- Josh Spector
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 am so excited to be here today with Josh Specter, who writes a newsletter for the interested and which is one of my favorite newsletters. It comes out Sunday at 9am. Eastern and I look forward to it every Sunday morning. It does a lot of other things. Josh, welcome to the show.
Josh Spector 00:27
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Will Bachman 00:30
I’m boy, Josh, I’m so excited for this because I’ve been following you for over a year now, and reading all your stuff. I love what you put together. I think today this listeners are what we want to talk about is how to create a newsletter, Josh is going to give us some advice around that, because that’s really an area of expertise. But before we kind of get into that segment of the show, where Josh can kind of walk us through some of the nitty gritty, Josh, give us an overview of your kind of portfolio of activities, because you have a bunch of different revenue lines and a bunch of different activities going on. So just give us an overview of what you do. Sure.
Josh Spector 01:09
So I’ll I’ll set it up by saying that my newsletter, which is called for the interested is the engine for all of it. And I work as I basically have sort of two ways that two broad ways that I generate revenue. One is as a consultant, I help creators, entrepreneurs, consultants, essentially grow their audience and business. So that could mean attracting clients. That could mean selling products, it could be securing opportunities, it’s sort of different for everyone. But I help them with sort of strategy, strategic ways to use content, use newsletters, use social media, to basically accomplish their goals. Then separate from that, I also have my own sort of creations that I monetize. So my newsletter, which I monetize through ads, I create courses, I have info products. So a variety is sort of more scale, you know, I work as an independent consultant myself. So on the consulting side, I can only work with so many people, I can only charge so much, there’s sort of a ceiling to it. On the non consulting side that’s sort of infinitely scalable. Because in theory, I can sell a course to as many people as I want, I can continue to grow my newsletter and charge more for ads. So I sort of have those two buckets of kind of scalable and non scalable revenue. But that said that the newsletter, my newsletter, which I’ve written now, for, I publish it every week, for like, almost six years now. And I also have a daily edition, that’s a one paragraph newsletter every day, we can talk about that as well. But basically, that newsletter is the engine of my entire business. So as a consultant, almost all of my clients come through that newsletter. It’s all sort of inbound, I don’t do any outreach for clients, I have a waiting list. And you know, I’m, obviously I’m a huge proponent of newsletters, especially for your audience and consultants, because I think it’s just an incredible way to sort of draw attract clients to you maintain relationships with people you’ve already worked with, and really sort of establish yourself as a leader in your space.
Will Bachman 03:40
Tell us a bit about the courses that you’ve created, maybe just list a few of them. And we’ll include a link in the show notes to these and tell us about some of the different info products that you sell.
Josh Spector 03:51
Sure. So I have a I have a newsletter course about how to sort of launch and grow your newsletter called The newsletter accelerator. People can see that and newsletter creators.com. Then I have a actually a paid newsletter sort of collection of resources called business how I do it. And that is every week, it’s an annual subscription. And every week, you basically get a deep dive behind the scenes of how I do something to grow my audience and business and that the archives now probably have about 65 resources in there. So it’s everything from here’s how I write a sales page to here’s how I do email outreach to here’s how I negotiate with clients to here’s how I use Twitter, all of that kind of stuff. Then I have some some sort of various one off product products like the most recent one is a video presentation I put out called 80 minutes social media mastery, and it’s just an 80 minute presentation where I sort of take people through how to actually use social media and effective way to get what they want, as opposed to sort of wasting a bunch of time and effort on it like lots of people do. So it’s a variety of products. But that sort of gives you gives you an idea of the scope.
Will Bachman 05:15
All right, fantastic. Tell us a bit more about your consulting business. So if you’re, maybe walk us through an example of how you would work with an individual. And I think that you told me that you work mainly on the strategy, helping them figure out what the content is going to look like, and who the audience is, and how often it’s going to go out, not so much on helping them actually execute and write the stuff on an ongoing basis. Walk me through what it is you would do with someone and an engagement?
