Create a Kickass Newsletter (With Curated Content)

Everyone understands the power of a platform.  Having a list of subscribers, an audience of fans and followers, and a captivated community of readers is key to starting anything new.

But let’s be honest.  It’s not easy to think of stuff to say everyday, especially if you are a heavy drinker like me.

I will tell you a little secret about email marketing I’ve learned over many years of building my own lists (some, especially on partner projects, north of 50K subscribers) as well as what I’ve learned on being ON more lists than I can count as well.

If you want to build REAL relationships with your list and generate a real income from email marketing (whether it be selling your own offers, affiliate offers, or simply being considered an authority in your niche), you’ve got to get comfortable mailing MORE, rather than less.

Every day you ought to be sending something new.

It’s not the point of this blog post – and I know it sounds counter intuitive to some (who will blanche and blush at the thought of emailing their list everyday) – but there is a dude I know, whose list I am on (currently) who emails me (everyone) 3 times a day.

I sign up for his list once a year or so – just to test the limits of my own patience, to see at what point I’m going to opt out, simply due to the deluge of email he’ll drop in my inbox.  The funny thing is, he’s a great guy – means well (I know him a wee bit – but I use a business address when I sign up, so it’s anonymous for me) – and his emails are genuine, honest, sincere and helpful.

His conversions are the best in the business, too.  (even though he’s a guy most have never heard of)

His entire success is predicated on being good at what he does (but on par with lots of other folks who do the same thing at a high level) AND the sheer fearlessness that he brings to saying – “hey, i’m going to teach you what you signed to learn.  I’m going to send you many emails throughout the day, too.  When I have a thought I think will help you – i’m going to share it without hesitation -EVEN if you’ve already gotten 2 other messages from me today”

It’s really uncanny to me – how the reverse of what you’d think would happen, actually does.  Sure he must get a lot of unsubscribes.  (i always opt out after a month or two – but i’m not really trying to learn from him – I’m just trying to test my own internal state – when do I say – “enough is enough” – EVEN knowing I literally signed up for this 🙂

But he also converts like 10% of his list into clients.  And people love him, and are loyal to him in ways you won’t find in most IM or entrepreneurial circles.  (he’s also a devoutly religious person, and I think that a good percentage of his audience connects with that as well)

So, what does this have to do with a curated newsletter?

If you want to get your message out on a daily basis, but are a bit nervous about having enough to say, or you worry about annoying people by mailing them everday, a curated newsletter is the absolutely easiest way of GENTLY showing up in people’s inbox, in the spirit of service, and sharing, rather than self servingness.

For example?

I’ll get PRODUCTHUNT’s excellent curated email everyday – and i’ll look forward to it – and even if they email/update me (via the app or otherwise)  2x times thereafter during the day –  it never feels like an interruption.

Curation, done well, is the absolute best “soft touch” approach to email marketing, and a great way of building up the appearance of authority, expertise and genuine go to ness in your niche, as well as of course, the best way of building rapport with your professional peers.  (as when you curate their content and share it – you are doing them a big favor and paying them a great compliment)

Here are 2 great tools to curate a kick ass newsletter on a bootstrap budget:


Both allow you to create landing pages on custom domains (meaning you can register a new domain name, and have it point to your newsletter as a “squeeze” page with an archive, etc – on paid accounts)

I have used and paid for both (currently have several premium revue accounts + 1 free curated account) and I prefer the curation tools and tech from Revue by a ton – but the landing pages are amazingly effective for list building + look awesome.  (they are more expensive, but allow you to have multiple newsletters under one account, plus they have native sponsorship features…..which is really quite powerful as well)

If you are looking at BUILDING something this year, a directory, a marketplace, an authority site, a travel guide site (lots of folks in my audience are building travel oriented communities it seems) – a curated newsletter is the absolute EASIEST way to test your concept, get “proof” that there is demand for the idea, build some content up, get noticed, and generate some brand loyalty to boot.

Check out some of my videos on content curation as well as the more recent case studies.  Have questions?  Don’t be shy!  Connect with me on Twitter, email or via the chat box below.



Viral Book Launches: How to Build Your Email List with a Viral Contest

Pop Quiz:  When launching your next book, would you rather:

A.  Share your Amazon author & book page with all of your friends and family on Facebook….and hope they all buy a boatload as a show of support.  (doesn’t work.  Trust me.  Thanks for nothing Uncle Jeff & Aunt Judy!  Unfollowed both of you.  And your kids.)

B.  Take some course from a goofy guru who can’t spell big words, but has a really nice youtube whiteboard, and hope that his Amazon insider secrets are better than his taste in tribal tattoos?  (trust me, he grew up on Long Island.  The closest he’s been to an indigenous tribe was when he sat too close to the TV on Season 4 of Survivor. )

C.  Just throw a whole bunch of links to your Amazon page and your book on your blog, and hope some people buy it?  (this does work, and you will have some success with this approach)

The truth is, the absolute best way to build BUZZ for your book, blog, brand, business and bank account is to do a giveaway.  More specifically, a viral book launch contest,  where you incentivize people for taking part in your launch in a whole cacaphony of creative ways. (see, i can’t spell big words either) Give stuff away, get people excited, share swag and inject the spirit of competition into a viral book launch that goes WAY beyond the value of your book, and you’ll find yourself growing a powerful platform…..almost from Day Day #1.

