Episode: 451 |
Michael Katz:
Business Newsletter Best Practices:


Michael Katz

Business Newsletter Best Practices

Show Notes

Michael Katz is the author of four books, an award-winning humorist, and the founder of Blue Penguin, a company that helps professional service firms and solos talk and write about their work in a clear and compelling way. He has an MBA from Boston University and a BA in Psychology from McGill University in Montreal. In today’s episode, Michael talks about how he helps his clients. Learn more about Michael’s business at www.bluepenguindevelopment.com


Key points include:

02:15:  Business newsletter best practices

13:41: Results that can be achieved through a newsletter 

15:27: Building an email list

18:46: Newsletter management software comparison



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  1. Michael Katz


Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman and I’m here today with Michael Katz, who runs blue penguin development. He helps professional services firms, particularly boutique firms and independence, set up newsletters. Michael, welcome to the show.


Michael Katz 00:23

Thanks for having me.


Will Bachman 00:24

So Did I get that right? Michael, do you want to tell me tell me what you do. I might be bit more than newsletters. But I know that’s kind of what you focus on.


Michael Katz 00:31

Yeah, so my clients are all professional service providers, financial planners, consultants, recruiters, leadership coaches. So they’re all people who sell themselves essentially. And what they have in common also is that it’s very hard for anyone who hires them, or is thinking of hiring them to tell them apart. So again, every financial planner, every attorney, even if there are differences, you can’t tell the difference before even after you hire them. So the newsletter is a marketing tool. And my approach is, it’s a way of them getting in front of people on an ongoing basis, but also as a way to get a sense of who they are. So they’re my clients are very people. It’s kind of high trust businesses, where it matters, how you feel about them, and what you think of them and all that.


Will Bachman 01:16

Fantastic. Okay. I have so many questions about newsletters, I’m, I’m excited for this. So let’s see where to start. Maybe, rather than me just starting an opinion with questions. Why don’t you walk me through your kind of process that you would follow with a consultant? And maybe we say, while you work with all sorts of professionals Think of it as a management consultant type of client? What’s the Do you have, like a process that you would follow for someone who just comes in says, Look, I’ve heard I should have a newsletter? I’d like to have a newsletter. I hear it’s good for business development, but I really don’t know what to start or what kind of content I should have, maybe I should have my own content, or just post links to other good stuff I find or, you know, how often should I send it? Who should I send it to? What technology should I use? Walk me through, like the process that you would, you know, have that person go through?


Michael Katz 02:15

Sure. And I should say, I mean, that’s, that’s typically what happens. So a typical client, and my clients are all small, my biggest client has maybe 15 people down individuals. What they want is a marketing tool that they can use on an ongoing basis that will help them get clients. So they don’t usually come with much in terms of preconceptions about anything. I always described as it’s like creating a magazine. So a magazine has a design that stays the same, like Time magazine looks the same every week, it has some delivery mechanism in the backend round to get it to you if you subscribe or buy it at the newsstand. And then there’s the content that changes every month. So same thing here, there’s a design element that once done is pretty much the same, there’s delivery, whether we use Constant Contact, or MailChimp or someone like that, usually one of those two, and then there’s this ongoing content. So the process usually takes a couple of months with me, initially spending a lot of time talking with them about what’s your voice? Who is your audience? What are you going to write about? What do you an expert in? What’s your approach to the way you do the work? So before we get to anything designed, certainly, but even listening topics, I’m trying to get a sense and help people get a sense of what makes you different and kind of what makes you tick. So again, every financial planner is for example, there every management consultant in a particular area, essentially selling the same thing. The differences have much to do with the person their approach, it’s not really their technical notes. So I’m trying to help them sort of isolate that. I spent a lot of time on sort of their voice like are you serious, funny, introspective? Like how are you with your best clients, we want your newsletter to not feel like me to know I may be writing it, it should feel like you. That’s usually the first half, maybe a month of these discussions. And then we start to get into design, layout. All this back end stuff with your list and your emails, but that stuff that mechanics stuff, I mean, it’s essential, just like with a print magazine, but the real differentiator is really focus and content voice and stuff like that. And then once we launch, then it’s an ongoing thing. So almost all my clients published monthly. Some of them I just interviewed them and they never touch a keyboard. Others, we have a discussion, they write the first draft and then I like fix it and most people I find they’re pretty good at writing something but not not great at it and many people hate it. So I kind of finish it for them. And then I again, take care of the back end and leave them alone for a couple of weeks and then we do it all over again.