Josh Spector 05:47
Sure. So let’s Why don’t we do a sort of specific hypothetical, why don’t you you know, you know, your audience, obviously better than me. So give me a sort of hypothetical person who might be listening, and I would I’ll sort of tell you, what my my kind of pitch or offering to them would be
Will Bachman 06:04
all right. Sure. So let’s take a consultant who perhaps is a former engage manager at McKinsey, and has primarily serves the life sciences industry. So they, you know, consult to pharma companies, and maybe they occasionally do a medical device company. And they’re, they’re not interested in selling any products, they’re mainly interested in getting sort of consulting projects that might be two, three months, at a time kind of thing. So that’s mainly what they’re looking for, they’re not looking to sell like an hour at a time here or there. Yeah,
Josh Spector 06:40
perfect. So the first thing I would say is, there’s sort of two ways that I offer package up my my consulting services at the moment. So one is what I call a clarity call. And what that is, is, it’s a 90 minute call, where that person would send me sort of all the background information about where they’re at, I would sort of review that, then we would get on the call. And I have this framework where I would sort of walk them through and a series of questions. And together, they would come out of it with this specific sort of plan and clarity about how to position themselves how to message themselves, who the audience is, they need to reach and sort of topics that they could create content about. And when I say content that could be newsletters, social media, white paper could be I’m using content in a very podcast, I’m using content in a very broad sense. But one of the things I found is one of the things that really hold people back is they lack sort of clarity, they’re very vague about what they want, and who they need to reach. So these Clarity Calls are essentially in 90 minutes, they come out. And actually we create a document on the call together, they come out with clarity about messaging, marketing, positioning, who they’re trying to reach how to provide value and attract those people, which makes everything else easier, right. So that would be one option. That’s the clarity call. The other option would start with the clarity call and would expand into basically a four to six week engagement where I would we together, we would flesh out a full sort of custom strategy plan for them. So we’d have a couple more calls, I would wind up putting together usually like a 30 to 40 page document with a full on sort of playbook for them to follow. And depending on the situation, some of that willing could include copy and stuff that I would write for them. So for example, I might give them recommendations for their social bios, I might give them recommended copy for their website, or for their sales, you know their about page, or how to sort of talk about their services or what they package up. So that’s it, that’s what I call a customer strategy plan. And that’s, again, usually like a four to six week engagement. So those are sort of the two packages that I would offer. But either way where it would start in my conversation with this person is I would say, look, let’s talk about what you’re trying to accomplish. newsletters, social media content, all of that is not a goal itself. It’s a tool you use to accomplish a goal. And I think this is where people get really confused and also get really frustrated and feel like they’re spinning their wheels, and it’s a waste of time. Like the goal is not to get likes or engagement or any of that right. The goal is to use this stuff to to accomplish what you want. So in this scenario, is to get a certain type of client ultimately, like that’s why you’re doing this right. You could post photos. You know, you could post funny photos of your cat and get lots of likes, but that’s not going to get you clients Right. So you want to start with what you’re trying to accomplish, and then create a strategy specifically aligned to do that. And one of the examples I use is, I’ve done a lot of work with comedians over the years, and I would have a conversation with a comedian. And I’d asked them, you know, what’s your goal? And they say, oh, I want more followers. And I’d say what I just said to you, you know, that’s not a goal, like, what are you actually trying to accomplish? And they might say, Oh, well, I want to get, you know, ultimately, I want to get cast on a sitcom. I said, Okay, perfect. What do you think’s gonna get you closer to being cast on a sitcom? Having 15,000 random people following you? Or having 50 casting directors and showrunners? follow you? Right? Obviously, it’s casting directors and showrunners. So you need a social strategy or content strategy that’s going to attract them, which is way different than attracting 15,000 random people. Right? So in the case of the hypothetical we’re doing here, if their goal is to get short of Life Sciences clients, they need to figure out what are those people value? And how can I create a newsletter or content or whatever it may be, that’s going to attract them and ultimately make me want make them want to hire me. So that’s sort of a crash, crash course and sort of how I approach all of this.
Will Bachman 11:24
Alright, great. So let’s, let’s talk about some of the How to on on the newsletter. So you know, maybe we start with that, kind of, you know, in most of the audience listening now, you know, is probably looking for consulting projects, typically might be anywhere from, you know, two or three weeks to two or three months, kind of a thing. So, they’re, they want to keep in touch with potentially some people might send this to existing clients or past clients, just to stay top of mind, although it’d be great to also be able to find potential clients that you know, want to receive it. What are some things around the, so I think we understand what the goal is, you know, actually get, you know, at least at bats for consulting projects, you know, to get into consideration set? Yep. What are some of your, and maybe in the, in this conversation, we could think through content, you know, how do you think about content? And then we can go into some of the practical factors of your recommendations on? How do you actually do signups for it? What are the best technologies to send it, any tips you have on design, and frequency, and so forth? But let’s start with the content, like, what are some different content options that in our scenario, that you might recommend the person think about exploring?
