Why Writing for the sake of shock value could boost your unsubscribe rates.

I want to preempt this post with the idea that I am writing in from the perspective of a reader.  This post is NOT to tell you how to write your newsletters or blog posts…but simply to inform you of how they might be perceived.

I’m a little bit irritated right now…and I can’t totally put my finger on it.  I’m hoping that writing my feelings will help to clarify them a bit, so I apologize in advance if the thoughts are not strung together in a comprehensive way. (Truth be told…that also might just be the medication my doctor put me on today. *shrugs*)

A few minutes ago, I popped into my inbox to see what fresh hell I’d missed while I was out today…and sure enough, there was an email that stuck out like a sore thumb.  The newsletter was titled “Fuck this”.  Now, I’ll tell you RIGHT now, that is NOT what offended me.  I am actually QUITE fond of the word “Fuck”.


Yep…it’s the drugs.


Anyhoo!!  Intrigued, I gave it an open.  A short, three sentence paragraph and two links were all that awaited me. To sum it up, it was geared towards the Black Lives Matter movement.

Before you all get bent out of shape…I actually AGREED with the politics of the newsletter!!  But that is beside the point.  I ALSO agreed with the “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email.

Why? Because that is not what I signed up for.  I signed up for business advice, newsletter ideas, traffic tips…NOT a rally cry interrupting my business routine.  My mind was NOT prepared to make a decision on a political stance (which is what this newsletter was asking me to do)…it was prepared to learn how to boost repin rates!

So…what makes a shocking newsletter TOO shocking for your audience?  I’m no expert…so again, these I want to point out that these are all based on how I feel as a READER.

  1. A shocking title with crap content – Look…I GET titles.  I break down the importance of my title formula in this post. What I DON’T like, are titles that feel like a trap.  Titles that are intriguing and click worthy…but lead to a pile of crap wrapped in turd paper. What do I LOOOOOVE? Content that lives up to what I clicked on!!  This is the reason I recommend writing your content FIRST!!  Your epic title will not only be click worthy…but will lead to content I am expectation.
  2. A completely unrelated topic to your business – Oh MAN does this one piss me off!! The email I received today is a fine example. If I had signed up for a website that was politically geared…then this newsletter would have simply been opened and archived…or simply ignored. It would have been expected to some extent.  I imagine that, because of the title of the newsletter, the writer’s open rate was pretty good.  I also imagine that, because of the political and completely unassociated topic of the email…so was her unsubscribe rate.
  3. No value to your reader – We give out our email addresses fairly sparingly…so to say it’s irritating when we get an email that gives us NOTHING in return for our time is an understatement.  I don’t know about you guys…but I get AT LEAST 100 emails a day, of which maybe I will open 10-15.  SO…if I open your email, I want something in return!  I know it sounds selfish…but I gave you my email address, damn it!
  4. You write to the wrong audience –  Look, I COMPLETELY understand the writer’s anger over the matter she was trying to bring to my attention…I just don’t think she expressed it in the right forum. Would you walk into a client meeting and start talking about your religion?  Or your stance on abortion?  Perhaps your ideas on the current political arena?  No…because you don’t know your clients.  They are NOT your friends. I want to repeat that…THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!!!  If you wouldn’t have these conversations with your clients face to face…don’t have them in your newsletters.

It’s simple…I expect a certain amount of professionalism in my inbox (SHINE THOSE “REPLY TO’S”, SOLDIER!)…so if you break ranks, I will simply unsubscribe, leaving you with less of a chance to make an impression or sell to me.

Yes…your newsletter audience is YOUR audience, and you should always be yourself.  That is what attracted them in the first place!  But at the same time, as a reader, I don’t want to be preached to…I want to be taught.

Until next week, my friends…keep it professional and fuckityfuckityfuckfuck!!  😀

Terra Dawn

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The four reasons why I unsubscribe from a newsletter within thirty seconds...and why a particular newsletter made me mad. Click to read!