Will Bachman 04:58

In terms of the cost There’s probably different genres, and maybe you have some categorization scheme, some Dewey Decimal System or categories. Yeah, I imagine that one is where it’s more of a essay, like the actual, you know, professional, just putting her thoughts, his thoughts, you know, in an email, like, here’s my greatest wisdom on financial planning this month, something like that, you know, here’s some essay for me, there’s that. And then there’s also some newsletters that are more like a collection of interesting, here’s some interesting things I came across this week or this month, right? There’s some things that might be useful to you. And it’s more curated links, maybe with a sentence or two about it. But it’s not all coming from that person. It’s more, here’s some useful stuff that I found kind of thing. Some people, some emails that I get, like certain newsletter type things are more about, here’s four projects that our firm just completed. usually pretty boring. But and maybe there’s some other genres as well. Talk to me. I mean, but that’s not complete. Could you maybe just elaborate on that? Are there like other genres are missing? Or what sorts of genres Do you think you mostly recommend? Or do you see people using?


Michael Katz 06:20

Yeah, so I think of it kind of on a continuum. So the worst case scenario is you don’t publish anything, you know? And I often ask people, what do you do to stay in front of your clients and prospects? And often the answer is nothing. So that’s the worst. The next step would be what has been around for decades, which is, there’s a newsletter produced by someone in your industry that allows you to put your name and picture on it, and you send it out. So that’s actually okay. I mean, at least you’re showing up in my inbox. But it does nothing to clarify your own thinking, and certainly nothing to let me know anything about how you think and who you are better than nothing. The next one would be the curation that you mentioned. So now I’m getting a little bit of your point of view, because you’re saying these articles are important or whatever. But I’m still not really getting a sense of how do you think or who are you as a person. Again, if you take your financial planner example, I’m about to hand over my life savings, somebody, I want a sense of who they are, there’s no real right or wrong here, I may love my financial planner, and you may hate her. Same for your doctor, your auto mechanic, you know, your consultant. It’s not that there’s right or wrong, but you want people to get a sense of who you are. And so the more insight you provide, the better I have of that. So curations, okay, is a little bit of that. But to me the best is you actually write something with your point of view. There’s an interesting thing going on here, which is that you and your recipients are not involved in the newsletter for the same reason. So the reason you’re publishing a newsletter is to get more clients. Like if you didn’t need any clients, none of my clients would be around, they’re not doing it because they want to be publishing. But the people on the receiving end, couldn’t care less about your business. So the thing about you mentioned, here’s our four projects, I suppose it’s interesting to the people writing it, but the people on the receiving end essentially couldn’t care less. So my approach is always, you have to write something that someone receiving it wants to read. And so that falls into the category of, can you help me do my job or live my life better. And so it’s actually not going to be the best thought any financial advisor on earth ever had. Because the problem is, as a financial advisor, or management consultant, or auto mechanic, you have maybe one or two insights that nobody else has maybe and that’s it. Your readers don’t know anything about financial planning. So it’s really financial planning one on one, because you’re not writing to other financial planners, you’re writing to potential clients. So people never run out of content, because anyone who knows enough about an industry to be in it has, you know, 10 lifetimes worth of information relative to the person on the outside. So what I’m helping them do is figure out who you’re talking to, who do you want to be a client? What information would they find valuable? And then offering a little bit of it every time you publish? So that’s sort of the game that’s going on here.