Josh Spector 12:46
Okay, so let’s start with this. And I’m going to talk about newsletters specifically. Although a lot of this can also apply to sort of other stuff. The first thing to understand is that all a newsletter is is a deliver is a value delivery mechanism, right? So your goal is to live it to deliver specific value to the specific audience that you need to reach and want to reach to accomplish your goal. Your newsletter is not about you. And I think this is where a lot of people get it wrong. Right. Nobody cares about the updates of what you’re doing. Like that’s not the point and and even down to the naming of your newsletter. I think it’s a big mistake to name you know, it’s not the Josh factor newsletter, right? You want the name. So if we’ll stick with this hypothetical, right? If I’m going after life sciences clients, and I need to reach life sciences, executives, or marketers or, you know, bizdev people or whoever the sort of specific target is, I want to create a newsletter, that with the very name, a newsletter is a no brainer for those people to subscribe, even if they have no idea who I am. Because part of what you’re trying to do is, I assume you may be different for some people, but in most cases, assuming you’re trying to attract new potential clients, they don’t know who you are. So they don’t care about the Josh newsletter. But they would really care about the life science bizdev newsletter. I’m making it up. Right, right. Yeah. But like, so you want to. So when you think about it like that, that it’s not about you, it’s about them. And you go, Okay, what could I What’s, what’s an email that I could send once a week, once every two weeks? That someone that worked at one of these life sciences companies would find valuable, useful, it would be an absolute no brainer for them to subscribe to, if they were aware of it, right. And so that can be content you create but it also can be content you curate, right? And it can be simple. This is the other thing All our newsletter has to be is valuable, it doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be a fancy design, you know, you get my daily newsletter, which sometimes is literally just a sentence, and maybe a sentence with a link. But if that sentencing link is valuable to my audience, they’re going to love it. And they’re actually going to love it. It’s short and simple. Nobody wants to read a novel about your thoughts on something. Right? Not that you can’t be sharing that. And I’m not saying not to ever do that. But I think people one of the reasons why people don’t do newsletters is because they have an assumption about what it needs to be and that it’s complicated, and that it’s hard. You know, even if you’re someone who posts on LinkedIn, if you can post on LinkedIn, you could have a newsletter, take the same stuff and just put it in email form. And by the way, with that, you’re going to reach more people. Because emails are, you know, newsletters and emails or algorithm proofs. When you’re posting on these social channels, a small percentage of your audience sees them, whereas just about everybody who subscribes to your newsletter is going to get it by email. So that would be the first thing I would, I would think about it that way. And once you start thinking about it from that perspective, it’s not that hard to figure out how to provide value to people. It’s hard when people create newsletters, and they’re just promoting themselves, right? Because no one cares about that. People who don’t know, you certainly don’t care. And people who do know, you don’t want an email every week, with you basically suggesting that they hire you. Right. So it’s everything becomes routed, and these are the specific people I need to reach. How can I provide them value on a consistent basis.
