February 7, 2019

Meta-list Q&A

Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 8th, 2019

There are a bunch of new readers on this here mailing list, and a few have written in to ask some meta-questions about the list itself.

Things like: how I come up with content, why the daily frequency, and my writing process. 

Here are answers to some common questions:

Q: Are the emails a pre-written auto-responder campaign or are they sent out as broadcast messages?

After a short orientation sequence, readers are moved to the live daily broadcast. I write and send each message in real time - which explains all the typos 😁

Q: How do you come up with enough material to write every single day?

I don’t come up with the material, you do! 😉

One of the wonderful things about being involved in a vibrant and engaged community like this list is that people ask lots of questions. These questions make me think and hypothesise and test and validate. Pretty quickly, new messages materialize. It’s self-sustaining... I just have to show up every day and type a little.

Q: When did your list start to become self-sustaining?

Based on my experience - and anecdotal evidence from other daily emailers who I’m friends with - once you hit about 500 subscribers, the list starts to take on a life of it’s own. At that point, it almost feels like it writes itself. 

Q: Does writing every day accelerate your list growth?

No, sending every day doesn’t seem to be a growth driver. Appearing as a guest on other people’s shows send to be much more effective for list growth. 

That said, writing daily might have an indirect effect on list growth because it makes me a better writer than if I was writing less frequently, so... maybe people stay subscribed for longer? IDK... just guessing.

Q: What does your writing process look like?

I have fallen into a few different patterns:

  1. Inspiration strikes hard and I immediately type up something fully formed and send it.

  2. Inspiration strikes but I’m in the middle of something else so I just capture the crux of the idea in a Gmail draft and save for later. 

(Why Gmail? Because I’m always logged into it on all devices and it syncs instantly to all of them.)

  1. It’s getting late in the day and inspiration hasn’t struck or I’ve been super busy, so I dive into my Gmail drafts folder, flesh out one of my partially formed ideas and send it. These are usually the ones with the most egregious typos 😁

Q: How many drafts do you have in your backlog?

I’m typing this message on my phone and the Gmail app for Android doesn’t give a total count... it just says 99+. If I had to guess, I’d say there are at least 200 ideas in there.

Q: What ESP do you use to send the messages?

Currently, Drip but I’m experimenting with ConvertKit. Neither is perfect, of course.

Q: How many subscribers do you have? 

6273 currently, and that’s after a big purge - I deleted a few thousand apparently inactive accounts a few months ago. If you don’t at least read the messages, you get booted 👢

Q: What if I have more questions about running a daily making list?

Just hit reply and ask me! I read every single message and do my best to reply to each. Cheers! 🍻