How was the start of this year for you? For me, it was a week filled with both fear and excitement.
With every email I sent, my palms were sweaty from nervousness and endless editing. But who knew? Nobody complained about a single typo or missing link (and there were a few).
On the other hand, you’ve sent me dozens of positive emails and comments. Thank you!
This newsletter is a roundup of the email lessons this week. You can expect a roundup like this every Saturday, and they’re meant to be kept as a handy reference.
So, what was this week’s topic?
As Simon Sinek recommends, we should always start with why. And that’s the question I set out to answer this week:
Why go through the trouble of creating email courses?
After writing educational emails for two decades, I believe email courses can be invaluable for learners to acquire new skills and habits, for creators wanting to build an audience and business, and for communities to grow and strengthen.
Let’s see why that is:
Email courses for learners
One of the criticisms I hear about email courses comes from learners. They often feel iffy about educational content delivered via email because it’s low quality and designed to get them spend money.
When discussing email courses, I’m not talking about these half-assed marketing bribes.
When done well, email courses can help learners learn new skills — habits even — in a manageable way.
See Tuesday’s lesson for how email courses can help you as a learner (or teacher).
Email courses for creators
You’re probably here because you create content, courses, or other products and want to sell them using email courses.
You’ve come to the right place!
But here, we do things ethically. There’s a reason I put the learners first in this week’s course, and that’s because everything is about them.
When you put your learners first, good things will happen to you as an educational content creator.
With your knowledge and wisdom, you can help people help themselves overcome limiting beliefs and negative habits. And if you genuinely help them, they will reward you with a business for a lifetime.
See Wednesday’s lesson for more reasons to invest in email courses for building an audience.
Email courses for communities
Once you’ve built a large audience, it becomes impossible to help everybody personally.
Your content is already one way to scale your teaching. But you can’t know (or learn) everything. Plus, your time is limited.
Thank goodness for communities.
Once your audience starts to speak not just with you but with each other, that’s a community. Keep the momentum going by sharing content that community members create and the questions they ask. Become a social connector.
A reader named Irene shared her experience of one particular memorable email course. It was for a writing challenge that she couldn’t fully commit to. But getting the daily emails made her feel like she was still part of the community and learning something. The fact that everything was delivered via email enables her to dip into the exercises and insights whenever she has time.
See Thursday’s lesson for more reasons why email courses can be great tools for cultivating a community.
Email courses for yourself
Finally, all of these reasons tie together for one big selfish reason: you.
Yes, creating email courses benefits you, even if you’re looking to learn a skill and are just starting out. By regularly creating educational content about a specific topic, you’re forcing yourself to learn and putting out a signal for like-minded people to find you.
Writing a weekly newsletter has been my favorite approach to learn anything quickly.
See Friday’s lesson for how creating email courses helps you learn new skills, make a living online, and meet friends for a lifetime.
What I’ve learned this week
Yesterday, I got a great question from Massimo (check out his site; I highly recommend it if you’re into design, education, facilitation, and Systems Thinking). He asked me what I have learned this week from writing and publishing these email courses.
I thought that was such a good writing prompt that I’ll share my answer here:
- Never write off an email list. The last time I emailed you was almost two years ago and was about a different topic. Over 1,200 people (out of 4,700) unsubscribed. But open rates are around 50% and rising, and I’m getting many positive messages (without any negative ones). This tells me never to write off an email list to start from scratch; some people will always want to hear from you.
- Prep well, but not too far ahead. I had written the emails in advance as I was traveling this week. But I’m happy I edited only a day ahead, as many of you asked me thoughtful questions and shared insights that made it to the lessons. So, while I plan to keep a buffer of ready-to-publish content, I’ll edit the day before to address your questions and suggestions.
- Engage with everybody. One of my principles is to interact with every positive message I get via email, blog, or social media. Until my network is so big that I can’t keep up, I have no excuse not to reply when you take the time and energy to interact with me. This is good manners, and having a dialogue with you has been incredibly motivating. Every time I get a message, I sit with a smile while reading and thinking of a reply. Thank you!
What we’ll learn next week
Writer’s block can sabotage you before you even get started. Many of you have told me you’re interested in creating email courses or a newsletter, but you don’t know about what.
That’s why, in the second course, we’ll go deep into how to develop content ideas.
From journaling to online detective work, next week’s lessons will be chock-full of actionable exercises you can keep and use forever.
Why are you here?
You’ve probably seen a few email courses in your time on the web. Some might have been great, but most were probably junk.
So, why are you here?
Please share your reasons for wanting to learn more about creating email courses. Reply to this email or leave a comment below. The more I know about your needs, the better I can help you.
I hope to read from you.