Will Bachman 16:48
So you could do things and I love yours, yours are short, right? So your your weekly email, it’s just five items, typically, even your ads are interesting. So people could do something like five curated links to interesting articles in that particular therapeutic area. Or it could be, you know, you might even engage an offshore research firm to do some of the legwork, and then say, send out something like, Hey, here’s the, you know, the 10 pharma deals this week that were announced, or here’s five product moves are something that happened. So if it’s something, then I’ll
Josh Spector 17:28
give you, I’ll give you a specific example. Like, also, you know, a simple Google search and Google News search, you know, you can just you don’t have to, you can just find stuff that you know, those people are going to be interested in. So I have a client, who I helped on, they work in the alarm industry. And their, their target audience is basically all these kinds of alarm store. Alarm owners and friends, you know, salespeople and that kind of thing, right? It’s a very niche, it’s a very niche thing. I know nothing, I am nothing about it prior to working with them. But literally, you can go on Google, do a Google News search, because you’ll get the most recent stuff, as opposed to a regular Google search, which will be you know, forever timeless stuff. Do a Google News search each week for a specific topic in that niche. And you’ll see what’s out there. And every week, we find multiple things, you know, this company launched this product or, you know, here’s a here’s a way, you know, here’s a story about someone who the alarm, save their life and whatever. And you just find stuff that’s going to be relevant and interesting to that audience, and write a one or two sentence summary and share the link. But to those people that’s really valuable, because they probably didn’t see it, you’re doing the work for them. And once you’re attracting them, you know, once you create something that’s providing that value, and this is the alarm companies is a perfect example, right? You know, their newsletter has grown, because within that industry, those people are telling other people oh, you should you know, there’s this newsletter that shares with me stuff that’s exactly about our industry. Right? So if you take the life sciences thing again, you know, once you once you create that, you’re you’re building a system that’s going to draw people to you, which is never going to happen if you’re just sending you know, the Josh newsletter talking about how great my stuff is.
Will Bachman 19:28
Give us that’s very valuable. Give us two or three other examples of clients of yours and you can sanitize it, but like of the types of content that they are sending out.
Josh Spector 19:40
So I had a client who he works is so his target audience is basically people who speak Chinese but are not native Chinese. Like they do a lot of business in China, right? So they already speak the language. They’re sort of intermediate To advance, but language is always evolving and slang. And so they’re their interest is how do I sort of stay up to date with Chinese language and understand the sort of nuances. So when I’m doing business with people there, I know what they’re, I know what they’re talking about, right? So he launched a newsletter that’s designed to basically help people stay help those people stay up to date with with the latest in Chinese language. So he does that by sharing various interviews and videos. And so you know, of people in China talking about and explaining, like, Oh, this is a phrase that’s becoming popular there. And here’s what it means. And here’s how to use it. And then he also shares various sort of idioms and stuff, like super valuable, you know, it’s a very specific niche audience. But to those people, that’s really valuable. Now, he’s ultimately building a business around that it’s not about consulting, but the principles, the principles are the same. I have another client who actually this is probably an even more accurate description. And so she is a, she was a professor at Oxford. He specializes in like persuasive writing. And he’s now transitioning into consulting and wants to help political campaigns and sort of become a speech writer and help with sort of political messaging for nonprofit organizations and that kind of thing, right? So you know, I worked with her to develop a newsletter that’s going to attract those people, right. So she’s going to be sharing things about how to use your writing to do things like fundraising, to get people to take action to, you know, packaging up her expertise and finding the expertise of others that’s out there on that topic. So that she’ll you know, so that if you are a, let’s say, a political campaign manager, this newsletter is a no brainer to subscribe to. And once she’s building that relationship with them, and she’s able to slip in some of her own advice and that kind of thing, ultimately, that’s going to lead to them hiring her when they need help.
Will Bachman 22:14
Love it. Okay, so one
Josh Spector 22:17
other actually, one other note about that, too. The other piece of this is, when you run a newsletter, you can see who clicks what links, so that from a from a getting business, getting clients perspective, is fascinating, right? So for example, like, let’s do the life sciences one, right? If you shared an article that you wrote, or that you found somewhere that was about, let’s say, you know, what to do when you think your, your, you know, people don’t understand your pharma products, let’s say, right, you could look at the stats, and anyone that click that link, you know, they’re at least curious and unsure if people understand their pharma product. Right. So that becomes vast, super valuable lead gen information. Because now when you’re reaching out to pitch that company, or that person down the road, you know, they’re at least thinking about that, right? So you can you can shape your pitch to that, right. Hey, you know, they don’t know that, you know that. But you know, because you can pay attention to who clicks what, right? If a company, if one of your subscribers clicks a link about wanting to expand their bizdev team, for example, write an article about how to grow your biz dev team, you know, they’re thinking about spending money to expand their business. That’s super valuable information. In terms of a sort of lead generation, client pitching perspective.
Will Bachman 23:57
What frequency do you recommend on newsletters?
