Building for everybody is as bad as building for nobody. By defining an audience, we can focus on activities that support those we want to help.
The Seinfeld approach to content creation
Okay, I’m going to admit it:
This is a newsletter about nothing.
With that out of the way, let’s turn this realization into something actionable we can work with.
I am not talking about this issue you’re reading right now. This one is about something. The previous 76 weekly issues were about something as well. The problem is that they were all about different somethings. I have covered programming, design, project planning, productivity, tools, and more.
Having worked in different industries and roles, I speak different work-languages. I speak code with programmers, interface with designers, and process with managers. This newsletter is me trying to do all three at once. That’s not a recipe for a good cocktail party, because two groups will always feel left out.
I have not picked a specific target audience yet, and it shows in what I’m writing about. If I had picked one, I could focus my attention on providing them with as much value as possible. Trying to cover too many topics with the newsletter means it is okay for a lot of people, but not great for anybody.
So who is this newsletter for? This weekly exercise in writing cannot benefit my readers if I don’t know what they are interested in. A show, newsletter, blog, or Twitter account about nothing is great at first. That exploration is necessary to find what resonates with both you and your audience. Once you have found that, consider going all in on that topic.
One way to learn what works is by looking at the numbers. Twitter tracks impressions and “engagement” on every Tweet. They obviously track likes, retweets, and replies. They also track clicks on images, your profile, and even hashtags. Email marketing tools track open rates. Website analytics tools track page views, bounce rates, and “time on page”.
Without these numbers, any changes we make are pure guesses. With them, they at least turn into educated guesses. We can take what worked before and do more of that while doing less of what never really worked.
If you ever find yourself in this spot, that’s great! Having many options to choose from is a much better position than not knowing where to start. Start that blog, newsletter, or Twitter account. Make them all about nothing for a while until you can learn how to make them about something.
To opt out of tracking scripts on websites, you can set the “Do Not Track”-setting in your browser. Unfortunately, websites are not required to honor it.
I have not found the best format for this newsletter yet. I’ll try a few different ones to see what works best for my readers.