TEI Talks - 2 - What is Daily Publication - edited
5:37PM Sep 19, 2020
Welcome, everyone to this next installment of ti talks. Today we're going to deal with the question what is daily publication?
And I think that that seems like it should be a six second answer to a simple question is going to be more like a 60 minute answer.
Because I think there's a much bigger larger question about how do you actually do daily publication underneath the relatively simple definition of what it is? So we're going to talk about that today.
So there's a few important points before we get to the answer to this question, what is daily publication?
There is, when you commit to this practice, the first challenge of the expertise incubator framework, when you commit to this practice of daily publication, you are putting yourself in a sort of tension between three things. And all three of those things are important. And they work to create a sort of ongoing tension.
And a lot of the growth that comes out of this framework comes from you agreeing to deal with this tension in an ongoing way. So the tension is between three things very simply working in public, attracting an audience and exploring the unknown. And this tension is unavoidable. Because for this framework to work, you have to work in public. That's like the non negotiable, you have to do it. thing. There's a little bit of flexibility in how you do certain parts of this framework, how you implement it. But working in public is an absolutely critical, non negotiable part of the framework. So working in public means you don't just write daily, you don't just do that you actually publish what you write. And I've never managed to successfully adequately describe why this is so important. But I'll say for now that it just takes you out of a category where you can cheat and moves you into a place where you just can't cheat it, everything is so much more real. When anybody on the internet, any stranger out there, can sign up for your email list and see what you're doing. It just it changes things in a what maybe seems like a small but a very important way. And so this part is critical. Oh, nice. We got our first spam comment. That's so awesome. It's critical that that you publish and work in public, if you don't, it's just there's something about it. That's not impactful, not real. And I think it is knowing that what you're thinking and writing can't be scrutinized if you don't publish it, and it needs to be published so they can be scrutinized. So you have to work in public. And I really think you have to explore the unknown. We talked last week about things like the expertise enema, where you flush out all the stuff that is known to you, that's easy to package up and distribute in the form of a daily email. You get that all out of your system, and then you hopefully, kind of panic and freak out a little bit. And then you hopefully push through that. And you get to this point where you realize you have more insight than you thought. And eventually, that takes you to some place where you're focused on the stuff that is risky for your clients in order to de risk it and create value for them. So you need to do that exploration of the unknown. Maybe not on day one. But eventually you need to do that. And you're doing this daily publication, you're doing all this work. At some point, you're going to say this happens usually later. Sometimes what people say at first is I hope no one ever sees this. This This feels so risky for me. I don't want anyone to ever see what I'm doing here. But eventually, you say to yourself, you know, this is what I'm doing is good enough that I would actually like more people to see it and so eventually you want to start attracting an audience. An audience of email list subscribers, etc and so on.
Eventually, you, you start to want more people to see what you're doing. And all these three things together create this interesting tension, where you're trying to do things that seem contradictory. That seemed risky, at least, like I'm working in public. But I'm exploring the unknown. What if one of my clients signs up for my email list? and starts to think I don't know what I'm talking about? Or you know, what if I lose subscribers, by exploring the unknown, I've attracted a small audience of 100 or so subscribers. I feel like I had to really work hard to do that. What if some of that work goes out the window. That's what we feel. That's how we feel this tension. That's how we experience it. And I just want you to know that if you're feeling that tension B, and you're doing this daily publication thing, you're doing it right, if you're feeling that tension. So if you do what safe and comfortable you'll not do one of these things you will not work in public can't, that's not allowed. If you're following this framework, or you'll choose to not explore the unknown, and you'll stick to safe topics, that's strongly discouraged. So you have to do all three, and you have to live in that tension.
at Cisco Live, and I, for the longest time just did the writing First, the daily publication first that really worked for me and my energy distribution throughout the day, I wanted to make sure I was giving the future value that I'm trying to create for my clients. I wanted to dedicate the best part of the day to that. Cheryl, last Cal, my wife asked how you deal with the emotional stuff that comes up? I mean, the simple sort of trite answer is one day at a time. The I think the the realer answer is you think about what you're trying to build long term. And you just have to at least I had to constantly remind myself, this is an investment. And you invest one day at a time, one little piece at a time. And the last thing I would say is try to make it fun. That really helped me so I had a lot of kind of zany fun with the stuff I was writing.
