I recently wrote a blog post about getting personal in your newsletters and it looks like my viewpoint is not universal. Janet Falk is clearly not a fan of the personal approach to newsletters. And that’s okay. But since Ilise asked me to respond, I will.
Let’s dive into Janet’s post…
Janet Falk: “An accomplished newsletter writer will remain focused on the reader and how the content will ultimately help the subscriber in one of these ways: SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY or MAKE MORE MONEY.”
Me: Ugh. I spent too long in Corporate America talking business-jargon-mumbo-jumbo. One of the reasons I became self-employed is so I can bring my passion and even (gosh, no!) my personality to what I do every day. I don’t care about being an accomplished newsletter writer. I care about connecting.
Janet Falk: “Let’s not kid ourselves. Give subscribers insightful ideas, actionable tactics and, above all, respect for their valuable time. In return, they will continue to open, read and forward informative newsletters.”
Me: I think respecting my readers’ valuable time means giving them something authentic. Not filling their inbox with actionable tips and buzzwords they’ve heard a million times. Lots of people are capable. Not as many are kind, genuine, caring humans. Part of the reason I think clients like me is because I genuinely care. Caring doesn’t come from a place of actionable tactics.
Janet Falk: “As in most business communication, newsletters are not about ME the consultant or WE the company. They are about YOU, where YOU is the reader, whether a current customer, referral source or prospective client.”
Me: I agree. But sometimes, for it to be about the reader, it’s about giving that reader a comfort level—with me. I am the person behind this business. It’s ME who helps clients pinpoint their unique brand voices. It’s ME they share openly with.
Janet Falk: “Now, why would anyone jeopardize that relationship by offering material a reader may find irrelevant, leading to a delete or unsubscribe?”
Me: I’m not afraid of an unsubscribe. It simply means that the un-subscriber doesn’t need or connect with what I offer. I’m writing for those who do. I’m not jeopardizing relationships; I’m building them.
I’m not saying everyone should write personal newsletters. Simply that everyone should be unafraid to be true to themselves and their clients.
I don’t think every business should write about dogs, hummingbirds and Elvis’s hair—but being open is part of who I am and it’s part of my work. Believe it or not, writing copy and exploring the inner-workings of someone’s business, passion and positioning is very personal.
If we’re all just people with eyes and brains and skills, what differentiates us? The quality of our work, yes. Our achievements, sure. But also who we are. Since my ideal clients are people and businesses who want to share their personalities, it’s only fair they get to know mine. Most of my clients embarked on their businesses to bring their passion into the world—whether it’s through design, yoga, technology, etc. They want to work with a human, not a robot.
Ultimately, if we work together, my clients have to spend time on the phone with me. They have to feel comfortable sharing, exploring and discussing a topic which can be a place of insecurities—their businesses. It’s only fair they know I use a dust buster to collect spiders.
I don’t write these newsletters because of some meticulously-planned strategy to acquire new clients. I do it because it feels right.
When it comes to how I run my business, as far as deadlines, invoicing, estimates and revisions—I’m very professional. Personality doesn’t take away from professionalism. I wonder if that’s what people are afraid of. Personality is just the who that comes with the what, where, when and why.
Maybe some audiences want actionable tactics.
My audience wants to feel comfortable.
I do my best work with people who say when they hire me, “I already feel like I know you from reading your newsletters.” With a comfort level already established, we create stronger outcomes.
My newsletter opens dialogues and I love getting-to-know people.
One of my favorite responses is, “This made me smile/laugh!” What’s better than bringing a laugh or smile to someone’s day? That makes me smile. I love running my own business. There really are no rules unless I make them myself. And doing stuff that makes me smile is one of my rules.
Alas, Janet will keep doing what works for her.
I will keep doing what works for me.
And you should do what works for you.
Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).
*Get personal photo, courtesy, Shutterstock.