Josh Spector 24:02
So, ultimately, you know, ultimately, pick a frequency that you can stick with and consistently send at the same time in day. So if you can only do monthly, do monthly, you know, don’t say I’m going to do weekly and then be skipping weeks all the time. That said, your goal is to become a habit for readers. So I think you can only really become a habit, if you send at least once every two weeks. Ideally, I would say weekly, but either weekly or once every two weeks is typically what I recommend, although it’s not the end of the world, like if you do monthly it’s better than nothing. But your your goal is to become a habit for readers, which is also why thrilly important to whatever you choose, send it the same time every time because otherwise you’ll never become a habit.
Will Bachman 24:55
A lot of this sounds like a lot of work. For example, the alarm company researching All those news during that Google News, talk to me about any of your clients who ended up kind of outsourcing this and finding some kind of research person to compile a lot of the work. What? Any advice around doing that? Yeah. So
Josh Spector 25:14
I would say, I would say a couple of things. So number one, once you have this sort of strategy in place, and know what your what you’re doing or trying to do, it’s actually not as much work as it may sound like, the truth is, you know, doing those Google News searches, it takes 10 minutes, basically, like, you know, you search for a couple terms, you see what came out this week, you pick one or two of them, and you write like a one or two sentence summary. So it’s not as it’s not as complicated as it sounds. That said, again, once you sort of have the basics of it, like that alarm company outsources the production of the newsletter, to hire someone to do it, they sort of just oversee it, because they have industry expertise that that person doesn’t, because it’s a very niche industry. But they that person does the writing and the scheduling and the sending, so they don’t have to deal with any of that, once you have what you’re trying to do. It’s not that hard to hire, you know, or have a low level assistant at your company or whatever, hire someone to just put together the newsletter for you. And you just sort of oversee what’s going into it. And even if you don’t want to choose the stuff, you could have that person, you know, say, Hey, here’s 10 things that might work for, you know, you can have them do the Google searching or whatever, here’s 10 articles that might work, what do you like, and they say, Oh, I like these three, and then they go off and write it. The other thing that I would say is, depending on your niche, and depending on what you do, and how you approach it. It doesn’t have to be new stuff, which from a time standpoint, so let’s go back to the life sciences thing, right? You could figure out the people in that position, need X, Y, and Z, you know, or would value X, Y, and Z information. And not all of that is news, right? So even in the alarm on the alarm example, the alarm industry newsletter example, we will do stuff like So customer service is a big part of their things. So we will find articles that are basically timeless, about how to deal with customer complaint calls, right? Well, that kind of stuff could be banked way in advance. So like they have multiple issues, planned out in advance was sort of timeless content, and then just drop one or two new things that happened into it. Right. So I think that’s another piece where whether you outsource it or do it yourself, it doesn’t have to be this grind. Because you can find a lot of stuff that is timeless and map it out way in advance. You know, my, my even my daily newsletter, for example, I have weeks scheduled in advance, because I’m not covering news. You know, if I’m sharing an interesting story about Paul McCartney’s creative process, it doesn’t matter if I send that now or three months from now. So I think that’s a that’s another sort of piece of this that makes it easier to do than people may realize.
Will Bachman 28:22
Tell me about your recommendations around technology tools for sending, so MailChimp Constant Contact other tools, how should people actually physically, you know, send it send out the newsletter.
Josh Spector 28:37
So there’s a million different email service providers at this point, I get this question all the time, people get sort of paralyzed by the choice, the truth of the matter is, they’re all basically the same and it doesn’t really matter. They’ll all work, it’s the least important choice or decision of anything you’re going to do with a newsletter. So I would say, you know, all of the ones you mentioned, MailChimp, ConvertKit, AWeber, like, they’re all fine. I would just say, you know, pick one and start doing and if at some point, you don’t like it, you can always switch but to be honest, they’re all going to be fine for what, for what people are doing. But what I would say is simple is better. Like my newsletter, literally just has an image at the top. There’s no fancy template. There’s no fancy design. So none of that stuff matters. And in some ways, it can actually hurt you like, the more images you put in the more complicated not only to create, but it can wind up being more likely to get flagged as spam. Like my advice to people is just keep it really really simple, like one image or logo at the top, and then some text is totally fine. Like I think people get paralyzed. been scared because they think, oh, I need to get a template designed and I need to, you know, what platform do I use and like, none of that stuff really matters. And in some ways, especially from an individual consultant person, you know, you don’t want it to, you want it to feel like it’s coming from a person, you don’t want it to feel like it’s some, you know, you actually don’t want it to feel like a mark, you know, like a marketing or sales email. Um, one other note, I should say that I didn’t mention before. So while I do recommend naming the newsletter, not after yourself, you know, like mine is the for the interested newsletter, not the Josh specter newsletter. At the same time, I recommend that you send it from an email that is you. So the email comes from Josh factor, even though the newsletter is named for the interested. And the reason for that, especially for independent consultants, is ultimately you want people to feel connected to you, you want it to feel personal. And so eventually, it sort of becomes synonymous, that they know like, for me, if people know it’s the for the understood newsletter, but they know it’s me, right, it’s not some company, because ultimately, I want them to hire me. And so I think that’s the same for independent consultants, the newsletter name is designed to attract people who may not know who you are, but the email that you’re sending from is designed to then get those people to know who you are,
Will Bachman 31:28
what are your tips around just the mechanics of a sign, you know, having a sign up for it in terms of, on your website, or, or wherever to make it easy for people to afford it? Good.
