator, I often have ideas, so I created an Airtable that allowed me to capture them all as they popped into my head. I could come back to them later when I was ready to write, and I could also see a log of previous newsletters marked as written and sent—a huge push to keep the momentum going.
8. Creating a repeatable framework saved so much time.
Breaking my emails down into three sections made them so much easier to write. I knew I’d have a story of some sort, a business lesson, and a tip or takeaway in the footer.
Sometimes I’d start writing my email with the story, sometimes I’d start with the business lesson I wanted to share, and other times, I simply had the footer ready to go, because I needed to start somewhere. This also had the bonus that readers knew exactly what to expect from my emails.
9. Reuse and repurpose your best work.
There were times that I’d write something that needed to be heard by a wider audience than my email list… so I’d take what I sent to my newsletter and deliver it as an Instagram Story video or in a caption to my next post.
My podcast always starts as an audio recording that turns into an email, show notes, social posts, and related blog content! If you have a preferred format for creating content, make that piece front and center and repurpose it for your other channels.
10. It’s OK to ask for help.
When remote school started in September, I quickly began to struggle to keep up with all the demands for my time. I felt like I was falling short in my business, in my campaigning for local elections, and definitely with my family.
Something had to give, and I’m fortunate in that I’ve worked with so many professionals in this industry over the last 5 years.
I turned to Uncanny Content to help me create a content strategy for the next quarter because I was in such a do-do-do mode that, while I could write, I couldn’t get into my bigger vision brain.
We also hired a Marketing Assistant for the podcast to publish our recordings, create our show notes, and even get our emails started so I could get straight to work editing or adding more to the story, rather than beginning from complete scratch.
I hope these little pieces of insight help motivate you with your own reach and visibility goals. It’s so easy, especially as a back-office service provider, to do this work for your clients and overlook it for yourself.