Will Bachman 09:27

Yeah, interesting. I think one thing that might be slightly different for management consultants as opposed to financial planners, most listeners, this show or management consultant, in some cases, I think that the curation type email in some cases might actually be more attractive to me as a reader than like, your, like the person’s personal essay kind of version. Like, let’s say someone is, isn’t a management consultant in the waste management industry, right? Like, I don’t really I’m not a personally that like, you know, dedicated to the waste management industry. But if someone was sending out like a really good once a month, you know, hey, here’s the eight developments this month in the waste management industry, you know, so and so company acquired so and so. And just a sentence or two of why that’s interesting. Like, this is like the biggest merger or whatever. And it’s surprising the FTC is allowing it, or this, this CEO just moved from this company to this company, and they just acquired this or that’s why that’s significant, like eight things. Or here’s a new technology or whatever new software tool that might be kind of interesting to read here, and you’re like, boy, that person is really plugged in to the waste management industry. If I ever need a waste management consultant, that person is clearly following what’s going on, I might call that person. Even if I don’t read it every week, as opposed to giving me like a three, four paragraph essay on what they’ve done, or their latest thinking about waste management. I’d almost rather read that like curation kind of example, like quick, easy to digest, where the message the messages, like, even if I don’t read it every week or month, it’s telling me the messages, I’m plugged into the waste management industry, I know what’s going on, I’m on top of all the trends, I know the major companies. And if you need help and waste management, I’m your person.


Michael Katz 11:24

Could be I mean, the end result is the the interest in the end result is the same, although I would argue, I can just put a do a Google search on that and get all those updates that if you don’t show me how you think. And, and I think we’ll get into this too. I have my people telling personal stories about their outside lives, which you might say, who cares about your kid or your dog, your house. But the interesting thing is, that’s how business works with this group of people. I mean, it’s when you and I got on the phone, before we started recording. My first question is like, Hey, where do you live? Like, where do you live? So that’s part of how people choose professionals. And so that, and this was sort of a big insight for me when I first started working for myself, because I used to work in a big corporation where I was doing very numbers oriented marketing stuff, and I thought this stuff kind of had nothing to do with it. What I found is in this professional services sphere, where again, everybody’s qualified, everybody seems good. The personal stuff, is what makes me pick up the phone. Again, we’re talking small companies and people, certainly individuals, it’s different, maybe if you have an advertising budget, but these are not those kinds of people. So this soft stuff is counterintuitive and non business II as it is. It’s the weirdest thing. But when one of my clients and my clients are people in the most serious businesses you can think of, you know, Wall Street money managers, medical people in the drug industry, so people who presumably have zero time and don’t want anything but the facts. We publish a newsletter. They’re coming to like, my dog does that too. It’s the weirdest thing. And yet, there’s this connection that people feel with the writer. So it’s more than just information. It’s also kind of who you are, and how you think and all that kind of stuff that seems to make a difference.


Will Bachman 13:15

Okay, great. So showing some humanity due to my, you know, kind of faulty question, structuring, we didn’t really start this by asking like, what are the objectives? And what, what kind of results do you see people getting with the newsletter? So tell me a little bit about the why around this? And what kind of results have you seen people achieve what’s without, with ease.


Michael Katz 13:41

So again, it’s all about getting clients and you know, visibility, but that too, is about getting clients. So again, nobody’s doing it, at least initially, nobody’s coming to me saying, I want my voice to be heard, or I’ve got thoughts that I want to get down on paper. Interestingly, once they start writing, and they get a sense of sort of having to clarify their thoughts that comes with that people often really start to like that, but it’s all about getting clients. And so, you know, that’s the bottom line for people in terms of results. You do get all kinds of data with email opens and clicks and stuff like that. And it’s sort of related. Even if you ignore that there’s a lot of noise in the data. It’s not really what you’re tracking, what you want to know is to somebody call you up and say, hey, we’ve been reading your newsletter for a while. Can you help us with x? I mean, that’s, that’s the test. So something like opens we track because that’s all you can actually track. But it’s sort of like if you tracked how many hands you shook at a networking meeting, like it kind of relates to how well you got around the room, but it’s not really what you’re after. So, to me, it’s all about, can you point back to people saying, we want to work with you, we want you to talk at a conference. We want to partner with you. So again, my clients to varying degrees, get That kind of result, otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing it.


Will Bachman 15:04

What? And what sort of like, I mean, who do they add? And I’m curious about that part. So do they have websites where people just go and sign up? Does it more like they interact with them and professionally and say, do you mind if I add you to my monthly mailing list? Or tell me about just sort of building your list? Yeah.