Oh, interesting, Frank. So if you have had that happen, I hope it wasn't a painful loss of a client. But that's Yeah, that's fascinating. I'm not aware. I think I've I've had what I've published cause me to lose opportunity and future clients. But I would view that generally as a good thing, because it comes about from articulating a point of view. But yeah, interesting. keep those questions coming, y'all.
Recently, I came across this talk by this guy, Larry McHenry, who's the University of Chicago Writing Program Director. He's an academia. The talk was for people who are on the cusp of leaving academia and moving into the so called real world. And there's a talk on YouTube. It's a recording of a lecture he did. And this was so helpful for me this talk because, well, I'll give you a tiny summary of it, because it'll be helpful here. So he's talking to, I don't know, master's degree PhD degree students who are, you know, going to be moving out of the world of academia into the real world. And they are used to whatever they write getting read and paid attention to. And there's this wonderful moment in the video where Professor McCurry pulled out $100 bill from his wallet and puts on top of, you know, something that would represent a paper that someone had written and you know, looks these people dead in the eye and says, This is what has been happening. This is the reason people have been reading what you write is because you're paying them to now you don't physically attach, you know, paper money to everything that you submit to your professor, but via your tuition. There being To read, and be interested in what you're doing. And so he's talking to them about this change that's going to happen whereby all of a sudden, no one is going to be paid to read what they do. And so they have to find a different way to create value for their readers. And this was really helpful for me, because it helped me start to think about what is happening with daily publication, which is that we are trying to balance several things, one of them is creating value for our readers or subscribers. So we'll come back to this idea quite a bit, as we move through this today.
Here's the simple daily definition of daily publication, you publish frequently enough that you're thinking about your topic, the question, you're dealing with the thing you're trying to explore, you're thinking about that every day. That's the simple definition.
The even simpler definition, as you publish something every day you show up at work. For a lot of folks, that's going to be five days a week, but could vary based on you and your schedule. So the simplest of all definitions is you publish something every day that you work. For most people, I think publishing three times a week at a minimum, is what creates this constructive obsession that we've talked about, where you are thinking about the thing that you're exploring, every day, as if you publish three times a week, you work five days a week, then on those, those two off days, you're probably still thinking about the the upcoming thing you're going to publish. And that's what we're trying to create here is for you, the publisher, the expert, who's developing their expertise. For your work for you, we are trying to create this obsession. Now, it's something different that we're trying to create for your readers. We're going to talk about that in a moment. That's the simple definition. One of the questions probably the most common question I get about this practice, what if I don't have an email list? What if I have no subscribers on my email list? What if all the subscribers that are on my email list? The last time they heard from me was two years ago? And they haven't heard from me? Those all revolve around the same question, which is, how will this thing that you're encouraging me to do to publish daily? How will it create value for subscribers in a short enough timeframe that they continue to be interested and remaining subscribers, or they are interested enough in becoming subscribers to my email list? That's really the deeper question that all those other questions are pointing to, which is, how can this thing you're recommending produce enough value that people actually want to subscribe. And that's one of the things that we have to do at some point, with daily publication because of republishing to no one. It's, I won't go as far as to say we may as well not do it. But we're missing out on part of the value. We're missing out on part of the value which is knowing that people are at least able to pay attention and to and scrutinize what it is we are writing. The other thing that we're doing with daily publication is focusing on cultivating future value in terms of our expertise. Another way to put this as we are thinking through stuff that our future clients will care about, we're doing it before they ever become clients, and that makes it an investment. And like any investment, the return is uncertain, we don't know for sure if it's gonna pay off. But what we're trying to do is to think about the kind of clients we might have down the road and think through how we can serve them by lowering risk or increasing ROI or something like that. So that's the long term expertise value that we're trying to create by publishing so frequently. We need to balance that against the short term, immediate value that we create for our subscribers. And by balancing these two forms of value creation, we make this practice sustainable. It is not easy to balance these two forms of value creation. That's part of the challenge and the growth that it can create. So let's talk about the reader or subscriber experience, I will use those two terms somewhat interchangeably throughout
