Co-creating your email newsletter where others are involved makes life less lonely.
It works when there is a group of people with the same values.
This article is about others participating in putting together your newsletter, so you are not on your own. When others feel part of something, they are more likely to contribute.
How Today Looks
Let me share with you the proof and how it works and how you can save time with your efforts.
Make a place for people to come to where they are not coerced or manipulated.
Your newsfeeds now take on the guise of the Royal Rumble.
They are a mess. There are two things being played out in front of you. There are people and businesses who look at social as free advertising, as Mitch Joel said, “Most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of learning to become part of the culture.”
The second is that the gatekeepers look at ad revenue in higher regard than giving you something with meaning. For instance, is it just me or are there now more ads on Facebook? I don’t spend much time here on a personal side anymore, but when looking through I am awash with ways to ‘build my Instagram followers,’ through to ‘write your book in seven days.’
It’s all gone a bit too click baity, unfamiliar, and spammy.
Which is why building an audience, who feel safe, belong and know what they are getting is where the opportunity lies.
What Co-Creation Is
There are two ways of looking at co-creation:
– Getting others to play a starring role in your content
– People suggest ideas to make the newsletter better and contribute to the message or look and feel
The result is that you can become the newsletter for others.
It is recognising that others have a role to play as well.
I won’t spend too much time looking at point 1 for this article. But the premise of ‘getting others to play a starring role’ is when others become the creators to your work, not just you. Getting someone else perspective can provide a different slant as well as potentially saving you time.
If you go to the places where you are familiar and there is already a solid relationship in place, then the risk of getting back something that you are not 100% happy with is minimised.
Have a look at some examples where others played a much bigger role than just my voice getting a point across:
– Lessons learned from others in 2018 click here
– Influencer marketing and the one word that kicks it all off click here
– How you can create a sense of belonging, not just one way traffic click here
I want to go a bit deeper and rather than throwing the net out for individual articles, there becomes a way where everyone has a role to play to make an offering more inclusive.
I am sharing this with you as is something I am seeing played out in front of me at the moment.
A Bit Of Context For You
The You Are The Media weekly email has been going strong since October 2013. This is everything about playing the long game.
Over time, people have (hopefully) become familiar that the You Are The Media email is not about a one way flow of promotion (naturally I will promote You Are The Media activity), but making a promise to others that I will be in their in-box at the start of the day on a Thursday.
My approach is now moving that it important to not just be from you. You can get others onboard and you all dig deep. You just hand the tools out.
This isn’t about asking others to commit time and to write, but to have an open space to suggest, complement and others to have a wider recognition of those who are part of the community.
What Happened Last Week
Last weeks You Are The Media email (have a look here) was probably the first email where the shape of the email was 75% from others.
Let me explain how it looked different.
The structure for the weekly email works like this:
– Main article (I post the entire article in. People receive in the medium they choose, why get them to click away ie. from an email to a website)
– One topical article from the past 7 days that relates to social, email, audience and marketing
– Feature someone from the You Are The Media community. This could be pointing people to read something of interest or an initiative someone is progressing
– Highlight activity from the You Are The Media calendar
When breaking this down further, it was the people involved, not just the message from me.
– The main article was influenced by what Maddie Crawford had stepped forward with and her Get Your Shirt Together Day
– The topical article was submitted to me (via LinkedIn) by Richard Burn on GDPR finding their big catch with Google
– Trevor Young’s experience of spending time with the You Are The Media community
– Matt Desmier’s Silicon Beach Online initiative that he is getting back up and running
The important thing to note here is the shift from collator to the conductor.
It is the input from others who can make your work stronger and also save time.
Here is something else that happened. Someone else suggested a new addition to the email, that resulted in almost double the number of click-throughs (average number of click thought is 14%, this became almost 30%). The reason click-throughs are not so high is that the majority of the information is in the email for people to read.
Lee Groombridge, from Think Clever Media, sent an email highlighting what he took from a recent email. The conversation worked like this:
ME – thanks for the kind words, is the length of the email ok? Someone unsubscribed saying it was too long
LEE – why don’t you have a summary at the top for ‘busy people’ where there are quick links to everything that is shared
ME – the following week, the top of the You Are The Media weekly email looked like this
This proves a point. There is a better way to creating newsletters where it isn’t a lonely place and just you directing the traffic.
This is not about opening up space for advertisers but bringing everyone in on the party and everyone has a genuine role to play.
It can be lonely if 100% of the creation is just you. When everyone brings something from the sausages in the Bacofoil, to the bottles of beer, everyone still enjoys the tunes at 3am.
These are my observations and looking to figure out why people are happy to step forward, to make suggestions, get closer and co-creation becoming such a vital part to making sure that your newsletters become a part of peoples week or month.
You can have a successful email newsletter where there is a heavier emphasis on co-creation when:
– You know the overall slant of what you will be sharing. When people know what they are receiving, when they will be receiving it and that it doesn’t look and feel like something else, trust takes centre stage.
– Your audience builds over time. When you have an audience who subscribe to you, it is in a totally different place from someone saying they will follow you on Twitter. This is a much more reputable decision, someone is making an exchange ie. their email. What they receive better be good.
– Your audience becomes familiar with each other. It is not just about you and one person, it is about you being the enabler to connect others, over time. That is why a space feels safe and trusted as there is familiarity all round. This isn’t about selling stuff, it is about the connection.
– Values are aligned. A message starts, it builds and over time people buy into an overall view or approach. This becomes easier for people to step forward.
– There is a sense of partnership, not just lead generation. Not everyone is a prospect. Look at things another way, you can build a network. People want to be treated differently and with respect. They don’t always need to be sold to in order to react.
– People recognise the value they receive. When people know they are not just being sold products, but take something to think about and apply their side. When it is time to ask, people don’t feel lied to.
– People are informed of others. It is good for people to see those who are also connected in the same space. When they see or read about others it nurtures a sense of unity.
Let’s Round Up
Mark Schaefer says in his latest book, Marketing Rebellion, ‘Be fans of your fans. Make them the heroes of your story.’ This is a powerful sentiment.
Over time, when people receive from a source that they have faith in ie. you, the emphasis is on those who come onboard. Rather than being passive recipients, they are encouraged to participate and more importantly, are listened to.
It feels good when others know that they are openly welcomed to contribute. This is how people feel a part of something and whilst the algorithms will never care about you, it is the intimacy of those who are part of the group that keeps people united.
When you build your newsletter, control is 100% with you. Give credit to others, make them feel a part of something and build a strong home where everyone feels associated with. There is a genuine sustainable community to those who subscribe to you.