I began creating a newsletter this morning in order to share with others the knowledge and experience I’ve gained and that has been holed up inside of me for the last few months. I keep notebooks with me to jot down the bits of inspiration and information I’ve read or heard or seen (I’m currently reading two books, started an Audiobook and am listening to several different podcasts on my trips back and forth to the barn). I have legal pads and binders that are filling up, not to mention all the files I’ve created on my laptop or “in the cloud.”
The service I use to put out newsletters is so kind and helpful. They walk you through it step by step. There are templates with divided boxes, headings and brief summaries of what you should be including in each section. They even ask you questions about the purpose of your newsletter like “Who are you writing this for” (my audience)?
WOW good question! Let’s see, I’m currently teaching riding lessons as well as horsemanship/groundwork lessons for horse owners and students of the horse. I offer Life Lessons with Horses for anyone interested in gaining more self awareness or work on personal/professional growth in their life. I have a MEETUP group which is a combination get together and lovefest for anyone interested in meeting horses and humans. Plus I sneak in a little self awareness and personal growth activities during each gathering. (the teacher, coach and healer in me can’t help it). And, I’m also offering kids and adults who are struggling with assertiveness, confidence and self worth a chance to come out and spend time with the horses, who, through experiential education, teach them honestly and without judgment what it means to be a leader in their lives. I have volunteers who are part of the “program” and benefit from the interactions with people and horses.
Then the template asks you, “Why should they care?” (what benefit will they gain). I found this question a little harsh, thinking, what do you mean why should they care? Isn’t it enough that I’ve taken the time to put this whole thing together and send it them. Apparently not. I have to give them a reason to read beyond the heading, actually open the email and click on the links. Because of course, it’s all measured by the number of HITS you get. When did getting hit turn into something we need to aspire to?
The last question they ask is “What do you want them to do”, the classic CALL TO ACTION which sounds like a video game featuring military maneuvers and high powered weapons. It’s marketing and advertising talk for how you plan to get your readers to engage with you and sign on to your latest offering. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just use the same strategy I use with horses and throw a little body language, focus and energy out to them and immediately get a response?
I can see nailing down the CALL TO ACTION and the why should they care questions, but my problem is that the first question, WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE assumes that I offer one thing-riding lessons or horsemanship training or coaching with horses or experiential education and facilitation. But, I don’t fit neatly into one category or brand. I’m like the award winning and hugely talented singer, Carly Simon, who shared on one of those podcasts I listen to, how she’s not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because her music isn’t strictly rock and roll. She sings jazz, rock, blues and movie melodies. She doesn’t fit neatly into one category.
SO WHO IS SHE REALLY?
So, if I was to explain where my focus is or describe who my audience is, I’d have to say….wellllll…YOU!
The you, who like me, is struggling to figure out why I continue to second guess myself about starting over again after 30 years in my career as a physician assistant. The you, who like me, wants a deeper, more honest relationship with the people in my life, especially my family. The you, who like me, wants to know how I can take all of the curiosity and creativity that is bubbling inside of me, take it out to the world and make myself and others smile. The you, who like me, has discovered that satisfaction and success is not simply measured by the amount of money you have, car you drive, the house you live in or your status in the community. The you, who like me, loves horses and wants to learn more about them, sometimes climbing aboard to feel the sense of freedom and connection that comes with moving with them step for step.
I am all of those people because I choose to be and if you want to join me then just HIT ME! Find me on Facebook, on the internet, on the street, at the stables or spending time on the road listening to the latest podcast on “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” or watching Mel Robbins latest video (at home, not behind the wheel), “The Real Reason You Procrastinate” or reading “Horse Sense for the Human Heart”. You don’t even have to love horses-I’ll still talk to you.
SO when I put my newsletter out this week and people begin to respond, I’ll know exactly who my audience is because they are the ones willing to step forward and recognize the YOU in all of us!