A CEO looking to connect his 30 remote employees stumbled across a strategy that now helps him reach 50,000 people in 50 countries around the world
- Acceleration Partners CEO Robert Glazer started writing a weekly motivational email to his company of 30 employees in 2016.
- Three years later, his "Friday Forward" newsletter reaches an audience of 50,000 readers in 50 countries.
- The newsletter has allowed Glazer to make connections with readers around the world and has sparked his writing career.
In January 2016, Robert Glazer wrote an email to the 30 employees of his affiliate marketing agency, Acceleration Partners, about how to set goals for the new year.
The email, which Glazer called "Friday Inspiration," contained a quote from Thomas Jefferson and a story about how his son learned to stop sucking his thumb.
Glazer's employees, all of whom work remotely, seemed to respond to the positive message, Glazer said. So the next week he wrote another email, this time about learning from failure. Over the next few weeks, he wrote about living in the moment, making a vision board, and valuing experiences over physical gifts.
Three years later, Glazer is still sending weekly inspirational emails, although they now come in the form of a full-blown newsletter called "Friday Forward." His company now employs 130 people, although these days, his audience is a lot greater than just them - the newsletter reaches 50,000 readers around the world.
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Glazer said he started the tradition to help his employees feel closer together. He also wanted to add his own voice to the crowded field of motivational writing, much of which Glazer said "was a little too rainbows and unicorns for me."
The emails started to take off after some of his employees forwarded them to friends and family. But the tipping point came around 18 months ago, he said, after he attended a business conference and plugged the newsletter to other executives he met.
"I said, you know, I've been doing this, and it's been working really well. I really suggest you do something, because it's a great way to be connected to your employees," he told Business Insider.
Soon, entire companies and professional networks were signing up for Friday Forward. Glazer estimates he has readers in 50 countries - one reader recently told him in a message to "look for a bunch of signups from Portugal," and another told him they were reading from Angola.
Glazer's newsletters aren't officially affiliated with his company, and he doesn't get paid to write them, although he's been able to leverage their popularity into a writing career. He published his first book, on the affiliate marketing industry, in 2017, and another one is on the way this year.
For Glazer, his global audience simply means more people to spread his positive message to. He said each week he receives around 30 or 40 emails from readers who connect with that week's message.
"I have a folder full of emails that people have shared pretty vulnerable stories," he said. "Every week when I think like, oh, maybe I'll take a week off, you know, it was the fact that it was helping someone that I kept doing it."
"The value for me is that I like to share ideas that help people and organizations grow. It's fun to be connected with people, and it's created all kinds of interesting introductions and connected me to people all over the world."
He added that having a following means he needs to put more thought than ever into his writing.
"It also puts a lot of pressure on me. I just know that every Friday there's a big audience," he said. "And honestly, it forces me to work even harder making sure I deliver value. I don't feel I can lay an egg anymore."