Public or Private?

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Public or Private?

I don’t normally include an entire newsletter in a blog post, because I want you to subscribe to the newsletter for its exclusive content. But I’m making an exception now, because I want your input on this matter. So enjoy!

This week I'm going to ask you to help me decide the direction of this newsletter. It's my newsletter, of course, and if I don't write it, it doesn't go out – so from that point of view, the only person who gets to decide that is me. But a newsletter is of no use without a community. It's a very young newsletter, only 11 issues old, so maybe it is too early to be having this conversation. But one of the responses I got to the Coffee Challenge newsletter was this.

I originally assumed that this email was an RSS feed from a blog post, so I trucked on over to your site to post my comments there.  But alas, it appears this wasn't recycled content from your blog. You actually crafted this letter to your subscribers.  I have mixed feeling about this.  On one hand, heck yeah! You actually crafted this letter to your subscribers completely apart from your blog.  Good on ya!  On the other hand… I want to comment publicly on this. I want to share it.  I want to… well… I dunno… I guess I just want it out there. Which leads me to wonder about whether I actually like the strategy or not.  

I shared this question with Chris Brogan, who was kind enough to respond to me:

The question, as always, is what you want to see happen. In my model, the newsletter is the gold. The blog is for commoners. In my world, the newsletter leads to sales. The blog is more of a lead generation tool.  But that's my model.  What's your goal?

Of course, Chris's newsletter has thousands of subscribers now, but he didn't start off that way. He has a podcast and a Facebook group as well as a blog, which all funnel into the newsletter. The newsletter allows him to communicate directly with his community, and if you hit reply on it, Chris himself will respond, as you see above. It is an incredible resource not only for him, but for lucky subscribers like me who can have the benefit of his thoughts at the touch of a key. When he does want to sell something (usually some great deal on his courses, exclusively for his subscribers), he makes it very clear – usually with the headline "Selly Sell Sell" or something like that. He keeps those carefully spaced out, because the main goal of the newsletter is to build the community that may eventually take advantage of those deals.

So what is my goal with this newsletter? I am a member of many communities, both online and off. I love to share my thoughts, my development and yes, my vulnerabilities and mistakes as well, with people who can relate and respond, and I love it even more if I can help someone along the way. That particular thrill is really hard to beat. I do hope that eventually the value I provide would translate into helping support my family with my online activity, following Chris's "Selly Sell" model. Eventually.

Most of all, as I travel from one stage to the next (WordPress to the Lizard Brain to the Coffee Challenge is just one example), I desire your company on the road. I am, it would appear, first and foremost a writer in search of an engaged audience, an audience that finds value in interacting with me. By choosing to subscribe to my newsletter, you are giving me the privilege of access to your Inbox. I do not take this gift lightly, and I thank you. 

So what is in it for you? I hope that you chose to subscribe to this newsletter because you find what I have to say entertaining or possibly even valuable. As the newsletter community grows, I would like it be less about me and more about you, my reader, and the community we are  building together. I do need your feedback to do that, so we can grow together.

As an example, I'm in the middle of drafting the first of a series of posts about network marketing, which is the latest thing I've decided to learn about. Have no fear if you do not find this subject interesting – you know I can't stick with one topic in perpetuity. If you don't like this one, send me suggestions. But this is what I'm planning to do for now.

I am a big fan of David Wood, who espouses a community-based approach that really, to my mind, meshes beautifully with the lessons taught by Chris and by my wonderful coach, Berni Xiong.  I plan to look at why network marketing is so maligned, what people do wrong and why (a great source for that is Michael O'Neal, who works with David Wood) and some suggestions I've found that might lead to doing it right. Doing it right being defined as doing well and improving people's lives with a truly useful product without being obnoxious or pushy. I'm also going to spend some time on the concept of The Law of Attraction, trying to separate possible reality from gobbledygook (there is an amazing amount of the latter written on the subject!).

I am having a serious debate with myself about where those posts should go. Should I put them on the blog and share them with the world, as my friend J urges me to do above? Or should I keep them for you, my special newsletter community? Have no fear, I will not inundate you with sales pitches. In fact, I do not intend to talk about my own product in this series at all. If you want to know about it, you'll have to ask me or wait for a "Selly Sell".

I'm going to put the introductory post on the blog, but depending on your responses I may take it to the newsletter later. It should be an interesting conversation, I hope, and valuable both to you and to me. Do please participate!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

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2 Responses to “Public or Private?”

  1. Peter Wright Says:

    Good questions Hadass, I am also a Chris Brogan follower and like the way he has structured his system.

    Problem is, even with Google reader, it took a conscious effort to read posts on the many blogs I followed.

    In preparation for Google Readers demise, I started subscribing to more blogs by email (that’s how I came to read this post).

    I also subscribe to some newsletters without subscribing to that publishers blog.

    Here’s two tactics I use to try and satisfy both types of subscribers.

    I provide links in my newsletter to relevant posts on my blog.

    I use the Aweber “Blog Broadcast” function to email a bulletin of the 5 most recent blog posts to my newsletter subscriber list. I only publish 2 or 3 posts a week so that email only goes out every 2nd or 3rd week. I am sure MailChimp would have a similar facility.

    As for content, the old adage “You can’t please all the people all the time” holds true.

    I follow some blogs that are general, topics all over the landscape and others more tightly focused. I like and dislike some of both types.

    Yours, I follow because I enjoy your writing, find your posts interesting even if I might disagree with some of your opinions and generally learn something.

    I have had too many less than spectacular experiences with both Network Marketing and Internet Marketing Systems to want to read too much more about either.

    Not that topics on those subjects would encourage me to unsubscribe, unless they became the sole focus of your blog for an extended period.

    It will be interesting to read more of your readers’ comments on those topics.

    Perhaps one of your secrets for success is that “you can’t stick with one topic in perpetuity”.

    Good luck.
    Peter Wright recently posted…The link between exercise and energyMy Profile

  2. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Thanks, Peter! I love your long, thoughtful comments, and I really appreciate the time you take to think about the questions I pose, and give an honest answer. Especially when we don’t agree, because who learns anything in the echo chamber? Sometimes you convince me and sometimes you don’t, and that’s fine.

    I literally laughed out loud this morning (I was reading your comment while walking, and I got some very odd looks!) when I read waht you said about my inability to stick with one topic being one of my secrets to success. I very much hope you are right, because that is one thing that is unlikely to change! I am very fortunate to have readers such as yourself, who enjoy (mostly) the broad spectrum of topics I tend to tackle. Although, to be fair, as my coach pointed out, most of them have to do with health and/or learning, so it’s not completely random. If I start posting about model cars or something you will know for sure that I’ve gone completely into left field.

    As to network marketing, we’ll just wait and see. Maybe it will be a little different from what you’ve seen before. Maybe not. Do you follow David Wood at all?

    Thanks again for your friendship!

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