The trouble with ‘newsletters’

I hate it when people ask me the question: So what is it you do?

A cocktail of adrenaline and tears rushes through my veins.

Do I give my pitch speech? “I help businesses build profitable, long-term relationships with their clients.”

That often works only in an elevator.

Or do I just come out and say: “I make newsletters.”

The trouble is, when I mention the word “newsletters” their eyes freeze over as they search for an escape route.

The conversation turns to the weather.

Guess it serves them right for asking.

You see, “newsletter” is such a terrible, awful word. I hate it. And I’ve been trying for years to find an alternative.

Trouble is, the synonyms I’ve found so far are also hateful.

There’s “ezine” for the newsletter’s email cousin, but to me that sounds like something a teenager would write.

Or there’s the “drip campaign” for the automated series of emails designed to help convert prospects. But that sounds like a water torture.

And then there’s “auto-responders”, which is basically the technology that delivers the drips. Where’s the soul in that?

You see, the newsletter – when done right – is so much more than some cynical use of communication.

When I contributed to the first Age of Conversation book (we’re working on Volume III right now – stay tuned) I wrote about a store owner called Peter.

Peter was old-school. He remembers the days when people used to drop by his store just for a chat. He knew everything that was going on in the neighborhood. He would refer people to vendors.  He would help.

He had a relationship with his clients.

I tried to say in my chapter that a newsletter should be just like Peter.

You see, a newsletter is about developing a genuine, long-term relationship with people by providing useful, entertaining and interesting information. It’s about sharing what works and what doesn’t. It’s about sharing stuff that happens in life. And it’s about a conversation.

A newsletter is about being part of the community in which your readers exist – be that local or virtual. It’s about being of service, for the long-term.

A newsletter integrates you into the lives of your customers as a valued, trusted partner.

Hmmm…that definition is 81 words long.

Anyone condense that into just one or two?