Take control: own some digital real estate
why you should *maybe* write a newsletter
Written by jack friks
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2023
exploring your curiosities creates a major basis for understanding what you actually value
I’ve been making a living on the internet for 3+ years now, but I only recently put together the pieces of how I can explore my genuine curiosities & document them on the internet with real impact.
& how to take control of the eyeballs who follow you. (this is kind of key to making an impact before your bones are turned to dust)
You can do this by creating your own piece of digital real estate & controlling the eyeballs who subscribe to you.
The key words “your own” — Own a domain (literally) & send people there to develop along with your interests over time.
Having a website is like having a storefront in many cases, a place where people come to visit your ideas, your products, or whatever else you have of value that people want (entertainment, knowledge, applications, etc, etc.)
On top of having digital real estate, & maybe even more important is having an email list. A list of people’s emails. Yep, “ancient" technology wins here.
I have an entire piece on why email is so powerful here, but don’t worry I’ll cover it in this masterful blob of text too, in a minute, because there are some important things you may need to note in order to “get it” - because I didn’t “get it” until recently & that costs me some major missed opportunities.
First to note: almost everyone opens their email multiple times a day, people read it, people click links, & people unsubscribe when they aren’t interested (this is what you want).
If they don’t, it doesn’t matter: You’re in 100% control of the people subscribed to you, what they see, when they see it, & where you send them messages from.
You can’t say the same for any social media platform.
Taking control & building something lasting
I’ve built a few youtube channels over the years all around different things as I was interested in different things over time.
Where I went wrong each time was starting from scratch
The thing is…. I didn’t really have any other option
Platforms like Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc, are all extremely limited or non-existent when it comes to forcing people to unsubscribe or unfollow you.
Therefore if you change your content i.e. your interest they won’t click on your stuff & most of what you create on the internet goes into the graveyard of low engagement while there is nothing you can do about it
This is where email & your digital real estate comes in:
Having an email list means you’re in control, & you can take your list with you wherever you may go next.
Having your own website or blog means anytime you say go to “yourdomain.com", people will over time know where to go to see your stuff * so long as you’re building your digital real estate & the traffic to it, it will even be seen as people pass by (organic searches)
Email to me is the most underrated tool for taking control here though, having just a simple list of people’s email who’ve subscribed to you that you can completely customize & segment.
A great example here: List copy-pasting & Using segmentation.
Just over 3 months ago I discovered the power of email, I started writing a newsletter & also discovered how much I enjoy writing, I was using Substack at the time but then decided “Hey this other platform looks pretty good too”.
The platform was beehiiv, my email list just needed to be copied & pasted over then I hit the ground running.
I quickly discovered on this platform the power you can harness when you have a simple email list.
This is going to come off kinda salesy but honestly, beehiiv made me realize the power of email even more so using segmentation. I set up a few parameters for measuring people who never open my emails & then run it daily to see if I have people I should consider taking off my list as they never open my emails anyways This way I can keep deliverability high & open rates too (which potential sponsors love)
Below you can find the settings I used on beehiiv, but you could also configure similar parameters using any decent email platform.
On top of email bosting by far the best medium of owning your eyeballs, paired with digital real estate (which beehiiv helps you sort out too, I stopped hosting my website to just keep it to my blog at frikit.net) there is a major factor of the long game at play here.
When you have an email list, or digital real estate via owning a domain & website you are building something lasting each time you put effort into adding or growing either or.
Your email list can always be emailed to direct traffic to any crevice of the internet, & your website domain can always be redirected to whatever you host on it so long as you own the domain.
These are lasting things that one could spend a lifetime growing & harvesting, rather than being stuck renting attention on the top social media platforms you can redirect it to your long game, to your own digital real estate, & the best part here is you can make it all about your own curiosities.
Why writing? + Other alternatives
The path I followed for years was to just wing it and click record on youtube videos, & this actually worked some wonders because it was always about things I was very interested in documenting.
But I missed out on Email because of my lack of focus on writing, & the opportunity cost of hundreds of millions impressions weighed against that... is well, a lot.
Writing is the basis for a lot of great things it turns out, for a few fundamental reasons. If you don’t think writing is for you: maybe it isn’t, or maybe you’re only looking at is as a chore when it could be something more transformative.
I’ll let you decide below & then ill provide some top-of-mind alternative paths to take advantage of email even if you aren’t a writer or don’t want to be a writer.|
First: the fundamental reasons why writing is the basis for great things.
Writing makes one think through ideas to get them across so others can understand them tooWriting helps structure an overarching point or message well as the writer can go back & forth between lines until they have something they want to publishWriting is the middle man of one person’s mind to another person’s mindWriting makes you think (most of us don’t think enough about what we have to say!)
Next: the “great things” in question
books, speeches, videos, inspiration passed down from one human to another, & pretty noteably… writing’s overarching great thing is that it holds the collection of all human knowledge at any point in history when writing was a thing (& even before in many cases)
Writing is the basis for all of what we know today, research, inspiration & much more. If it weren’t for writing things down we would likely still be in some pretty nonelectric times.
& finally some alternative options to being a “writer”.
I know not everyone wants to write a newsletter or document things on the internet, & that’s perfectly fine. There are always many ways of doing a thing, & different people want different things, so the amount of possible paths there are available to us is nearly infinite.
The thing about writing ironically enough is that it’s still a requirement at some point in any process or alternative route that seeks to avoid writing.
You can still run a newsletter without being a writer, or build up a list of people that you can reach out to in case any social media platform limits your reach (they all do because you’re stuck in an algorithm)
You could make youtube videos, click record as I did & just talk about your interests (I did & made a healthy living for a year or so) but at the same time lead people to sign up for an email list in exchange for you giving them something, or just being able o stay up to date with you.
You could avoid writing by having someone transcribe your voice into newsletters or you could hire a ghost writer.
No matter what you do though, you’re going to need to communicate with people, you’re going to need to write.
Another parting note: you don’t have to be a “writer” to write, anyone can make a newsletter & if its interesting, valuable, or entertaining to others then people will subscribe over time if you’re putting yourself out there. heck, there are many weekly newsletters out there with 10s or 100s of thousands of subscribers that just cover a few of some dude’s favorite books they read that week or a list of some bullets of things they learned.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be fun. You can write stuff without being a “writer.”
what’s most important in anything though (to me) is following genuine curiosity.
try booting up your own newsletter for free & test this whole email & digital real estate thing for yourself for absolutely free, click here & take the first step. (with beehiiv). — this is an affiliate link, if you end up giving them money, I may get some of said money. I do not promote products I don’t love & use myself.
Summary, TLDR & Wrap-up Conclusion
That’s it (for now)
See you in the next one, written from my mom’s basement,