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Finding the 'WHAT' of your Newsletter

It's one of these scary moments.

You decided to start a newsletter, and now you have to find exactly what it's going to be about.

When it comes to finding out something like that, your brain can be your greatest enemy. You're going to hear/think things like:
"Who do you think you are?"
"You are not original"
"Others already tried that, and you'll never be as good as them"

You know; the usual.

I think I managed to capture the feeling in the mini-film below (written, directed, edited, and performed by Yours Truly).

Steven Pressfield calls it the Resistance (sic); everybody experiences it, and it can't be avoided. Steven expands more on the phenomenon in Rich Roll's podcast.

Here we'll focus on how you can tame the voices and decide what your newsletter should be about.

Keyword: Defragmentation

You already have all the info you need. By organizing it, you'll be able to come up with what your newsletter should be about.

For that, you'll have to follow the steps in the checklist below.

Of course, you can note your answers to the questions anywhere you want, but I propose you'd use our Notion template— which you can get by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

There's an interactive checklist and tables for organizing your answers (including some example answers), which you can duplicate to your personal Notion account.

This checklist is heavily inspired by Steph Smith's book, "Doing Content Right". We can't recommend it enough, so if you find the content here useful, please consider buying it!

The checklist

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How to use the checklist

Following this checklist is pretty straightforward; all you have to do is to answer the questions.

First, you need to write down 4 newsletters you love, and 4 that you're no longer subscribed to. Don't forget to also write note the reasons why.

You could write a whole paragraph about why you love/dislike each, but it's better to boil it down to a single adjective. The goal is to identify characteristics that you enjoy, and avoid the ones that turn you off.

You're here because you want to start your own newsletter, so you better enjoy reading what you write. You should be your #1 fan (something like Kanye, minus the psychosis).

After getting those down, you'll have to answer the four questions in item #3 on the checklist.

Based on your answers to the questions, you can come up with your personal monopolies and edges.

"Personal Monopolies" refer to things that you:

  • Have great experience in.
  • Know that no one else knows.
  • Etc.

On the other hand, the "Edges" represent the factors that differentiate you from the crowd.

For example, your personal monopoly could be Graphic Design Tutorials, and your edge is your humor.

There's a great example that demonstrates the point in a more visual way (even if it's not a newsletter).

Reid Stephan clearly knew a lot about music production (his personal monopoly), and decided to provide his knowledge to others via his YouTube channel. Knowing that it's a crowded niche, he had to come up with something that would make him stand out (his edge).

I don't want to spoil the surprise; check his channel!

After finding out your personal monopolies & edges, it will become much clearer what you should write about and for who (more about that in the next issue).

Twitter thread of the week

Jeremy Moser provides 10 copywriting tips to increase clicks and conversions on your website, ads, emails:

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