the core question that we need to answer a here is what creates value for our readers or subscribers. And I want to tell you loud and clear, it's probably not what you think it might be. But it's probably not. This is an email I sent my list 2017 on a Friday, and I guarantee you, none of that was like super intentional, I would schedule emails to go out at a certain time of the day. But I, I'm sure I didn't choose Friday, for any particular reason. And this email created a significant amount of subscriber value, I'm going to read it to you and give you a little bit of context along the way. So this was at a time when I was doing a lot of direct response marketing. Through my email list, I was really, you know, pretty frequently having calls to action to buy my book that was you manual. And so this email starts might be saying digital copies of TPM are temporarily out of stock. So I don't have anything to sell you today. That's a joke, you can't really go out of stock on a digital item. That means I can use this email to get your advice on a pressing personal matter, do not hit reply until you've read this entire email. I'm 42 years old and I have very early stage man boob. How do I fix this? No, I'm not going to send you a selfie to illustrate, you know, just know that I can see the beginnings of a little sag that I could see becoming a real insult to my vanity after a few more years. And then the email goes on. I'm not showing you the whole email. This email was something I knew would be. I mean, I suppose polarizing not in the way that a point of view is but I knew some people would find it hilarious. I knew some people would be like, this guy just gave me the free snacks looking forward to unsubscribe from his list. And some people would just you know, ignore it or be nonplussed by it. And that's all fine. I really did have this question. I really was interested in input from my email list. I wasn't just doing this as a stunt. And that I mean, the response was at this still, this email still holds the record for the largest number of responses from my email list, it was well over 100 to a single email. And that has not happened with any other email, I'm quite sure. This email created subscriber value. It created reader value. For some people, it gave them an opportunity to share something that they've learned or had thought about a lot. For some people, it gave them a little laugh, perhaps at my expense, but that's fine. I'm the one who initiated it. And I use self deprecating humor quite a bit. For some people, it was a distraction from something they would rather not have done and let them procrastinate. And the list goes on and on. This email created subscriber value. Did it make anybody's business better? I have no idea. That is part of the point. But that's not the whole point. And understanding that is actually critical to understanding subscriber value. We're going to elaborate on this a lot more. This is another email that had value just copied from my blog. I wasn't it was easier to find it there. The stack of my inbox, this is a one sentence email. Now, to be fair, it's a link to something someone else wrote that I thought was interesting. But the reading time, that was the thing I was doing for a while where I was indicating the reading time is nine seconds. Obviously, that doesn't count reading the thing I'm linking to. But this is an incredibly short email. And if you think emails need to be lengthy to
have value, I believe you are not going to always be right, you're going to be wrong, or missing out on another way to create value that you're excluding. Because you, you see the length of the email as the primary creator of value. And that's not always true. So extremely short emails can have value. And then here's a response to an email. We'll read the response to you, I feel bad, not paying you for this email. This is an amazingly valuable, or this is amazingly valuable content you sent me. That's a subscriber saying this had value for me. And what they're saying had value was actually a lengthy series of emails. I don't know the word count or anything like that, but maybe somewhere around 10,000 words all together. And it's packaged as a series of emails. That's an example of someone saying this had value. And it was lengthy. And it was in depth, and it was challenging how people think about things. So that's an example of value.
This is an important point, when you start publishing daily, you don't know for sure ahead of time, what will create value for your readers, you just don't know. So you have to experiment and figure it out for yourself.
Somehow, the image I had here, oh, doesn't show up on the slide. Sorry, look at some beautiful ocean waves instead. So if you were here last week, you remember me talking about how impressed I was by what Patrick McKenzie was doing with his email marketing. And that formed for me a sort of foundational assumption, and an ideal in my mind about what emails should be like if you're going to publish to an email list. And that was my starting point, was seeing these long sort of beautiful, almost book like emails that Patrick McKenzie was publishing, that, at that time, created value for me, because I was interested in what he was talking about. And I was a sort of techie, hoping to learn a particular skill that he was sharing information about. So that was the context in which his emails created value for me. You have to remember, though, with the internet that one of the core problems of the internet is an oversupply of information. scarcity of information on the internet is not a problem. oversupply of information is. And what that means for you, if you're embracing this practice of daily publication is that you have to explore every opportunity for differentiation and value creation. Even if it runs contrary to your assumptions. When you start this practice, the assumptions you bring to it. World a big, complicated place. So is the internet and me too content where you're just where you're trying to imitate what you seen somebody else do. I don't think works well. You might start out there, but you need to evolve away from there.
