An Example of a Newsletter with Personality

If you don't know about HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and you are interested in getting media coverage, then check it out. Basically, it's a service that connects journalists (who are looking for sources for stories) and PR people/companies with products seeking publicity. It goes out as three emails per day. Very simple. Very effective. And free.

But I'm not here to write about HARO per se, more about the element of personality that HARO's creator, Peter Shankman, has put into the product.

I believe that this personality accounts for much of HARO's success.

Here's the thing: it's very easy to be "corporate", to make your project or service very polished, very professional…and very bland. Almost all products are like that – which makes it hard to tell one from the other and even harder to feel any kind of bond between you as consumer and the product itself.

What Peter does with HARO is remove the corporate veneer. Instead, he adds his own personality.


  • Sharing what he is doing every day. (And he does interesting stuff – this isn't "got the car fixed" type of content.)
  • Writing in a friendly, recognizable style. It helps that he's a good writer, of course. But the key thing here is that he writes like he speaks. Informal. Friendly.
  • He creates interaction with readers, through giveaways and message such as "I'm in Boston today – anyone got time for a coffee at noon?"
  • He's built and maintained a strong ethos for the product. For example, people who abuse the product can get kicked off the list. And perpetual abusers are named and shamed.
  • The email "from line" is Peter's name – not a corporate name.

This is the kind of personality you should infuse into your newsletter. Instead of being corporate, be you.

You might offend a few people (people you'd probably offend in person) but you'll attract many more.

(For more on adding personality to your newsletter, read this post.)