Josh Spector 31:42
I was just gonna say you should definitely have a sign up page on your website. When you describe it, this is the other key, you want to play up the benefits, not the features, right? So what you want to do is you want to sign up the copy on the signup page should be explaining the value they’re going to get out of it. Not so in life, you know, let’s say it’s the life science, business, newsletter, whatever that should, that copy should say something along the lines of, you know, sign up to get tips and tricks you can use to make your life sciences comm business grow or something like that, right? What it shouldn’t be is, oh, weekly collection of five links from Josh, about whatever, right, that’s describing what it is you want to focus on the value they’re going to get from it.
Will Bachman 32:39
And then what about any tips around just encouraging people to forward it to others and making that easy and obvious to do?
Josh Spector 32:47
Yeah, I mean, you can always reference it like it mine at the bottom, I say, you know, if you liked it, you know, share it, and people can subscribe here. But for the most part, like that’ll kind of happen. The other thing I would say about all this is, it’s not a short game, like when you know, it’s gonna, it’s gonna take time. But that’s fine. And there’s a sort of the patient with it. And, you know, set like, one of the things I tell people a lot is, you know, pick us, when you start out, pick a set number of issues that you’re going to send, and don’t even worry about how it’s performing until you hit that number, right? So that you’re not people fall into the trap of, oh, I sent two issues, and I’m not getting new subscribers and three people unsubscribe and maybe this isn’t working like it’s much better to go, I’m going to send this once every two weeks, for the next six months. And at the end of that I’ll assess how it’s going and whatever. Because as you go, you know, not only you’re going to get better at it, you’re going to be able to start gauging, wow, when I share this kind of stuff, lots of people click it. When I share this kind of stuff, lots of people reply, oh, when I did that someone reached out about hiring me. Um, you know, you’re going to get better at it, you’re also going to get faster, and it’s going to get easier to create. So I think in general, you know, you want to go into it with a bit of a commitment, so that you’re not every issue. You’re trying to figure out whether or not it’s working.
Will Bachman 34:20
Do you recommend having an archive of back issues on a website somewhere so people can go back to look at the old ones or?
Josh Spector 34:27
Yeah, I mean, you don’t absolutely have to, but I do you know, if you can, I do think it’s worth it. Um, and I think that’s the other thing, too, that people don’t realize is, you know, a newsletter can be an engine for all your stuff. So if you create it in a way that’s sort of modular, like let’s say you do, like kind of five summaries and links, you know, that could also be five social posts, you can repurpose all the stuff that you put in your newsletter. So the time that you’re investing in your newsletter, may actually be the same time you’re investing In like LinkedIn content, for example, right, you’re just switching up the order. So I think you can get, you know, you can get a lot more value out of what you’re doing. And by the way, I should also add, and vice versa, right? Your newsletter might just be you taking the three, you know that let’s say you’re somebody who posts on LinkedIn once a day. Well, your newsletter might just be you taking the three posts that did the best on LinkedIn, and repurposing them in your newsletter, because again, most people didn’t see them. So that you know, that sort of overlap. You don’t need to be adding sort of more work or content creation, you can be repurposing stuff, either newsletter to social or social, the newsletter.