So what about something that I think a lot of us assume is problematic repetition, over a long time in a series of emails, is that a problem? You have to remember that you're position. As the writer, the publisher, the expert is sitting a top, a content Pan opticon. You see all the stuff you've ever done, you're aware of it, maybe it's not all Top of Mind, especially if like me, you've been publishing daily since 2016. You've written a lot, but you have an awareness of everything you've ever published something about. And so you see the whole thing. And repetition is experienced differently by us sitting atop that pan opticon than it is by somebody who joined your email list last week, and hasn't seen any of this stuff for someone who feels like they need multiple iterations through to get a big new different idea. You have to remember your context as the publisher is different than the subscriber context.
Share last what I recommend to stop doing that me too thing. I have ideas, but I don't know if there'll be satisfactory or not, because all of them amount to, you have to figure it out for yourself. We'll get there though. So again, for me, you know, when I was reading Patrick Mackenzie's emails, they felt like a book delivered serially over email. And in that context, repetition doesn't make a lot of sense. Because with a book, you've got it all there, it's all packaged together, you can flip back to chapter whatever, and review some idea. So repetition in the context of a book is somewhat rare and weird. But in the world of email, maybe it has value. I just want to question that a little bit for you. There are other contexts Remember, I said my context, when I experienced Patrick Mackenzie's emails was I was sort of a techie wanting to learn a particular skill, there are other contexts out there. other contexts your readers might be operating within. And for them. Maybe that context looks like transformation, they're trying to fundamentally change something about themselves or their business. Maybe that context looks like they would like some encouragement because they feel alone or discouraged. Maybe the context is you're trying to sell something to them. And you don't mind pushing on some levers of persuasion, or pressure, or whatever, to make that sale. Maybe you are trying to inform them about rapidly changing developments in the news, or in the news of some specific vertical or sector where you operate. Maybe you are interpreting for them. The news, not just describing it, but interpreting it trying to help them make sense of it. All of these other contexts have implications for the value of repetition. In these other contexts, repetition might actually create value. So be aware, the context that you have been operating from, as you've experienced what other people do in terms of publishing things on the internet, and specifically publishing to an email list because you might create assumptions or beliefs about what creates value that don't translate or apply to your context, or more specifically, the context in which your readers are operating.
What about information density? Again, I'll reference Patrick Mackenzie's emails, again, those emails were highly, highly dense in terms of information. And that for him, for what he was doing for the readers he was wanting to reach that was a powerful combination, a really good combination. But, again, that's rooted in their particular context. And there are other contexts out there where a really dense in sort of conveying and packaging of information may not be the ideal thing for creating reader value.
For look at someone like Seth Godin, he publishes daily, nice emails, I would say usually are kind of medium information density, sometimes there Almost a little bit cryptic or poetic. And they're almost always quite short. And they do make use of a significant amount of repetition over time. I think you could argue that for him, that's been a very powerful combination that's created a lot of reader value. So, question your assumptions about information density,
content, information, density, repetition, length, these are just some of the elements of style for emails that are published daily. Here's an incomplete list. I'll read these out. And then you can read them yourself. But I got to have something to do here. So there's, you know, teaching maybe your emails or about teaching or informing or explaining. It's almost it's like a whole genre of you know, what an email could look like. Maybe you're trying to inspire people to make some kind of change. Maybe you're using humor, that's another element of style that you'll see appear. Light entertainment distraction, you see that? Trying to create surprise, discovery, Wonder or delight, that's the thing you'll see. reassuring people that they're not alone, or they're right to see something this way, kind of creating a feeling of solidarity. That's another element of email style, or challenging their viewpoint, trying to, as you see me doing here, help you question how you might see things now, comforting them de escalating, there's feeling of anxiety about something. And then, of course, you can mix and match all of these. Again, this is an incomplete list. But these are some of the elements of style that you will see people incorporate into emails that they publish. When we flip things around, and look at, not the input, not what goes into the email, but what comes out of it. There's really three categories. And these are the ways that you can create value for your readers and subscribers. So the first outcome, or category of outcomes is more effective action. So they might gain competence or skill or expertise. By being on the receiving end of your emails. That would lead to more effective action, they do a better job of something. The other thing, the other means by which you might create more effective action for them is helping them manage risk.