(as some of you know, we recently did a viral contest for a client, as part of a small group mastermind, that generated 800 + brand new subscribers, for a new author, who has never had a single subscriber before.  She now has 800 + people to announce her book to – when it comes out later this month – and a huge headstart in making the best sellers list to boot)

All of this is to say……we just added a brand new service.  Viral Contests & Book Launch Giveaways for Authors who want a powerful platform and a competitive advantage on Amazon….and beyond.

You get masterminding with this (from moi’) where I will get on the phone with you and walk you through the specific steps we’ll implement to get your contest perfectly positioned for YOUR needs, your goals, and your objectives.

You’ll then get a dedicated rep who will build your contest exactly to the specifications we covered (you and I) in step #1.

Finally, we’ll LAUNCH your contest – integrating with your newsletter provider (mailchimp/aweber/whomever) and help you create a traffic and marketing strategy that will build your brand, engage an audience and cultivate a community, 100% out of thin air.  (or if you have an existing audience or platform now, mazel tov!  This will work that much better 😉

Interested?  Check it out here.  

As with all of the store products – feel free to email me, call me or connect with me before you buy, to make sure it’s a good fit for you, and you for it!







Content Curation Case Study Update (Week 5?)

As promised, here is another update to the content curation, directory marketing series on how user generated content, and strategically using curated content, can have a huge impact on your business……starting from scratch.

(although in this particular case, this site wasn’t brand new, it was just stale and not being used, which one could argue either helps, or hurts these results, depending on your perspective)

I think this is the 5th week of updates.  You can go back and re-read all the posts in this series and see.

Anyway, I think I spent about 30 minutes on this site this past week – maybe 10 minutes or so, 3x times.

Same process for curating content – not going to repeat the process on each one of these posts (even understanding that many folks are reading each as a stand alone piece, if you are really interested in trying and applying this process, I trust you’ll be motivated enough to read the others, rather than recapitulate the process here)

This is a screenshot from 4.30 on Thursday, the 15th.  I’m including yesterday, and half of today (430 EST) – so do with that what you will.

The traffic is a wee bit down over last update, I think…..i’m not checking, but I believe it was a one day screenshot last time somewhere around 2300 visits.  (this time, a day and a half, it’s 2800 or so, so that feels a like it will end up being  bit less per diem, if you carry the one, and do the math over)

Can I use per diem as a way to talk about daily traffic?  Or am I outing myself as a poor latin linguistic scholar?  Who knows.  You don’t care.  I don’t care.  And it makes me feel fancy to speak in ancient tongues.

The things to notice, yet again… the HUGE amount of outgoing links.  This is huge for me, as the audience continues to click on the links that lead to other peoples sites, meaning I’m truly sharing the love, linking to my niche neighbors, and getting noticed (by dint of their own tracking) as no doubt, you send someone this kind of traffic, they DO tend to perk up.

Also note the affiliate link clicks.  There are about 70 of these in the last day.  (see screenshot – actually 83)  I’m not sure if I’ve earned anything in the last 24 hours from this traffic, but every sale pays me $100.  (they send out sale updates at weird times, usually in the early afternoons, so it’s possible none of this converted – but it’s a numbers game, and some definitely will)

Remember, that’s someone elses content, that i’m clipping and snipping, and 70 (edit: 83)  folks are clicking on my affiliate link based largely on that traffic.  This feels like a pretty good affiliate marketing strategy, too 😉

If you want to get these sorts of traffic results, get in touch.  This isn’t hard to do – these aren’t really high numbers either – but they are solid – and they scale well, and most people have no idea how to skillfully do this sort of work in a way that google loves – your niche neighbors love – it feels good, positions you well, and takes very little time to master.  I’m happy to jump on the phone with you – check out the store for more.  (or drop me an email if you have a question)





Starting (and staying) Small: Why Growing Your Business isn’t Always the Answer

One of the surprising things that has come up quite a bit in recent months, in chats with many of you – is the appeal of staying small. Not starting small. (which is where we all begin, regardless of how grandiose our goals) But STAYING small. Intentionally. As a choice. And as a way to rack up a win, rather than settling for something smaller than you deserve.

This is an excellent article on the appeal of setting boxes and boundaries. And knowing what you love, what you do well, and where you excel. Not all of us are born to build something big. I’ve had conversations recently, with partners on projects that are in various stages of development – “who do we want to emulate? Who is winning in this space? What are they doing that we’d love to copy, or compliment, optimize or improve?”