Michael Katz 15:27

So it’s all that, but there’s not, again, among this group, there’s not a lot of activity that happens in that way, the starting point, is what I think of as your house list. So you’re, and I define that as people, you know, which I define as, if I called you up, I wouldn’t have to remind you who I am. So again, if I call you in six months will, I’d have to tell you who I am. So you don’t fall into that. Where’s the guy out my college roommate, my dentist, that guy who lives next door to me, all these people in your life, and I find the average person has, I don’t know, four or 500, people like that. That’s the starting point. There used to be somewhat of an issue with people getting angry that you’re on their list, although with this group, it was there was rarely any kind of problem today, it seems for whatever reason that, you know, Spam is not a big complaint. But again, I tell people that you’re not looking to add your alumni list from your college, it’s people you know, and yes, From then on, because it’s kind of a leaky bucket, every time you publish, people either unsubscribe or their emails change. You have to constantly network and ask people’s permission to add them to the list. But it doesn’t take a lot of people. Again, if you’re in front of 500 people a month, let’s say, that generates a lot of activity. I mean, my entire business for 20 years is based on nothing but my newsletter and like its derivatives now on social media, I just published a newsletter and my phone rings.


Will Bachman 16:54

Okay, and so do you. I mean, I’ve seen some people out there, you know, with newsletter gurus. Talk about, you know, how do you build your newsletter following and they might have websites with a lead magnet, and you know, enter your email to download this great tool. Talk to me about that, sort of those sorts of approaches,


Michael Katz 17:20

there’s no, there’s no ethical way to quickly build your list. So not to say that, that kind of stuff, I have a lead magnet on mine, all that stuff works. But you’re not going to get 1000s of people on your list, again, as this for this population, and they don’t require that. But yeah, there are all kinds of things related to when you post you can link back on your site, I just emailed with a guy earlier suggesting he do a couple of things to increase people coming on. But for this population, it’s onesy, Tuesdays on a regular basis, which is fine, totally different than if you’re selling a product where you need, you know, 1000s of people, as a professional service provider who needs 20 new clients a year, maybe you don’t need a huge list, it’s very much a quality over quantity. And again, there’s no there’s no effective way to do this quickly, of quality people that you’re going to get.


Will Bachman 18:17

All right. Talk to me a little bit about the technology piece about the different different sort of platforms, you mentioned, Constant Contact and MailChimp. Are there any other ones that you recommend people consider? And are there any other technology tools in the whole suite of things that should be considered ConvertKit or Canva, or other types of things you want to talk about that, that people typically have is to do one piece of this?


Michael Katz 18:46

Yeah, so it used to be much more of a technology challenge to just to make all this work, but but the MailChimp ‘s of the worlds have made it easy. So you know, there are literally dozens of MailChimp and constant contacts out there with varying degrees of flavors of what they offer. For the person who’s providing an information based newsletter an ongoing basis. It’s almost always constant contact and MailChimp. I mean, again, there’s others and that’s fine. I use a service called Infusionsoft for my own because it’s got like a shopping cart thing built in because I also sell products but and yes, there’s all kinds of technologies that would allow you to do more elaborate things. If a person clicks on this link, they then get this message and all of that, and again, you could do some of that to some degree with the MailChimp ‘s of the world. And I find that that pretty much covers the ground. I mean, I think of what we’re doing here as it’s like you’re having lunch with 500 people every month. So there’s not a lot of having to customize what you’re doing. If you said Well, can you tell me what the what the ROI is on launch and what kind of dated You have the answers. I don’t know, I’m out there networking, this is really scalable networking, it’s also got to be something that doesn’t take over people’s lives. So I published my own newsletter every two weeks or twice a month. But for the typical professional service provider, they could not keep that pace. So a month, his monthly is fine. Because it’s sort of like exercise, like, you need to pick something that you can do for the next 10 years. So if it’s too much, the whole thing, just collapse from its own way, whether that’s how involved you get with the clicks, and the technology and all that, or just a frequency. So I found that for this population monthly is perfect in terms of them getting in front of people regularly. And then also being able to create the content without you know, killing them.