Will Bachman 35:46
How about your first issue? So? You haven’t had any signups yet? So do you ask people? Do you want to receive my newsletter? How do you get the initial people to sign up?
Josh Spector 35:57
So a couple things. So most people probably have, even if you don’t have a formal email list, like you have emails of people, you’ve worked with former clients or colleagues or whatever. This is also where it’s super helpful. If you’re, you know, going after a specific niche, and, you know, it’s a lot different to say, Hey, I’m, you know, I’m starting this thing where I’m going to share stuff to, you know, help people grow their life sciences business is really different than going like, Hey, you want to get the will newsletter? Right? So you can just email them and say, one thing you may want to do is with that, in terms of people, you know, you can say, hey, just go here and sign up if you want it. But what I would actually recommend is say, Hey, I thought you might like it, I’ll send it you know, I’ll send it to you, if you want to check it out. Just let me know, like, make it as easy as possible for them to say yes, don’t even force them to go to a page and sign up. Let them just reply, say yeah, sure. Cool. Right. And then you just add them to your list. So that’s one thing you can do with people that you that you know, but yeah, that’s where you start. And I think also you can then once you send it to those people that like it, or, you know, most likely people, you know, some of them will reply and say, Oh, that was really cool. Thanks, whatever. Don’t be afraid to ask them and say, hey, you know, if you know, anyone who would like it, share it, right? And again, with all this stuff, make it as easy as possible. Yeah. So give them the link, say, Hey, you could post on LinkedIn and tell people about it and send them here. Yeah, and you sort of grow from there.
Will Bachman 37:35
Fantastic. What any other tips that I haven’t asked you about to, you know, as people think about, you know, creating this newsletter sending it regularly, and to your point around the same time and time, time each week. Any other things we haven’t covered? Ah,
Josh Spector 37:54
I mean, I guess I’ll give a couple sort of simple besides this sort of curated content, some simple kind of original content ideas. Any question that you’re ever asked? And certainly, if you’re a consultant, you run into the same question the same problems over and over again, any questions that you’re asked the answer to, it is a great piece of content. So one of the simplest ways to come up with content ideas is literally just make a list of 20 questions that you get asked the most often. And those are, you know, those are 20 pieces of content or social posts or whatever. And again, depending what you want to do, you know, that could be you just answer one. Like, here’s the most simple thing you could possibly do, right? Make a list of those 20 questions. Write up your answers to them, you know, in a couple paragraphs for each, have your newsletter be Each issue features your answer to one of those questions, and a link to one article or video or something you found that’s relevant that someone else created, right? So all you need to do is find 20 things and write 20 answers to questions that you already know the answers because you get asked them all the time. And that will give you 20 issues of your newsletter, which if you send once every two weeks, is 10 months. I think not good at math. But you know, so right there just by doing those two things, you have 10 months worth of a newsletter. How can that’s not that difficult?
Will Bachman 39:33
Yeah. No. I mean, that’s, that would be a pretty good start. Yeah.
Josh Spector 39:37
And I would also add, by the way, I’m talking about writing, but I know like, not everybody’s a writer, again, it’s just about delivering value. So if you wanted to answer those questions and videos that you record on your phone, you could do that too, right? Just turn it on and be like Hey, okay, I’m gonna, you know, and upload it to YouTube and then in the newsletter, you just share a link to the YouTube video. So, again, I think people are very quick to go A newsletter is not for me because I don’t have time or it’s complicated, or I’m not a writer. But like, none of that is you can shape it to be whatever you want, as long as it’s valuable.
Will Bachman 40:14
How do you curate? And how do you actually capture all these resources that you find? Do you use, you know, Evernote, or some other kind of storage tool.
Josh Spector 40:27
So I use, it’s incredibly simple, I use this thing called workflowy, which is literally just like a, it’s like a bullet point, app. But literally, you could do a Word document, you could do anything, I just when I come across something that I think is interesting, I just copy and paste the link. And then each week, when I go to the newsletter, I go to my list of links, pick the ones that I want to share. And that’s it.
Will Bachman 40:52
Very simple. And same thing for your daily.
