In the very early days of 80/20 Agency Marketing, a client asked if we would build a list for him and email that list some insight content he had written. In the interest of science, we read the full text of the CAN-SPAM act, saw that this was not illegal, tenatively gave it a try, and were surprised to find that this (carefully-built and very carefully-warmed up) list of around 6,000 prospects opened, remained subscribed to, and clicked the spam button on our client's high-quality content at the same rate as a double-opted-in list. The dynamics were nothing like you see with salesey cold email. This blew our minds and established the distribution approach for our Topical Newsletter lead generation method.
Another early 80/20 Agency Marketing client asked if we could generate leads in a way that was consistent with his desire to serve his market from an educator position using a content format inspired by Daniel Miessler's Unsupervised Learning newsletter. This approach fit our existing biases and POV much better, but required that we build a content generation pipeline that heavily leveraged automation to eek out every possible efficiency in order to profitably deliver the service at an attractive price point.
The combination of these two formative experiences established the foundation for the 80/20 Agency Marketing Topical Newsletter lead generation service.
A topical newsletter filters a firehose of news down to the drinking straw of really good or important news. This is primarily an act of service to an information-overloaded market that (as a by-product) is also a great way to become a household name to your subscribers. Outside of the mainstream-famous success stories like Morning Brew there are plenty of niche success stories like Last Week in AWS. The success stories almost always have excellent curation. That's table stakes.
They also have point of view or "voice" -- the distinctive intellectual fingerprint of the newsletter's creator. This is a more subtle but equally critical aspect of successful topical newsletters. Having deeply investigated what POV is and how it works and coached some people through cultivating a POV, we are in a good position to build and operate for you a newsletter that has an actual POV.
It's easier, cheaper, and faster to create a topical newsletter worth reading than it is to create traditional content marketing worth reading. It's easier, far cheaper, and faster to build an audience by inserting something relevant and valuable in their inbox than it is to win the search rank contest or to successfully bid for desirable clicks. To be fair, if you naturally have truly interesting insights to share and the resources & know-how to distribute those insights broadly , you should do that. It's an incredible trust-builder that helps you command the highest possible price for your expertise. But too many of you fall into the "unhappy valley" of limited resources and few truly insightful ideas . A topical newsletter is something you should consider. Here's why.
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Nothing lasts forever, all good things become commodities, familiarity breeds contempt, sometimes things just don't work for whatever reason, sometimes things work great but the context changes, etc, etc, etc. We do everything we can on our end to only enter into what are likely to be mutually-beneficial relationships, but no business relationship is "until death do us part", and some of our service offerings are only meant to be short-term skill-transfer-focused coaching anyway. So not if but when we part ways:
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The days of just publishing great stuff, letting Google quickly discover it, and watching the site traffic and leads come rolling in are over. They have been for a while now. If you can create and publish insightful or useful stuff, good! But if you want short-term lead generation value from that content, you need to think about how you'll distribute that great stuff to the audience you want to reach. The correct metaphor here is this: you've invented a new kind of bottled drink. Everybody who has ever tried it loves it and wants to buy it. But the distributor that serves the stores you want to stock won't work with you, so you have to start your own distribution company in order to sell your new product. This is what modern content marketing is like. You don't just have to solve the "great content" problem; you must also solve the distribution problem. ↩︎
There is almost no correlation between being able to formulate, articulate, and distribute truly insightful ideas and having economically-valuable expertise (or building a company that provides such). It's no insult to observe that most of us have few or no truly insightful ideas. We can still become a visible source of educational value to our market in other ways and leverage that visibility for lead generation. ↩︎
New or emerging technology platforms can reward reward new creators more than new curators. This happens as the new technology "crosses the chasm" (see Moore's Crossing the Chasm for more on this). But success as a creator in an emerging technology ecosystem or platform is more luck than skill because whether any given new technology ecosystem will actually break through into mainstream success is highly unpredictable. It's a bit like stock-picking. If you win the stock-picking game, enjoy your spoils, but don't start thinking your intelligence or wisdom was solely responsible for the happy outcome. ↩︎