Why I Bother to Write a Newsletter

Every Friday at noon I email a newsletter I’ve titled the “Friday 4.”

In it, I share a quick link to my own weekly blogging efforts, and the links to four pieces of content that caught my eye during the week prior. All of the material at least loosely impacts the way that I think about (and actually go about) running my business, and I share two to four sentences explaining why and how. While the concepts are not my own, the spin I put on the information is.

People seem to appreciate the information, as open-rates have remained far above what I understand to be acceptable levels in the three years I’ve been publishing, and many kind folks even take the time to fire over the occasional “thank you” email in response.

One such recent email included a simple question that I’ve never been asked before:

I’d love to know more about why you prepare a newsletter, if you would recommend other facility owners/industry experts doing so, and what benefits you’ve seen from having one?
— Stuart A.

I typically refer to my newsletter design habit as one of content curation, which, according to Wikipedia, “is the process of gathering information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”

So…why bother?

I should start by saying that my intention for curating content each week is different today than it was when I started a few years ago. Since early 2016, I've come to see a number of benefits that I didn't initially expect. 

Here's how that looked:

The 3 reasons why I initially started a newsletter

  • Everyone said (and continues to say) that the only list you can actually own is your own, so I figured I had to do it. This makes sense, as social media platforms are positioned to pull the rug out from under you on a whim, leaving your earning potential in their hands.

  • It would afford me the opportunity to remind people that I've published material each week beyond announcements on social media. Since we can never be sure that our “announcements” of new material will beat the algorithm and find their way on to everyone’s feed, more exposures to the message is always a good thing.

  • I could use it to drive revenue-generating initiatives. I don’t currently have products to sell, or a habit of pushing affiliate links. For the time-being, my readers are enjoying an influx of content with little to no selling. This can, and likely will eventually change, but for now, I’m in the midst of delivering a series of what Gary-Vee would call “jabs.”

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Why I have Since come to see it as valuable

Much like my experience in brick and mortar business ownership, establishing yourself as a trusted content provider is effectively a never-ending game of trial and error. I spent a year or so churning out these newsletters with the agenda of focusing on the perks outlined above, but eventually came to realize that the real value came from these six outcomes:

  • Curating content forces me to consume a bunch of material each week. I’ve never found that the first four articles I clicked on hit the target, so I read a TON. I’ve got roughly a dozen standard content sources that I frequent for ideas, and there is thankfully no shortage of free information floating around on the areas of business that interest me.

  • These reading initiatives expose me to a number of different concepts that inspire creativity in my own blogging efforts. Interesting articles lead to interesting takes relating to running a gym, which I am happy to kick out in posts like this one every Thursday.

  • Sharing material in this format requires that I continue to develop my own writing style. As mentioned above, every link I share is accompanied by a blurb explaining why the material I am sharing is relevant. I’m not what one would call a great writer, but I’m far better today than I was when I started. In my case, practice makes passable. I’ll take it.

  • Delivering information of this nature every week allows me to stay on radars of fellow gym owners who may one day need my consulting services. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m not occasionally looking to make a buck. A little transparency here wont stop you from reading, right?

  • In that same vein, preparing a newsletter is the perfect way to continuously reaffirm expertise in the eyes of potential consumers so that when it comes time to fill the room for one of our CSP Business Building Mentorships, I have a far easier time asking for that sale.

  • As mentioned above, people respond every single week to either say "thank you," or put additional articles on my radar that they think might be a fit. Either way, a wonderful outcome, as anyone who blogs knows, there are many times where you find yourself thinking: “Is anyone even listening?”

Maybe you should try it?

Whether you’re looking for new forms of inspiration, in need of a habit to keep you accountable, or just seeking an excuse to read as much as possible, a newsletter may be a great idea for you.

I’d be remiss to not mention that you can get a taste of this Friday 4 newsletter here, where you’ll find archived examples of recent installments, and an opportunity to sign yourself up on the left-hand side. Check it out!

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