In the beginning
It started with a thought, “What if there was a Morning Brew like publication for Nigeria? I’d love to read something like that.” Why is everyone telling news the same way, what if I cut out most of the jargons and just tell the news the way I would tell a friend? Surely I would use fewer words and try to come down to their level. So I checked, didn’t see anything like that, I thought about writing one but I wasn’t sure I could fit into my schedule or if it was the next thing I wanted to spend my time doing. However, the only thing I was certain of was that I was interested in seeing if this was something people were also interested in.
I didn’t bother asking people because trying to explain seemed like a waste of time. In this case, I knew the best way to figure out if people wanted it was to send out a version of it.
So I sent an email to 20 different persons I knew — I mixed the list so that the audience was really diverse. From that list, 10 people indicated an interest to subscribe after the first email. And over the next 20 something weeks, more people kept signing up. Of course, a few have also unsubscribed, 4 in total. I remember all of them: One person unsubscribed immediately after signing up, another I personally unsubscribed — a friend, I noticed the emails weren’t working for her after discussions. Stop hurting my open rates 😩
Two unsubscribed because they weren’t interested again, which was perfectly fine.
This is how Cloout — a weekly newsletter that talks about what’s happening in the business & politics world in a clear, witty & concise manner — was born.
Consistently producing good work is hard
At first, I wasn’t sure I could write as good as I needed to but I gave it a shot and it seemed to be close to the quality I wanted. For the first 6 months, the goal was to be consistent and boy is it difficult to be consistent! It’s even more difficult to consistently produce really good work. And because I read really good content from other publications/newsletters ( The Daily Vulnerable, Dadaben blog, Morning Brew, Skimm, Finimize, The hustle, First round Review, Heartbeat from Know your team, Stratechery) I could tell when a particular newsletter wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, I was always tempted to not send the newsletter out, however, in times like that I had to remind myself that perfection is the enemy of progress. Most times when I talk to users about the newsletter, they didn’t even notice the errors/things I wasn’t pleased with.
I’m so proud of the journey so far with the team, it has had its highs and lows — Many Friday nights spent typing furiously, searching for inspiration, panicking that we might miss this week’s publication. In all, the greatest reward from all this aside the happy subscribers is that it has given me more confidence in my abilities. I worry less these days because I can now say with all confidence that you can’t use up creativity!
Distribution: More readers
This is still one area I realised we need to focus on more, it’s one thing to build a product, it’s another to get people to use. At first, we were more focused on validating the idea and weren’t too keen on distribution or maybe it was just me enjoying the obscurity. But at the 3-month mark, it occurred to me that Cloout had a consistent audience and I should take distribution more seriously. We’ve been working on making it easy for people to sign up and share the newsletter, however, there’s more we can do.
The road ahead
We just crossed 100 subscribers and there are many more milestones ahead. We’d keep trying out new things, listening better to our ever-growing audience, coming up with better content and distribution channels.
👋 Interesting a reading a different type of news, please sign up for Cloout here.
👋 We’re looking for new persons to join our team. If you’re looking to join a team of vibrant minds focused on producing content that’s helpful, inclusive & enjoyable. This is for you! 😊