Newsletters suck. I sign up for tons of things being promised the world and what do I get? Nothing but another sales pitch. Now, I understand that newsletters are in a sense, a marketing tool. They come from businesses, and businesses are in the business of making money. No problem. But come on! Do you really think that sending me a litany of advertisements over and over and over is going to get me to buy something from you?
Drive down the highway, especially an interstate, and you are bombarded by advertisements on billboards. Flip on the TV and what do you get? More of the same, each one louder and flashier than the next. God forbid you turn on the radio. . . Get online and its popup ads on website, website imbedding adware on your computer, 10,000 emails advertising the latest greatest widget or mail order brides of Russia. Ugh.
I watch all of my TV now through a ROKU. Why? No advertisements and I get to watch what I want when I want it. I installed satellite radio in my truck. Why? No ads and I get to listen to what I want, when I want it. Technology has given us the ability to out the ads.
So when decided to start offering a free monthly digest of educational information for photographers, right off the bat I hated calling the damn thing a newsletter. In real life a newsletter is something you get from your church. Newsletters in the inbox are just a steady stream of advertisements renamed to try and get their foot in the door to your brain. But what else do you call it? People are familiar with the concept of a “newsletter,” and EVERYONE is offering one.
Solution . . . come up with a name for the thing. Something that doesn’t say newsletter. Meaning, something that doesn’t say, “buy my product.”
On the left hand side of this web page, from now on your going to see a tab that says Behind the Lens. THIS IS NOT A NEWSLETTER. I don’t want you to buy anything from this. In a world where we must pony up money for even clean air and clean water and Coca Cola has tried repeatedly to buy the right to project their logo onto the face of the moon, this is something that comes without sale pitches.
Behind the Lens is not a newsletter. Do I sound redundant yet? Good. Behind the Lens is a monthly digest of information pertinent to you the photographer. Each month is different, there is not set pattern or format to the information. Lightroom and Photoshop techniques? Yep, that’s in there. In depth species profiles jam packed with detail information on biology, ecology, and behavior that is relevant to wildlife photographers? Oh yeah, that can be found there too. Gear reviews, location reports, thoughts on composition, lighting, metering modes, histograms, and anything else I can come up with regarding nature photography . . . that is what Behind the Lens is.
Over the last couple of years I have asked loads of people – both clients and not – what they actually want to see from my so called “newsletter.” Many folks have asked me to include at least something on upcoming workshops. I hesitate with this because I don’t want to be labeled just another bullshit newsletter that some photographer puts out. People ask for this so I want to give it to them. I just don’t want to make it the purpose of the email. So, at the very end of the email, you will find this information. Its short, its sweet, its to the point, its small, it’s the least important part of the email, and it doesn’t get in the way. But, all that information is there for those that want it… all the way down at the bottom, neatly packaged, and subtle.
Behind the lens. It takes me a lot of work to do this. Its all coded in HTML. Its slick and its professional. Longer articles are linked back to the website to make it easier to digest and so it doesn’t clog up your inbox with big files. Behind the Lens is for you. It’s a photographer’s resource. It’s the stuff that people asked me about, it’s the stuff that I think about, it’s the stuff that is important to taking your photography to the next level.
Check it out. . . if you don’t like it, you can just click unsubscribe.