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Lesson 2: Types of Modules
Lesson of the Week:
Types of Modules
Last week, we introduced the concept of the Minimum Viable Newsletter. The idea is to fit the newsletter to your lifestyle, not the other way around, so you can stick with it.
The best way we have found to create the minimum newsletter is to break it down into parts. Each part of your newsletter you can think of as a module.
You should be able to fill in your modules easily each week. You can think of the modules themselves as things you are already into and do regularly. For example, if you watch many YouTube videos regularly, bookmark and share the best one. If you consume a lot of tweets, share the best ones. This newsletter itself is constructed with three modules: "The Lesson of the week," "The Newsletter of the week," and "The tip of the week."
At first sight, you may not think there is a lot of value in that. But we know from experience that curating and sharing the best things with your close circle of followers leads to conversations and new ideas. It also leads to a publishing cadence and a newsletter you can stick with.
We gave some examples of modules we've seen in the wild, but let's dive deeper into a few others.
A Curation Module: Probably the most popular module we have seen and one of the easiest to do. Curation is simply linking to content that you consume regularly. For example, the list is endless: YouTube videos, Tweets, podcasts, a chapter in a book, essays. A simple enhancement to this module that leads to more conversations and ideas is adding commentary - why do you find this content interesting? What did you learn from it?
A Module with your own writing: Another popular module is your own writing. Use your newsletter and captive audience to showcase your own writing. Your audience has subscribed for a reason - give them what they came for. If you have an older essay, a recent tweet thread, or something else, link to it and tell people why they should read it.
A Recipes module: Do you cook every week? Share a picture and the recipe. Cooking is an aspirational skill for many people. Your cooking skill level is always higher than you think. Where did you find the recipe? Is there an interesting story there? A childhood memory or a special occasion? Nothing connects people like food.
A Drawings Module: Draw every week? Share a drawing. People love seeing expertise. Don't think you're an expert at drawing? You're an expert to those just starting out on the journey. Besides, this doesn't have to be drawing; it can be any creative hobby that you do.
A Module With Use Cases: If you write on a specific topic, a module of examples of use cases in your topic would be interesting and engaging to readers. Abstract theory may be interesting, but nothing like seeing the topic in real life grabs attention. In the same way that stories make writing interesting, Use Cases make your topic more interesting. Share your use cases with your newsletter readers.
A Solutions Module: A problem you came across/solved. Everyone has problems that come up, and most of these problems are relatable to other people. If you've figured out a solution, it's broadly interesting.
These are just some examples. The key is to see what is happening in your life and use it. Think of your newsletter as a log of your interests. The most important thing about your modules are that they come from your life. It's recording your life, not producing more content.
Newsletters of the Week:
Here are two newsletters that showcase the use of modules.
Newsletter Adventure with Christine has three modules - (1) a short essay, (2) Building in Public, (3) Weekly Resources and Lessons
Christine starts off with a short essay reflecting on a recent event in her life. This week, it was on the courses that she’s signed up for. Her second module is called “Building in Public” where she recaps the progress she’s made in her projects. Finally, she has a module called “Weekly Resources and Lessons”. In this section, she shares a link in three areas that are important to her: Fitness, Writing, and Life.
The Middle Way by Christian Champ also demonstrates a wide range of modules. Christian has four modules: (1) an essay, (2) Things to Think About, (3) Things to Listen, See, and Watch, (4) Words of Wisdom
Christian writes an essay every newsletter. This week’s was on how doing hard things makes your life easier in the long run. His second module, Things to Think About, curates essays that he finds interesting. He adds commentary on why it’s interesting to him and how he applies the ideas. His third module, “Things to Listen, See, and Watch” is a curation of twitter threads, podcasts, and YouTube videos, again with commentary. He skipped this module this week. Finally, he ends with Words of Wisdom, a collection of quotes with no commentary.
Tip of the Week:
Emojis! Emojis are a great way to catch your reader’s eye. They can interrupt skimming, mark where there’s a new section, and insert some emotion. You can see examples of all of these in both Christine’s and Christian’s newsletters.
Thank you for reading. We hope you have a wonderful weekend. If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two.
Louie & Chris
P.S. you can respond directly to this email. We read every reply. We'd love to hear from you.
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