👓 The power of perspective

Sometimes how you see (options, challenges, competition), can be more impactful than what you see. The right lens can change everything. This week, here are a few worth trying on.

💬 In this issue:

  • Pro tips. An experienced newsletter writer shares the practical strategies that stand the test of time.
  • Imposter solution. See how a small shift in perspective could lead to new opportunities.
  • Going deep. Uncover why "going viral" is a dying art — and what its sustainable alternative looks like.

⛰ 35 lessons from 35 years of newsletter publishing

CJ Chilvers is a veteran publisher who has spent time helping some of the biggest traditional news outlets grow their audience; then leveraging that experience towards their own projects.

Chilvers recently celebrated a milestone of endurance: over 30 years of newsletter creation. Their list of insights is full of valuable takeaways. Here are 4 that stood out:

  • There is no competition for your personal voice.

Personality, honesty, experience — these are advantages you bring with you into any niche. It's not just about finding a topic people are interested in; it's about having something to say.

  • There’s bravery in brevity. Small is considerate, difficult, and valuable.

Long-form is valuable, but not everything needs to be explained in thousand-word articles. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say less.

  • Keep track of what delights you about other newsletters.

Chilvers adds that delight > engagement. Getting people's attention is one part of the battle. The other part is keeping it; that's where delight comes in. Go the extra mile, take risks, do things that don't scale. When was the last time you were surprised by an online creator, and why?  

  • When stuck, apply another constraint.

Limits fuel creativity. If you're having trouble pulling a project together, cut down the available options.

One famous example of creative constraints is Dr. Seuss' book Green Eggs and Ham which, "was the result of a bet in which he was challenged to write a story using only 50 words." (Source)

🗞 Latest tips & stories

  • Stagnation: A local news publication’s founders talk candidly about how things are going
  • Why one YouTuber says it's okay to leave a successful project
  • Vimeo is telling creators to suddenly pay thousands of dollars — or leave the platform
  • A strategy guide for hyperlocal publishers
  • How BookTokers are changing the publishing landscape

🎭 How to reframe Imposter Syndrome

If you've been a creator for any length of time, chances are you've encountered the unpleasant opponent Imposter Syndrome. Harvard Business Review defines it as "a collection of feelings of inadequacy, and self-doubt, that persist despite evident success."

But startup founder and writer Shahed Khan thinks this pesky menace can serve a positive purpose when reframed.

Their tweet thread included these golden takeaways:

  • Everyone else knows more than me = I have the most to learn, and the most to gain
  • I was just lucky = I engineered serendipity
  • I’m not traditionally qualified = My perspective is different

Advantages and disadvantages are all about perspective. If the rules seem to be against you, find a different way to play.

🌊 Width versus depth

One of the ideas we feel strongly about at Ghost is that audience quality is more important than audience size. Attracting the right first 1,000 subscribers will produce better results for your business than attracting ten times as many disengaged people.

Campbell Walker explains this idea brilliantly in their discussion of width vs. depth.

As humans, we still want to connect to deep resonant art but with 99% of people just trying to go viral, a gigantic chunk of that market is now left starving for something good.
The discussion around depth begins at 9:44.

Getting crystal clear on what you want to make, for who, will help you avoid the shiny-object syndrome that often leads to overworking for underwhelming results. Don't let the content-treadmill win. Your work deserves better.

👀 Curators pick

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