How (and why) The Ask Me Anything Show Became Newsletter Nation

I wrote last week in part one, how this would be a developing story…

This week I changed the name and branding of the Ask Me Anything Show over to Newsletter Nation. This is my explanation of why, and I think you will see how it fits into the story that started last week.

Have you heard of the AMA’s (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit? They are pretty popular, getting thousands and thousands of people joining for the live interaction where some famous person answers questions live as they are typed in.

The AMA’s always fascinated me — but I thought the concept would be so much more interesting with video. That was the genesis for the Ask Me Anything Show.

It launched in January 2016 with 5 pilot episodes and my main goal was to prove that I could actually live stream the interviews, and maybe more importantly for me… did I really want to put my time into this project.

The answer was yes, and yes.

But when I came back for the first full season (started here in March 2017) I decided to go deep on one specific topic that has long fascinated me — the business of online newsletters.

I know. I know. Most people give me a look when I tell them I find it fascinating. But for me — this is a topic that when I think about it, I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier.

Anyways — I did one really good thing with the Ask Me Anything Show, and I ran into one major hurdle that I didn’t (but probably should have) anticipated.

The good thing that I did (with a little bit of help from friends) is that I positioned the show from the perspective of “what’s in it for the audience” — meaning, the premise of “ask me anything” is that the audience gets to ask the questions — and answer their own curiosity. They get to be Orpah for the day.

But that is not what really happened. Hence my problem.

When I first launched, most of my audience was people that know or maybe even like me. They were tuning in to see what I was doing with this live streaming stuff. That was good and I will take any support I can get when starting up something new.

The problem however, is that people didn’t really get from the name, what the focus of the show would be. At first, I liked that because my own interests are pretty eclectic and I figured it would give me license to be all over the place.

Who did I think I was? Oprah?

Anyways — the deeper and deeper I go into the topic of online newsletters, and specifically curated newsletters, the more I realize there really is something here that people need to know and understand.

I am going to give you the secret sauce right here, and right now. But you probably won’t believe it when I do — because it is going to look too simple, and not worthy of being the life/business changing shift that it really is.

This is the point where you have to suspend your judgment for a moment… and give me a little bit of rope to either prove out a story that makes sense, or hang myself (figuratively).

Anyways — this is what I have learned, I know deeply in my bones, and that I want to share with the world (or at least Newsletter Nation):

1) From my experiences building the Wreaths Across America Facebook audience to nearly 300,000 fans (as of March 2017), I KNOW that most businesses are screwing up on social media because they are talking way too much about themselves, and not enough about what their audience wants to hear.

You see, when we flipped the switch to talking about WAA only 10–20% of the time, and the rest of the time featuring other organizations, stories for and about our veterans — our numbers (both audience and engagement) took off like a rocket.

We finally became a “good guest at the part” rather than being THAT GUY who stands there talking about himself, bragging about his accomplishments, and turning everyone off.

I don’t know about you — but when someone feels the need to build themselves up by bragging about what they do or what they sell and how great it is — I start to question if they believe it themselves.

This is why the world is turning off advertising in everyone way possible. We tivo the commercials. We use pop-up blockers and spam filters. People want to be entertained, informed, maybe even educated. But no one wants to be sold to.

That last line bears repeating.** No one wants to be sold to.** And that is why 95% of marketing is inefficient and producing less than stellar results. To me — a lot of what is happening on social media — looks like advertising when it should be a conversation.

2) The second things that I KNOW but the world doesn’t agree with me (yet) is that while social media is a great place to have a conversation — because that is where people are spending their time.

But it is a terrible place to try and sell people on stuff. Email however, is kicking butt with 40x the ROI of social media. That means spend a little — get a lot for your efforts.

And here is the key thing — when you merge the two ideas — they have idea sex and produce a perfect, sweet smelling little baby — it looks like a curated online newsletter.

Whoah — we just made a big jump there. I probably lost a lot of people, or the few people who even stuck with me to read this far. But if you did — what I am talking about is money in the bank (and I am going to prove it).

If you take the way people post on social media (when they are doing it right) they put up short posts, often with an image and and a short description of what it is, and why it matters. Then whomever reads that post can click for more, or ignore and move on.

Take that format — and use it in an curated email newsletter, and you have a legitimate revenue generating vehicle that can actually produce hidden profits (meaning new income) for many businesses and organizations.

How to do that — is going to be the entire focus of Newsletter Nation. Because it is that important to get some of this information out there to people. And amazingly (to me at least it is amazing) — no one is taking about this.

So I am going to. That is reason behind the change. I am going “all in” on the benefits and opportunities of newsletters because no one else seems to be talking about this.

At least people — when they see the live streaming videos, the upcoming podcast or the blog posts, will know what the focus area will be. I am happy to see the tire kickers and those who have no interest in newsletters pass on by. That saves me time, money and focus — for the people who really do want to see how their hobbies, expertise, and topics of interest can actually generate whole new streams of income.

So stick with me a bit longer if you will, and check out some of the upcoming and newly branded episodes of Newsletter Nation.

I am so excited about this — that I feel like I am on fire. And you know what they say, “when a man burns with passion, people will come from miles around to watch him burn.”

I am counting on it 😊

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