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I spent last Friday night sorting through a few packs of felt stick-on letters and numbers trying to make 12 sets that would spell Troop 4313 so that the next morning our Girl Scouts could make pennants to wave in the local Christmas parade.

That was after creating a big banner that read Girl Scouts Go For Gold and creating oversized trefoils—you know, the green clover-looking symbol of Girl Scouts, and also the name of the butter cookies they sell—which we lined with tinsel garland.

My daughters helped until they got crabby then I sent them off to sleep while I finished the search for felt letters and numbers.

The parade theme was Hall of Fame, so the girls were going to dress as inspirational female athletes.

I ended up needing to get fairly creative when the letters and numbers ran dry. It turned out that the 3 packs I’d bought could only support 5 or 6 pennants.

The girls figured out that 8s cut in half could become 3s before they headed off to bed.

Then I realized that, with some trimming, Es could become 3s.

And straight bits of letters could be 4s and 1s.

Hs showed promise as potential Ts.

It was a disorderly process when I began, but once I started looking for solutions they began to appear amidst a mess of letters and numbers.

I eventually had 12 packs ready for the morning.

And it was worth it (to me) to watch the girls assembling their pennants and solving the puzzle of felt pieces they’d been given.

I think most parents and teachers can relate to the sense of joy I experience when I’ve done the groundwork to create an enjoyable activity for children.

Beyond just the pennants, setting them up to decorate their float gave me that same sense of satisfaction. It’s wonderful to watch girls accomplish their goals, and I’ve learned along the way with Girl Scouts that it’s smart to break down their tasks based on how old they are so that the work of the project is a stretch, but achievable.

Getting things 10-50% there and letting them do the rest is ok.

It requires assessing what they’re capable of and meeting them there.

We should do the same in our newsletter content, right?

Or, at least that’s how I tend to think about writing and curating for an audience that looks to me for resources and inspiration.

It’s your job to sort through the fray and find the letters they need.

It’s also your job to find the unexpected fits that might need a little context (trimming/reframing) to be valuable.

To gather and deliver them, give guidance, and watch—with joy—as readers make their own pennants and wave them at the world from their places perched on tinsel-adorned parade floats.

Help them go for gold and cheer them on as they shine.

This week’s issue is a day late. Did you notice? I traveled to visit part of my work team in Memphis this week and chose to delay a day rather than send you a rushed draft. I hope you find the roundup of news and ideas below helpful.

Ashley Guttuso  Permalink


  Newsletter Tips  


Are You Taking An Audience-First Approach?

In this episode of Listen Up! from Indie Hackers, Ayush Chaturvedi breaks down the benefits of taking an audience-first approach in business building.

The article focuses on the experiences and lessons shared by Arvid Kahl, author of The Embedded Entrepreneur and Zero to Sold.

Here’s what’s involved:

  • Find the audience you want to serve.
  • Embed yourself in the community.
  • Find problems the audience experiences.
  • Build products to serve the community.

While it’s pitched as an overall business approach, I think newsletter creators will find that adopting a “who will I help and how” approach works better than “I want to launch a newsletter about things I care about.”

Dive deeper here.

indiehackers.com  Permalink


How Welcoming Is Your Welcome Email?

This Twitter thread from @JensLennartsson has proven tactics to help you convert people from free to paid accounts.

Discovered via Marketer Crew.

twitter.com  Permalink


How To Make Your Newsletter Newsworthy

I had a great chat with Anna Furmanov about email newsletters and she produced and released this 15-minute podcast summing up our discussion about what makes newsletters earn opens and engagement (hint: it’s more about the relationship you’ve been building with readers than how exciting an issue’s subject line might be).

Thanks for interviewing me, Anna.

anchor.fm  Permalink




Is Curation Actually Creation?

Maybe it’s time to stop contrasting curation and creation, and instead, acknowledge that curation is an underrated form of creation. This Digital Spark Marketing article might help us reframe our thinking.

digitalsparkmarketing.com  Permalink




Ways To Connect With Your Online Community

In this post from MIT Sloan, Sara Wilson takes a look at customer intimacy and ways marketers can build “digital campfires” to connect.

Discovered via Smart Brief on Social Business.

mit.edu  Permalink


Is Community A Buzzword?

Jamie Levy, Head of Engagement at Shopify Plus thinks we should focus more on creating opportunities to connect than on “building communities.”