Invariably, someone chimes in with some monstrosity of a business, with a zillion employees, scattered all over the globe – doing something I’d rather be beaten with a stick by an angry mob of red state voters than wake up and face everyday myself – and I say – “yeah…..not so much”

That’s just not for me.

Knowing what you do really, really well is important. Knowing what you LOVE – what makes you come alive and feel alive and want to get up and attack with fierce focus everyday – that is more important.

I love people. And I love to lead, share, inspire and motivate. But I don’t want to manage. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, or to fire people, or deal with HR headaches. This I’ve learned in many years of doing exactly that.

So success, for me…..has to reflect something other than this image when I wake up and see it’s sorry early AM face. Because there is no amount of money that would make that life feel worthwhile.

A well written article on the appeal of staying small. Check it out at the link below.

I think we’ve all been ingrained with this idea of what success should look like: working a minimum number of hours, hiring minions to do our work for us and making all of the monies passively. I see people quit unpleasant nine-to-fives in order to become their own boss, but then they don’t change a damn thing about how they work. They often think that they need to model their routine after the way business has been done in the past or according to what some ‘thought leader’ on the internet told them about their own ‘successful’ business model.

It’s not that growing a company or hiring employees is evil or bad or wrong either. It’s awesome and a great place to be in. For some people. But I know this about myself: I’m better at working than delegating work. And I don’t want to learn how to be better at the latter either.

I don’t actually care about growth

Punishment Porn

Love this article. (And love Elaine Ou’s brilliant blog, below.)

When did we become a culture that relishes in punishing people for what offends us, what upsets us, words we deem outrageous……deeds we decide despicable – simply because our own glass houses are so perfectly polished?

I confess. I feel it too. At times, there is a visceral thrill at seeing someone punished for bad behavior. A passion for piling on. For saying something wrong. For expressing the wrong emotion. For not being contrite enough. Polite enough. Or suffocating in the same box of self righteousness as the rest of us.

I always feel shame after that sensation comes and goes, though. It doesn’t feel good to know I could easily be on the other side of that whip.

I remember being at a family party the weekend after Ryan Lochte got banished from Brazil.

I’m not a big fan of Olympic swimming. Nor do I know much about Ryan Lochte as a human being. But I can remember hearing a family member…..talking to his young daughter as she washed her hands in the bathroom. He was telling her that this was a bad person. The man on the news, in the background. Who had done really bad things. And this is why he was coming home. And this is why people didn’t like him anymore.

And I remember having to stifle the urge to interject. It wasn’t my place to offer an opinion of course, and saying something would have been wrong. But the urge was so strong…..i had to restrain myself.

I think back to the dumb things I’ve done. To the texts i’ve sent to friends. To the jokes i’ve made, been the butt of, and laughs I’ve shared that all things considered, were at the expense of the other. The joy of speaking freely. Laughing at the lunacy of it all. At ourselves –
at others – and this messy, stressy planet we’ve all got to share together for a brief blip of not nearly enough – and yet – far too much time not to fuck it all up.

Everything that we ought to value rests on tolerance. And to me, the irony is, tolerance is the one thing the outrage machine has lost.

By most accounts, Travis Kalenick ain’t the nicest guy in most rooms, on any given day. But to be scolded – to be reprimanded – to be publicly chastised for going into the (vacant) “lactation” room at UBER to meditate?

Good grief.

(…….and then they came for me.)

That story ends badly. For all of us.

For a much better blog than mine – continue reading below.

In today’s episode of People are Pissed at Uber, the internet is full of sound and fury because Uber’s CEO went into a company lactation room to meditate.

I had to Google “lactation room” to learn what that was, because I wanted to be properly pissed about it too. It’s basically a safe space where mothers can breastfeed. Oh, okay. Doesn’t Uber get some credit for installing a lactation room in the first place? None of my employers ever provided workplace lactation rooms.

It seems only months ago that people were complaining about Uber not hiring enough women. Now the company has shored up its staff, it’s got employees capable of lactation, it’s gone so far as to provide those employees with lactation rooms — and yet the internet is still unhappy.

Selling Featured Listings (Video)

Here is a quick video I made that accompanied the visualization that went out the other day. It’s not professional or polished (you could argue, neither am I 🙂 but the response has been really good, and I’m pretty pleased with the feedback thus far.

Essentially, for those of you who didn’t get the email update (or read the blog post which covered a little bit of this as well) we upgraded an old directory as part of a satellite of sites in the “spiritual services” space, and offered a whole bunch of extra opportunities for folks to promote their profiles as a result. (coupons/deals/custom map markers, new featured listings, new bookings feature, fb promotion, newsletter promotion to their peers, etc)

It’s a small but valuable little site, and I think the infographic, in addition to the video, helped bump conversions a bit beyond the standard email I normally would have sent in the past.

(just a guess though – i don’t love making the videos, but as i’m sure you can tell by now, i’m a big fan of the infographics 😉

Real Time Web Analytics