Will Bachman 20:49

Okay. Can you share any examples that can be sanitized of an individual newsletter episode of one of your clients that really killed it that just resonated and just was sort of distinctively distinctive? Never responses compared to the ordinary run of the mill?


Michael Katz 21:11

No, no, I feel like I’m starting to annoy you. But here’s the thing. It’s sort of like if you said to me, can you give me an incident where you exercise where you what you kill them? The value of exercise isn’t in one day, it’s over time. So it’s the same thing, no newsletter is going to blow the doors of Yes, there might be a time where you publish and the phone rings. And another time it doesn’t. But it really is this, like the accumulation of visibility, and people getting a sense of you. And it’s not a big bang thing. It’s an ongoing thing. And I although I have you know, this sort of the world record for a new client from any of my clients is 20 minutes. So my way I had a client who they publish their first newsletter, and the phone rang 20 minutes later, but that almost never happens. It’s over time, you go to a meeting, people say I’ve been reading your newsletter, they ask a question, or they refer you. I mean, you and I are connected through a client of mine whose newsletter I do. So it’s that kind of like stirring the relationship pot where the magic is, but it’s not at all a an instant, kind of thing.


Will Bachman 22:15

Okay, cool. No, I mean, that’s great response. So it’s not about one individual posts that really goes viral or something. It’s more continuously showing up in someone’s inbox on a ongoing, reliable basis, with interesting perspective. And that, eventually, May, when the person has a need, they think of you. But it’s not like, Oh, this was such an insightful genius posts that you get 10 times more clients calling up asking about it, something like that,


Michael Katz 22:45

if only But no, it’s rarely


Will Bachman 22:50

very, you kind of random, technical, but like, What’s the good length of a newsletter? In your experience that works? Well.


Michael Katz 23:00

I think all things being equal, shorter is better. So like, if you could do if you could do it in one word, it’d be perfect. But to me, you have to check two boxes. So one is it has to be long enough that I read it and I learned something. Because again, it has to be valuable from the recipients point of view. And so it’s usually like you have to explain some kind of concept or make a point where I read it, and I’m like, Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. And again, it’s it’s one on one level stuff, because your your potential client is not in your industry. The second thing is, again, with my approach, there has to be enough data to get a sense of who you are. He told me a story, you had some perspective, it was more than just information because you know, I get all the information I want on Google, I find for the average person 600 to 800 words. It varies. I’ve got some clients who you know, they just is their status kind of more involved, or they just don’t like to stop going, you know, as much as I try and turn them in. So it might be 1000. Yeah. Which begs the question, who’s got time for all this?


Will Bachman 24:07

Yeah. Did you have any successful clients who are successful with this, that really short snappy things, maybe just I don’t know, like, 150 words or something like, Hey, here’s one idea for the month, a quick hit, boom.


Michael Katz 24:21

I have one friend, sometimes client but I don’t do this newsletter. This is there’s about 300 words. But he’s a genius. Again, shorter is better. But if you’re just telling me what happened yesterday, I could have Google that. So again, my approach is I need a bit of you and I need something useful and so it becomes lawyer.


Will Bachman 24:42

So tell me, do you encourage people to do a bit of market research and talk to their clients about like, what they’d want to hear or after doing this for a while of saying, Hey, you know, I’ve been saying this newsletter too for a year. you have any feedback from me on what you found valuable in it? or any kind of any kind of market research like that, that you suggest?


Michael Katz 25:08

No. And what’s nice about this is you don’t need to do any research because you’re doing it every day by talking to your clients. So I’m your own clients, I’m always saying to my clients, if someone has some difficulty coming up with a topic, what are the things you’ve been talking to your own clients about? Because your prospects and your clients demographically look the same, the only difference is one group has hired you and the other hasn’t. So you know, what’s on their mind, whether your financial planner or life coach, or strategy coach or whatever, a management consultant. So you’re writing about the stuff that you’re already out there talking about all the time. And I find that people are not that good at telling you what they want to hear anyway, like, I don’t find that valuable. And the research is going on all the time. So what’s so nice about this is the same newsletter goes to prospects and clients. And by the way, all these other people you know, in your life, because the vast majority that people you interact with every day will never be clients. It’s your college roommate, or it’s your brother in law, but those people don’t know what you do. After all these years, those people start reading your newsletter only because they care about you. But what’s interesting is most of the referrals come to you not from prospective clients. They’re people who know prospective clients. And this population, you know, when I say Where do your clients come from, they all say, every single one word of mouth and referrals. So this is just making that happen. And so the content is is easy in terms of identifying topics, the hard part can be writing, and you know, narrowing it down, which is where I’m getting involved. But nobody’s ever run out of content. In all the time I’ve been doing it. My longest running client is an attorney. I’ve been doing a newsletter for a 10 years, while still publishing.


