ditch Canned Content. Be More Personal.


During these last three months of staying at home, I’ve experimented with making bread. Part of it was out of necessity – going to the store regularly was no longer an option, and part of it was driven by wanting to use our sourdough starter. After all, we’d transported it from Seattle to Tucson and from Tucson to Richmond – a total of 3,700+ miles … and it’s over 100 years old!

But every loaf of bread baked turned out like a ski slope – high on one side, low on the other. And every batch of hamburger buns turned out (nearly) as flat as a pancake.

What was I doing wrong?

I added more flour. I added more water … more sourdough starter. I switched recipes, kneading and baking techniques. I even switched from using the sourdough starter to making plain-old sandwich bread and still, the same results. I simply couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

Then something interesting happened that forced me to take a different approach.

I couldn’t find yeast in our local markets. Every visit for over a month came up empty-handed.

So where did I turn? (the-dreaded-yet-greatly-appreciated) Amazon.

I found a 1-lb package of fast-acting yeast at a reasonable price, so even though it wasn’t the brand my mom had used, I ordered it.

And guess what? The dough rose like a champ! No more ski-slope shaped bread. No more flat hamburger buns.

The whole time, my problem was the yeast!


The challenges of 2020 have caused us to look at things differently and adapt. Had I not been forced to shop for yeast differently than I had (and my mom and grandmothers had done), I probably would have continued baking with ski-slope-shaped bread and nearly flat hamburger buns.

2020 has thrown many of the plans we had for the year out the window. Content marketing, trade shows and operational processes have all needed to shift in light of what’s happened … and it continues to evolve.

I’m right there with you.

But these changes have also opened our eyes to new ideas … how many of us do virtual meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet regularly now? 🙋‍♀️ While it can be a bit of a pain to make sure you look camera-ready, this technology has also been wonderful for creating an instant feeling of connection with the person on the other side.

Ditch canned Content. Be More personal.

What has been incredibly apparent to me throughout these last three months is how vital it is for our businesses to communicate regularly and authentically. Sending canned messages does not work. People know the difference, and now more than ever, they will gravitate toward those businesses they feel personally connected to, so send YOUR message instead.

Maybe you don’t care about my yeast story, but I bet you read the entire thing, right? Years ago, several of my welcome messages shared about our travels to New Hampshire to watch UNH hockey. I’ll never forget my first phone call with a custom builder/remodeler from Maine. One of his first comments to me was, “Even though you’re a UNH hockey fan, I think I’d like to work with you.” He, of course, was a University of Maine hockey fan!

I believe the most important part of any email newsletter is the welcome message because it allows businesses to show a bit of their personality. This is why it is built into the Done-For-You Newsletter program – something many other newsletter programs don’t offer.

Each issue, subscribers have the opportunity to provide a welcome message and supporting images – to better connect with their audiences. I’ve personally worked with all of the DFY subscribers to help them create a voice that fits their business. Some are comfortable with sharing personal stories about their kids and grandkids while others discuss what they are seeing in their businesses.

It’s rather fun to read them all.

It’s just one of the many steps I’ve taken to ensure that this newsletter program is not canned. You can learn more about the DFY Newsletter program here.

I challenge you to approach your newsletter program differently in the second half of 2020.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your best bread making tip?
  2. What activity have you tried during stay-at-home orders?
  3. What will you share in your next newsletter welcome message?

Leave your answers in the comment section below.

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