The second category of results that could lead to value for your readers or subscribers is a changed emotional state. So maybe you comfort them, maybe you help them calm down about something they don't need to be worried about. or alternately, maybe you create what I love calling productive discomfort. Maybe you help them become worried about something they need to be worried about and change and make better. Or maybe you help them avoid discomfort that's already there in their life. Maybe you help them procrastinate. I'm not saying that that is like the best thing for them. But it does create value. I mean, you could argue Facebook wouldn't exist. If we didn't seek the value that we experienced from procrastinating. That's a bit of an overbroad statement. But I think you get my point. And then there's flat out enjoyment of just like Well, I was feeling crappy. And then I saw this read this thing that made me feel better. And now I'm enjoying my life more, that is a form of reader or subscriber value. And all of these comforting someone creating productive discomfort, helping them avoid existing discomfort and creating enjoyment for them. These are all changing your readers emotional state, that creates value. Does it make their business better? In some kind of like immediate cause effect way? You probably could, would have great difficulty measuring that. And you probably could argue that you did or you didn't. It's an ambiguous thing, but did it create value for them. Yes. Now one of the things that I should point out here is that nothing you can ever do on an email list will create the same amount of value for every subscriber simultaneously. That's just one of the fundamental realities of sending emails to a group of people is that they're all going to have their own experience of them. And so, don't think that the measurement, the goal here is creating an equal amount of value for absolutely everybody on the email list that doesn't ever happen. That's just the realities of an email list.
The third category of value creation for your readers is a changed mental state. So you might be helping them see something in a more effective way, insight, you might be giving them a way of seeing the world like creating a new model or a new framework for them to see things through, or just perhaps, maybe not all at once, but perhaps gradually, entirely changing how they see everything, changing their whole worldview. Those are all ways of changing a mental state, you might give people new ideas, you know, you're not really fundamentally changing something about how they see things, but you're giving them new options for seeing things or new ideas to think about. Those all contribute to a changed mental state. Let me just quickly run back few through a few things before I get to this slide. There's three categories of outcome. And the outcome are really what create reader value, but there's all these sorts of inputs, Elements of Style that can go into what you write and publish. And what I've observed is that there are absolutely no impossible combinations of these that, could you use humor, to create insight, for example? And the answer is absolutely yes, you can. I've seen people do it. There's a guy I'm thinking of. I'll talk about him more in a future ti talk. His name's Matt Levine, he writes a column for Bloomberg called money stuff. And he uses a lot of humor, very dry humor. And combined with other elements as well. But there's a really significant role, I think that his humor plays in creating insight. That's not an impossible combination, it would seem like the insight is a serious thing, this weighty, substantial thing. And it would seem like you could never use humor, or the the style element of humor to create insight. But if you thought that I would argue that you're wrong, you absolutely can see those two things together. Attempting to teach somebody but creating the outcome of procrastination. I've seen it a lot. I've probably contributed to this quite a bit myself. You know, we imagine someone who what they really need is to take action. But all our teaching does is let them procrastinate on taking the action they need to take. That's not an impossible combination. I think it's quite common. Again, I would argue that any combination of those outcomes change mental state changed emotional state, etc. and input you'll find it somewhere.