Will Bachman 26:51

You mentioned earlier about reusing content about reposting it, recycling it putting on social media, talk to me about that whole engine, and you know, what you what your recommendations are?


Michael Katz 27:05

Yeah, I mean, that’s been really good. You know, back, when I started doing newsletters in the early 2000s, it was, the biggest objection I’d get from potential clients was their clients or customers didn’t have email yet. And even when you publish a newsletter, then, you know, you’d send it as an email, and then it evaporated, there was no blogs or anything. And so if somebody joined the list, five minutes after the email was said, not only did they not see that email, they didn’t see any of the ones previous. So you know, then like a 2005 or so blogs came out. And so now you could take that same email, essentially, and posted on the website as a blog. So I do that now, same thing, when I post the client’s newsletter, we send it as an email, put it on their website. So now they have both, it’s essentially the same content, then, whatever, 10 years ago, social media. So now we take that same newsletter, my people are typically LinkedIn, and maybe Twitter, but always LinkedIn. We post it as an article on LinkedIn, we then take snippets of it, kind of like call out quotes from the newsletter, along with whatever the image was, and run that through their LinkedIn, with a link back to the blog now in the newsletter, and then I’ve got some people where they record it. And it’s a podcast. And so you’ve taken that same kind of anchor content, and now just use it in all these different ways. But the client only has to write a newsletter once. And then the rest of it is certain mechanical stuff, but it puts them in front of a lot of people that prior to social and even blogs, it was just an email. So all this other stuffs been really good.


Will Bachman 28:50

Do you recommend that people? Or do you work with your clients to come up with kind of a publishing schedule or schedule of content out into the future? Or is it more ad hoc every month or what’s on your mind? Or say, Hey, here’s 12 topics I’d like to cover, here’s the next 12 months, boom, let’s Let’s plant and have it all planned out.


Michael Katz 29:13

So it turns into the let’s do it month at a time once in practice. And in the beginning, people are as you can imagine very anxious about I’m not going to have enough content. So we always identified maybe 25 topics like in that first two month planning phase. And again, it’s it’s not hard for your typical professional to just bang out these 25 topics. But then what happens is, and we’ll follow that a little bit, not in particular order. But what happened is I’m always saying look, what’s going on right now what are you talking to your clients about? What are you most interested in writing about right now. So there’s never an editorial calendar. I mean, you need that if you’re Fortune Magazine, because your lead time is six months. But for us, I could write something today and publish it this year. Afternoon, longer for my own clients, it’s more like two weeks. But there’s a real freedom in saying, What’s on your mind right now? It’s sort of like if you’re going to have lunch with someone tomorrow, business lunch, you don’t think about, you know, what am I going to say, this month? And what am I gonna say next month, people don’t seem to have much memory at all of what you said last month. And so if you want your newsletter to feel present, and have this sort of energy that a big company can have, because they have to plan ahead, I find it works really well just to do as you said, Hey, what are you thinking about? And those become the newsletter?


