A fantastic newsletter landed in my inbox the other day from www.abbykerr.com. This is a company that I am actually excited about following and look forward to the content she has to offer, which is actually pretty rare. I tend to be pretty strict around which companies I allow to have access to my inbox.
Even though I truly enjoy her weekly newsletter, I admit that I didn’t actually notice when it stopped arriving in my inbox. This has no bearing on my sense of connection to her brand, but rather a simple indication of the number of things on my to do list and what I actually “need” to pay attention to.
I did, however, pay close attention when a new newsletter arrived seven weeks later. She sent out this wonderful, heart-warming, insightful newsletter explaining exactly why her emails had disappeared from my inbox, doing so without apology, without guilt, without self-admonishment. Instead, she dove right into a beautiful exploration of what it means to “drop the ball.” She writes:
This is not an apology. It’s an admission of reality, and a permission slip (if you want one) for you, too, to have a season of inconsistency every now and then….This is real life. And your solo-owned brand is not always exquisitely well-behaved.”
I found myself breathing a deep sigh of relief. While intellectually I can read the above and know that it is true that my business will not fall apart if I simply need to be quiet for a while and focus on other things, I do admit to feeling the guilt for not being on top of it all, especially when it comes to writing my newsletter. I find there is a lot of pressure to be up to date with all of your social media tools for your doula business or birth practice, maximizing your visibility with frequent posts, new content, sharing and likes and comments. It is easy to feel like you’re not doing “enough.”
Newsletters, in particular tend to fall by the wayside. We start with Great intentions of keeping in touch with past doula or childbirth education clients by a weekly or monthly newsletter. It’s a lovely idea, really, allowing you to build relationships over time and cultivate your birth business identity as a hub of great information and resources to support them through pregnancy, birth and parenthood. For this to happen, however, you have to routinely collect email addresses to build a mailing list, and then actually Write and Send the newsletter on a semi-regular basis!
Here are my golden words of wisdom and experience, hard-earned through years of feeling guilty about my inadequate newsletter mailings:
- Set realistic intentions. Don’t commit to a monthly newsletter if that simply won’t work for your schedule. Quarterly is fine. Heck, even an annual newsletter to all of your clients is a great move.
- Keep a document, notepad, random corner of your to-do-list (whatever works) where you scribble ideas for future newsletters. Ideas include upcoming community events, guest articles, new offerings in your doula or birth business, birth announcements, coupons for local baby gear or services, links to your most recent blog posts…
- If you don’t get around to it and mess up you schedule, no guilt allowed. I know that when I’m feeling guilty about something it tends to make me procrastinate even more. If you’re 3 months late for your monthly newsletter, set a day this week when you can simply do it.
- Remember that it doesn’t have to be fancy. At some poing you need to declare “Good is Good Enough”, let go and click the Send button. Short and sweet is plenty!
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