At first, I wanted to cry.
Three of my longtime readers unsubscribed from my blog this week. I didn’t know which of their notes was more cutting.
One simply wrote, “delete me from your mailing list.”
“Mailing list?” “Delete me from your MAILING LIST?” Is that all we’ve meant to each other? These essays are the result of almost 35 years of work, four published books, more than 400 ad campaigns, at least 4,000 client meetings, and speeches in almost every state and 17 foreign countries. This ain’t no stinking “mailing list.”
How dare they? Who do they think they are unsubscribing? I pour my heart and soul into each one of these weekly essays. Don’t they know that? Do they think it’s easy to come up with 724 consecutive topics? Let them try it.
“Mailing list,” indeed. Harrumph.
Another longtime reader accused me of political bias. When my anger subsided, I became defensive. I reread my blog post three times. Yes, I was talking about current events, but I worked hard to be observant and honest, yet, remain unbiased. How dare they accuse me of taking a position?
I won’t even reprint what the third deserter wrote. Suffice to say they included questions about my parentage. They also suggested I was the result of a physically impossible inter-species union.
I wanted to vent my anger, to tell my ex-readers how hurt I was, to show them how wrong they were.
Instead, I counted to ten. I reread the serenity prayer.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Then I responded:
“I’ve enjoyed having you as a reader. I’m sorry to see you go. You are always welcome be re-subscribe if you change your mind. Peace.”
In 2019, everyone is sick to death of the “me, me, me” posture of sales. Competitors stab each other in the back to make a sale; telemarketers make the 419 Nigerian scammers who spammed me today alone seem ethical by comparison.
Cooperation and compassion might be found near each other in the dictionary, but they seem to have no place in branding – even though the whole point of building a brand is to build a relationship with your clients and your potential clients.
Trust In Yourself
But by being true to myself, I have built the truest brand there is – a brand I can believe in. If I can’t trust myself to find my own voice, speak my own truth, and take care of my own readers, then what am I doing? If I don’t believe in myself, how can I possibly expect anyone else to believe in me?
I’ve never suspected – nor have I ever implied – that my posts are always right. Nor do I assume that my recommendations are always correct. Instead, the observations I make and the suggestions I offer are based on my view of what’s going on at the moment. And they are offered to my readers with three goals in mind: my blog posts have to be enlightening, educational, and entertaining.
If I can present my readers with interesting and useful information that can help them build their brands and their businesses, then I’ve lived up to my part of the bargain. And if they enjoy what they read, forward their favorite posts to other people they think would benefit from reading what I write, and occasionally send me a note to let me know what they think, then my readers have lived up to their side of the deal.
Sometimes, those notes are positive. Sometimes, they’re negative. Either way, I’m happy to get them because it means that I’m not just yelling into the chasm, but that I’m actually reaching people and building relationships. Even if they don’t always like what I have to say.
In case I haven’t told you lately, thank you for being here with me.