Were hopefully a little more than halfway through here. But little quick summary. And yeah, BHK news. It's not easy to use humor. It's so I mean, maybe a better way to state it is like there's a million ways to misuse humor, and kind of screw things up. And I've done some of that myself. I'm aware of that. But so yes, you're right. There's no but there you're absolutely right. I think that's an important point. Well, the but would be Don't, don't let that stop you from trying it. But yeah, the real masters are, have put in an incredible amount of practice. To get to that point. quick summary, there's a lot of things that can create value. There's not just one formula that creates reader value and probably you've experienced like been on the receiving end of something, some kind of email list. has created a lot of value for you, whatever, you know, formula they used, whatever approach they used may not work for you with your subscribers. So imitating what you've seen done, it's not a bad way to start. But you may have to drop that combination of style factors that you see someone else using as you seek the creation of reader value. There are surprising combinations out there all over the place. And I would argue that people who are really effective at creating reader value with unexpected Elements of Style really have an edge in standing out on the internet. You don't know what's going to create reader value for your subscribers. So you have to experiment. And you need to question your assumptions very heavily, I think.
I have this perspective for a particular reason. It's not just, you know, something I could clip to be interesting, I really believe this stuff. And the reason I really believe it is that I fundamentally, I believe that the kind of business we all run is relationship business. That's kind of obvious. But what that means is that the expertise that we're working to cultivate here is actually secondary to the relationships, the relationships are this critical conduit for the delivery and application of that expertise. So if you just think about maximizing your expertise, then reader value is going to look, a really particular way for you is going to be pretty high and information density, etc. But I think if we look at this through the lens of trying to build trusting relationships, and also cultivating expertise, then we get this much longer list of tools that we can use to, to do that. That's why I have this particular perspective. I'll remind you, again, and again, throughout this lecture series, that the stuff you know, that I'm talking about is interesting. Hopefully, it makes things a little easier for you by knowing what to expect. But there's only one way you will get better at doing any of this. You know what the answer is, even before the words leave my mouth, which is actually doing it. That's the answer publishing a lot, ideally three times a week or more. That's how you get better at creating reader value.
Let's talk about the other side of things you the publisher. So when I say publisher, I mean you you're the person who's writing the emails and putting them on an email list, you're the publisher. Let's talk about your experience.
Here are some questions that I think guide you to maximizing your experience as the publisher and their phrases questions, not answers, because everyone's answer is going to be unique to them, and possibly different as a result. So what builds habit for you? habit? Being the key word there? What what what will sort of grease the rails lower the barriers to building a habit that you can stick with? That's the first question. What creates flexibility so that you are not locked into a sort of maximal effort version of this practice, but you can flex the effort up and down with the changes in your life? What would help you explore your topic more deeply through publishing? Would using unconventional things like humor helps you with that? And finally, what ultimately helps you become productively obsessed with this topic? Those are the questions that are always in the back of your mind. If you really seriously embrace this daily publishing practice, these are the questions that will help you maximize your end of things. So I think you should do anything that helps you answer those questions and let me give you an incomplete list of things that you might do. I am going to touch on each one of these in more detail. So I'll just take a drink of tea and then read them to you
You might unbundle I'll describe what I mean by that in a minute. You might express things as series of emails, sort of implicit serials, you don't commit to them, I'll talk about that in a moment. You might be more like a woodpecker than a chainsaw. You might repeat yourself, you might free yourself from needing to have all the answers or even most of the answers, you might consume the low hanging fruit, you might fall back to curation instead of original thought you might make use of multimedia storytelling, extreme brevity. And you might do what is perhaps the hardest of all, for most of us, which is embrace the sort of wrongness or imperfection in what you publish. Talk about each one of those here in turn. So one of the expectations that I can really identify with, that you might bring to this practice of daily publication is the idea that emails have to be complete in a certain way. I'll use the example of writing a book, if you're going to write let's just focus on a business book. There are these elements that you expect to be present in the book, things like well, it should have a cover, not just a, you know, blank, white page. But there should be some kind of