Josh Spector 40:55
Yeah, yep. And I think also for people, that’s the other thing is that once you do, well, two other things. So one is that once you start doing this, you get so let me let me back up a second. So for my newsletter, there is no time that I sit down and go, I’m going to go look to try to find stuff, right? I read a lot of newsletters, I’m on Twitter, like I just come across stuff. And when I come across it, I just drop the link in that list. And then when it’s time to go to the newsletter, I have a bunch of links in there. So one of the things that will happen is, once you have this, you start to get in the mode where you’re like, Oh, that was an interesting article I read, I’ll save that to shorter share in the newsletter, or that was an interesting conversation I had or that person asked me an interesting question. Once you realize like, Oh, this is on, you just start to capture stuff that you come across. So it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t even take as much time as you think, to quote unquote, like go find stuff. Um, the other thing I would say that I haven’t talked about at all, actually, which to be honest, is the most valuable part of a newsletter even more valuable than getting clients and marketing and all that other stuff. You will learn so much, that will make you so much better at your job. Because you’ve created a system and excuse for you to go find articles, or think about the answers to questions, whatever on a weekly or bi weekly basis. So for me, if you think about it, like people always ask me like, wow, how do you know? How do you know all this stuff, and I’m able to pull up references and stuff. And I said, Well, you have to understand that every week, for 284 weeks in a row now, five and a half years, or whatever it is, I have found at found read consumed and summarize at least five ideas about how to grow your audience and business. And that’s not counting the ones that I came across that didn’t even go in the newsletter. So that’s 1000s of things. Forget what I’ve created, that’s 1000s of things that I’ve consumed over the years, really smart ideas from really smart people that have made me way better at my job than I would have been had I not done that.
Will Bachman 43:17
And you’re not just consuming it. But you’re also consuming it in a more lean forward way, because you’re planning on like, Oh, should I share this? And if I share it up to summarize it. So you’re kind of paying more attention to it. It just makes you more alert for good ideas.
Josh Spector 43:36
Yeah, one of the things I never realized before doing this is my recall of an idea that went in the newsletter versus some other, you know, something I read in a book or some article that Jimmy, it’s like night and day. And I think it’s because, you know, I just I come across it, I read it, then I then I filed it away to share when I went to go share it, I read it over again. Then I had to write to summarize it, then I shared it. Then I saw how people interacted with it, which is also super valuable because you start to understand their ideas and concepts and language that I know resonates with my audience, because I’ve seen how they react. And there’s others that I don’t that I know don’t, because I’ve seen how they react when I share it through the newsletter. So as a consultant when it comes to pitching clients and getting work again, that is super valuable because you’re you’re literally sort of doing market research and testing so that when you go to pitch a client, like I know what’s going to trigger that. Right? Because I know, oh, you know, this person’s a writer. And when I share this stuff, writers go crazy about it. Like that idea really resonated with them. So okay, I’m going to talk to them about that, right. It’s part of why my one off consulting calls have been sort of repackaged into clarity because I realized clarity The thing that a lot of my target audience feels like they struggle with, like, I know that it’s resonant. And I know it’s resonant, in part, because of the newsletter and content I put out there and been able to see the reaction to it.
Will Bachman 45:14
Josh, this was so much fun for me, because I’ve been such a big fan of yours. And you know, hearing it live has been awesome. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed it as well. We’ll include a link to sign up for Josh’s newsletter in the show notes for the interested, I highly, highly recommend it to Josh, what is that link?
Josh Spector 45:35
It’s for the interested.com/subscribe Perfect is where they can get the newsletter, and then my personal site that sort of kind of summarizes all the stuff that I do is Josh spector.com.
Will Bachman 45:45
Alright, so a lot, a lot of courses there. Some great, great pieces that to pay for access to. And I’ve, I’ve looked at some of those myself, I think I’ve paid for a couple of your different pieces, which I thought were great. Yeah. Josh, thank you so much for being on the show really enjoyed this conversation. Thanks.
Josh Spector 46:05
Oh, and I would just also add, if anyone, I love sort of interacting with people, so if anyone has any questions about anything, they’re welcome to email me, Josh at Josh Spector calm. And if they’re interested in a clarity call or more about my consulting stuff, I didn’t go to Josh specter comm slash consulting.
Will Bachman 46:22
Perfect. Okay, I’m glad you mentioned that because if you’re interested in getting some clarity yourself to help think about your own content. This sounds like a really valuable offering. Josh, thanks for joining. Thank you.