Check out our discussion about how to foster meaningful connections from a recent episode of Subscription Ecommerce Live.

youtube.com  Permalink


Optimize Your Content For Email

Melissa Sargeant offers 3 email best-practices for optimizing newsletters in this article for Marketing Profs.

marketingprofs.com  Permalink


How Considerate Are You?

Sometimes, “marketing” has a negative connotation. But, Derek Sivers is reshaping that thinking and proving that marketing “just means being considerate” here.

Discovered via For the Interested.

sive.rs  Permalink


How To Get The Most Out Of Customer Interviews

Ryan Gibson of Content Lift helps B2B marketing teams run customer research interviews that don’t suck. My mate Jess Goss and I spoke with him about how we can do the same.

Check it out on YouTube (see timestamps to navigate to specific sections) or listen to the podcast version.

youtube.com  Permalink




What Writing Microstories Taught This Author About Marketing

Jesse Stanchak has written nearly 5,000 microstories on Twitter and is sharing the 4 marketing lessons he’s learned.

smartbrief.com  Permalink


Want To Write More Successful Content?

Try adopting these 7 content creation habits by Yael Klass.

Discovered via Social Media Today.

searchenginejournal.com  Permalink


Are You Writing At The Right Reading Level?

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Probably. But that doesn’t mean you should write that way. Ann Wylie discusses readability levels here.

prsa.org  Permalink




Grow Your Readership And Revenue With These Publishing Insights

As a publisher, chances are you want to grow 2 things: your audience and your revenue. This week’s publishing insights offer advice on both.

  • There’s a battle for audience loyalty raging, and newsletters are in the middle. Peter Houston reports on the trends here.
  • Not only do you need quality content, but WNIP reports that you also need distribution channels, monetization strategies, and an engaged audience to grow readership.
  • Could solutions journalism be the key to generating more revenue? Alec Saelens with The Whole Story takes a look.
  • The Federal Trade Commission is ramping up enforcement on subscription practices. Does your “click to cancel” make the cut? Sarah Scire breaks it down here.
  • As a publisher, you should be repurposing content. Learn how in this WNIP article.
  • In this Digiday article, Seb Joseph reports on what some publishers plan to do when sources aren’t properly cited.



  Money Matters  


Is There A Secret To Reader Revenue?

What is the ideal formula for community newsletters? Adam Stone is working to “crack the reader revenue code” in this Newsletter Crew piece by ​​Esmé Ara'resa.

Discovered via Inbox Reads.

newslettercrew.com  Permalink


What Do You Think Of These Wild Money Predictions?

How do you feel about far-fetched predictions? Jeff Wilser offers 7 wild money predictions in this article for Coindesk.

Discovered via theCLIKK.

coindesk.com  Permalink


Finding Meaning In The Creator Economy

What does it mean to be a “creator” in the creator economy? Nadia Eghbal unpacks her thoughts here.

Discovered via Ghost Newsletter.

nadiaeghbal.com  Permalink

Curated News

  Curated News   


Search And Filter Collected Links

Hey everyone, Seth from Curated Success here.

One of the benefits of using Curated is the ability to store links you collect for your newsletter in the Collected Items page. Then, when you’re building your next issue, you can sort through those links in one place.

We recently updated the Collected Items page to make it possible to filter collected links by category and search them for specific words or URLs.

How to use it:

  1. Log in to your Curated account and click Collected Items (top left)
  2. Filter by category or search for a word or URL
  3. Add a link to a draft issue by clicking the Move To arrow symbol just below the trash can (Note: you need to have created a draft issue for this to appear)

You can also see more accurate information about your collected links, including

  • Who originally collected the link
  • Who last updated the link and when
  • How the link was collected (i.e. manually, API, Slack, etc.)

Let us know what you think.



ICYMI: You can always check our Curated Public Product Roadmap to catch up on recent releases and find out what’s up next.

Don’t want to click through? Our recent bigger releases include Paid Subscriptions (0% commission!) and a Free Tier.


Opt In Challenge

  Opt In Challenge  


10 Deliverability Strategies To Try

This week’s Opt In Challenge is to consider the solid deliverability suggestions in this Netcore article by Jennifer Nespola Lantz.


“Deliverability is all about being a good steward to your customers.”

netcorecloud.com  Permalink


Like this newsletter?

Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at]optinweekly.com, or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.

Happy newslettering,

Ashley Guttuso  Permalink

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2527 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN



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