cover there that tries to hook you or pull you in or convey something about the book, at least the basic information about the title and the author. There should be an intro, it's become popular in business books, as of late to begin, each chapter was some kind of attempt at an engaging story. And you know, there's other elements too, I'm not gonna spend a lot of time describing the genre of a book. But you could look at a book as a bundle, a collection, a package of those elements. And if one of them is missing, you feel like something's missing from the book. And the book doesn't operate. As all those elements spread out and unconnected, it connects them together, you might come to the idea of daily publication with this idea that, oh, an email needs, like a really great intro, and then a really great conclusion. And then the part in between needs to look a certain way. And that's fine. But that's an assumption where you have bundled together these elements that don't necessarily have to all be in the same. Excuse me, they don't have to all be in every email that you publish. You can unbundle things. So maybe the intro is the first email, and then the next email in a series explores the next part, and on and on, and then you conclude it, and it's not all bundled up in one email, and you just sort of improvised the series as you were going. That's unbundling. And again, it's really about questioning your assumptions about what should and has to be in the email. The other I described as woodpecker ring that tree by which I mean, if you ever seen a woodpecker do their thing. They're kind of pecking away at this thing that's much bigger than they are. And they're using their beak to do something I didn't know until a few days ago, I've never really bothered to ask myself, why did woodpeckers Do what? Why did they Peck away at trees? There's a lot of articles on the internet that explain there's good reasons they're doing that they're looking for food, they're sometimes trying to create a Nast, etc. There's a good reason they do it. But you might get into this daily publication practice and feel like your question your topic, the thing you're trying to develop deeper expertise in, is like huge, and, like overwhelming and you know, like bigger than you could ever deal with. And so you might feel like you're just kind of pecking away at it bit by bit in a really unsatisfactorily way. And what I want to say is, that's fine. Like, if you said, I can't do that, then you would probably never publish because you wouldn't want to publish anything that feels incomplete, or that feels unbundled. And I agree, Josh, Earl is is really great at doing this sort of thing. He's a good example, too, if you want to see someone doing daily publication to subscribe to not sure what the web address is, but he should be pretty Google Abul. So that's one thing you can do
under in service Doing anything that helps you answer these guiding questions, what's going to build habit was going to create flexibility? Well, one of the things that can do that is unbundling. Oh, thank you for that. That's I don't remember if he was always operating under his personal brand or not. Anyway, good on him. Another thing that can create flexibility, help you build habit basically help you execute this practice. And let you have the latitude and the flexibility that you need to explore your topic is repeating yourself.
You can free yourself from needing to have all the answers. Maybe there's something about publishing something online. And knowing that anyone on the entire internet could see it. Maybe there's something about that that makes you feel like you have to have all the answers. That's an assumption, I think what that will hold you back, you do not have to have all the answers. So free yourself to explore and try things. Last time, the previous lecture, we talked about this idea of the expertise Anima. Which really is you saying, What's the low hanging fruit here, I want to publish to this email list, I want to create a subscriber value. You're also wanting to deepen your expertise. But you start with the stuff that's easy for you to reach out, package up and publish. That's the low hanging fruit. That's the stuff you're comfortable with that you know already. And you know what, of course, you should start there's no reason not to. But you'll eventually move beyond that. But Wow, in there, especially in the early days where you're kind of building up habit you definitely want to reach for and make use of that low hanging fruit. There are that well, that one sentence email I showed earlier. That was curation. That was me taking all the stuff I read, which every now it's not a lot every week, but some weeks, it's a lot of stuff I come across online, etc. and pulling out something that I thought would be interesting and relevant to my subscribers. And I was curating for them. curation frees you from needing to do a ton of original thinking. And some people are really good at just curation. And and that's not really what the expertise incubator is about. Because you're not doing original thought, and original thinking and exploring, I mean, you are doing some exploring when you're creating, but you're not doing the original thinking and thought. And so having an email list that is just curation. That's not what you want to do. But falling back to curation is absolutely something you should do. To keep up the habit of publishing to an email list. How much I don't know it's up to you, you're gonna have to figure this out for yourself. But don't resist using this tool of curation, because it can help you create subscriber value.