Will Bachman 30:38

Fantastic. So we talked about having a kind of website sign up, but it sounds like a lot of your clients, a lot of the times are more just asking people that they know or that they encounter, they get introduced to, oh, by the way, I send out a newsletter, you know, with my thoughts about XYZ, would you like to be added? Or would you mind if I add you,


Michael Katz 31:03

I also said the most efficient thing is public speaking, for this population. So again, sir, free COVID, although at least it’s sort of coming back. Now. You know, if you speak to a group of 100 people, and they like you, and you and you sort of have a Form I, I hand out that that’s sort of been tested over the years, you know, you can get 75 people in the room to give you their email for your newsletter, again, you have to be explicit about, this is what you’re signing up for once you get past the friends group. But I find that public speaking is like the single best way to bring people on in groups. But otherwise, it is a lot of this onesie twosie stuff, but again, that’s okay. Because you’re losing them at the same rate, you know, every time you publish, you might lose, you know, 1%. And so they have to be kind of somewhat vigilant about it. And you will get people through your website and otherwise, but not so much for again, this population where they’re not selling anything, there’s not a lot of website traffic,


Will Bachman 32:06

what do you think about having a call to action in the email, which could be, you know, to try to buy something or do something or even just asking a question in your, in your, in your newsletter, that really is asking people to reply, like, Hey, what do you think about this? or doing a survey or, or asking a specific question? Like, Hey, are you asking your employees to, you know, all get vaccinated, or, or whatever, you know, asking some kind of thing to encourage dialogue?


Michael Katz 32:37

Yeah, I think that’s really good. I mean, again, back, you know, 18 years ago, your newsletter, your interaction, it was just an email. And so people would respond directly to you. And that was the only way they could respond. And so I think any kind of interaction is good, because people are just getting to know you, and they’re getting engaged with you. So surveys are good. A lot of times will ask, like, different clients have a different style, even though all my clients, the approach is similar. And if you saw the three of them, you’d know, they were all kind of related in their approach. They start to diverge in terms of what they like to do. So different clients, I have one, for example, at the end of every one of her newsletters is always an art question, just like you said, What do you think? Do you do it this way? I see a lot of variation, interestingly, in different populations, because again, every client has their group of readers how interactive they are, even sometimes using the same approach. I mean, I have one client where I’ve said to her, I cannot believe the depth of response that she gets. Her company consults the drug companies, and, you know, busy people, she’s hearing from people, you know, CEOs of drug companies that you’ve heard of, with three paragraph responses, which I get every month, I say to her, and she I don’t know what we’re doing here. But I think it’s the population and you know, it varies. But anyway, to answer your question, I think interaction of any kind is good, because it’s sort of on the road to picking up the phone and calling you for something different.


Will Bachman 34:11

And beyond just, you know, creating that, that visibility and encouraging people to call you for traditional professional services. Do you see clients setting up alternate ways to monetize that whether they’re selling products or doing you know, paid some kind of paid content or product or work workbook or workshop or something beyond just like their normal, plain vanila consulting service or advisory service?


Michael Katz 34:48

Yeah, it varies. You know, my, because a lot of times and I do some that for my own business, like I have webinars and products and all that, but I always in the same thing, we can do stuff like this, just make sure you don’t forget what business you’re in. If you start making your informational newsletter that brings you clients to heavy on selling your webinar, for example, you know, for that $100 webinar, you could lose a $5,000 potential clients, you just have to be sure this doesn’t turn into a promotional device, because you sort of break the spell here again, the game is give me useful information and you can come back next month. But if I unsubscribe from you, I’m gone forever. Like you don’t you don’t cancel your magazine subscription because you see an ad you don’t like, but I’ll get off your list. So you have to make sure you have kind of a light touch. But again, yes, I have had people who certainly moved into webinars, whether paid or free, sometimes products, we tend to promote those. And I do the same for myself. I don’t promote my webinars in the newsletter. So you know, my newsletter comes out every two weeks, if I’m going to have a webinar, like I have one this Friday, it’s a separate email. And I kind of am just careful, I don’t want to pollute the useful professional information too much. And also, by the way, every time you send a promotion for the webinar, you’ll lose some subscribers, so he just have to make sure you sort of even handed with it.


Will Bachman 36:19

Okay, so Michael, for folks that wanted to learn more about your firm and your services. We can include some links in the show notes. Where would you like to point them?


Michael Katz 36:30

Blue penguin development. Calm is my website and my newsletters there and everything there is about me.


Will Bachman 36:38

So very meta, get a newsletter about newsletters. Michael site will include that link in the show notes. Michael, thank you so much for joining today.


Michael Katz 36:47

Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

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