Summertime, And The Skipping Is Easy

I know what you’re thinking. It’s July, and it feels like everybody is on vacation.

Wherever you look people are coming in late and leaving early, some of them — if they happen to work for Blue Penguin Development — not even bothering to shave on Fridays. Who’s going to notice if you simply skip publishing your newsletter for a month or two and pick it up again in September?

The answer: Nobody.

Unfortunately, you’re asking the wrong question. Because while it’s true that nobody but you knows when you’re supposed to publish (or will realize when you don’t), I can think of at least two good reasons for not going dark with your newsletter over the summer.

Reason #1: There’s less competition for the attention of your readers.

Take a look around. In the summer there’s a deafening lack of scheduled business events, professional workshops, press releases, product announcements and company meetings. Sure, in any given week some people are on vacation, but most people, most weeks, aren’t. Most of us are still working, and it’s easier to reach us in the quiet of summer, when the volume of information dropped onto our desks each day has been greatly reduced.

Reason #2: That slope is slippery.

I like to kid my wife Linda about the fact that she never eats any candy. I don’t mean usually doesn’t eat candy — I mean absolutely never, ever, under any circumstances. You could invite that woman to a Halloween party at Willy Wonka’s house, and I can assure you that when the tray of Blue Jelly Furballs (or whatever) gets passed around, she would shake her head and politely decline. As Linda explains however, it’s not because she doesn’t like candy; it’s because she finds it easier to eat none than to try and eat just one.

By the same token, once you grant yourself permission to skip the publication of just one issue, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier to find good, reasonable, “business reasons” for skipping more and more of them. Particularly if you’re in the first year of publishing (when the routine of a monthly issue is not quite yet set in stone) you are playing with fire if you allow yourself to let up the pace.

Bottom Line: I know it can be hard to get your newsletter out the door month after month, and the fear that “nobody’s listening anyway” is never greater than in the middle of summer. I can assure you however, that it’s just an illusion. People are listening, and summertime is a great time to gain new readers and win back old ones. Keep going!

P.S. In case you’re thinking of saving some time this summer by republishing old newsletters from your archives, I beg you to think twice before making this other common warm weather mistake. Nothing says, “you’re not worth my time” faster to a reader than getting halfway through an article, only to realize that she’s reading something you sent her once before. Like resending last year’s birthday card to your mother, believe me, it will do more harm than good.

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