Cheryl, I would bet 80% of the people who ever watch this video, have that same kind of perfectionist. And yeah, flux engineering, I think, summarizing interesting articles or books can also mean through the lens of reader value that can create reader value, for sure. And you know, of course, there's an art to it. And if it's not something you do regularly, you'll do it the way I do, which is clumsily. And, you know, not not something necessarily right at home about but I think it can create reader value for sure. And so it's something to consider and add to this list. for quite a while I was focused on this idea of like how do you specialize what is a good market position look like I'm still you know, it's still part of what I help people with but my focus has moved to other things. Because I feel like I've got a pretty functional understanding and a good model for how this specialization and and market Position thing works for small service companies like ours. But when I was in the thick of that, I would just be out in the world and see something and be like, Wow, that's a pretty good example of this idea. And as you know, have a smartphone with me as snap a photo, and then I would turn that into an email list or to an email to my email list. And what I'm showing here on the screen is, is an example of that kind of multimedia email. I'm not sure every topic would be really suited to this, but some are. And so consider it a on an item in your repertoire of things that give you flexibility and, and help you create reader value. storytelling, I think, is another one, I was doing a lot of this for several years and have been doing less of it, as my focus has shifted. But here's an example of me telling a, I mean, arguably a pretty mundane story about going to the radio shack and the little town where I used to live in California Sebastopol. And, again, I would do this a lot. You see a lot of folks do this, where, especially if if the goal of the email is to sell something, you'll see a lot of folks kind of warm up the readers with a story. And it's a tool that can be used for that purpose, it can also be used for other purposes to just make the email more interesting and engaging. And we're not all good at it. You know, I had varying degrees of success with this. But it's a tool that should be in your toolkit. And you should experiment with using. Again, we're trying to balance these two things that are sort of I mean, these three things that are intention. But the two that I'm focused on right now, the tension I'm focused on right now is between cultivating deeper expertise, and creating reader value. And so you have to do a little bit of both, not 50% of each at all times. It's a dynamic balance that's always shifting back and forth between the two. But you have to do both. And if storytelling helps you do it, you should avail yourself of that. Extreme brevity may also help. Not every time. There's that saying, that I think is attributed to Mark Twain, if I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. And so packaging insight into really short, concise form is tremendously difficult and time consuming, at least at first. And then you kind of get your beats and your lines, and you know how to say these things that say a lot and a little bit at first, it's very high effort to do that. But things like curation, or you know, I just had the salt the other day, and you know, it just like, really extremely brief females can create reader value and can relieve you from the effort of having to write longer emails. So that should be in your toolkit. And finally, I know this is hard for all of you, it's hard for me. Embrace to a certain extent, the raw, the imperfect, incomplete, the unfinished.
Now not talking about, oh, you have like incomplete sentences in your emails. That's not what I'm suggesting. Incomplete thoughts, though, or you didn't quite explain it all the way or perfectly, or the email wasn't edited six times. That's fine. Because what you are doing is you're kind of like that woodpecker pecking away at this big question, this big topic, this thing that you think, if you can figure it out, we'll make things better for your clients and your future clients. Let yourself not succeed every time let yourself make incremental progress that may feel to you like the emails are raw, imperfect, incomplete or unfinished. Again, not talking about like basic grammatical stuff here. And I'm not talking about stuff that's so flawed that no one on your list could possibly get value from it. I am instead talking about that third ideal of the expertise incubator, which is to be okay with imperfection, to embrace self forgiveness, to let yourself fall short in service of the progress you're trying to make in the future expertise that you can cultivate.
Here's the question we're ultimately trying to answer. Where is for you this good overlap between maximizing the reader experience of value of creating value for the reader and maximizing the publisher experience of making this thing that takes time and effort and focus and discipline, sustainable, and make it serve your ultimate goal, which is cultivating deeper future expertise value? What does that look like? You know how to get there, because I've said it a million times.
One day at a time, publishing one email to a list every day you work, or often enough that you're thinking about it all the time. That is how the path to reader value unfolds. And so as you are working on getting there, remember that it's not a straight line, you're kind of meandering along a cow path that becomes a road. And remember, it feels risky. Okay, this is not the last final lecture in this series. By the way, I'm going to give you more examples. I'm going to talk about some of the more sort of tactical aspects of doing this. I'm going to talk about what happens when you get further down the road. So there's a lot more to talk about here. But you already know the answer about how to get there. You don't know what it's gonna look like to arrive there or where you will arrive exactly, but you know, the way which is to publish one day at a time. Thank you for being here. I'm going to hang around, we can chat. But that's it for the lecture.