Solving the problem of what to write in your emails.

By  •  Updated: 07/31/20 •  5 min read

We’ve all been there, staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

Advice like “the cure for writers block is to just write” is terrible in these situations, so it helps to have the tiniest of prompts to get you moving in the right direction.

“Write about X” is a lot better prompt than “Write about anything you like”. Creativity does better with constraints, not worse.

One of my Twitter followers asked me about finding ideas of what to write about in his emails, so I thought I’d answer in a blog so I could share it more easily.

A quick paragraph of background.

I’ve binned the idea of daily emails for now. It works great if you have a constantly evolving product like a newsletter, so you have new angles to write about each month, but I’m not there yet.

Instead I’m doing 2-3 per week and this formula fits really nicely with that.

I should give credit to Ian Stanley for the structure, but the explanation and examples are my own.

The formula is S.L.V.

It’s easy to remember because it will SoLVe your content problem.
(Just take the vowels out. It works.)

It stands for:

  1. Success
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Value

Here are the components:


Success stories are the absolute greatest emails you can send to make sales.

Always remember that in your marketing stories, you are not the hero, your customers are. You are, however the crucial guide in their journey.

(Think Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, not Frodo, and you’ll be there.)

The guy I see killing these is Sam Ovens. He’s just churning out so many success stories it’s impossible to ignore him.

I wasn’t a big fan of Sam’s when he started, it just seemed a bit fake, but there’s not denying where he’s got to now, and the mindset stuff. he teaches is on another level.

A good success story starts with someone who was in trouble that you helped guide them out of, and they’re now in a plaec your other prospects want to be.

They’re mini-case studies, with more emotion.

They’re easy to link to a sale with a line like:
“If you want to experience the same success as X, more people are doing the same with our [signature product].


Make no mistake, people buy a lot more easily from people.

Brands who can’t put a face on their business are going to really struggle, especially in the startup phase.

Your customers want to see you living a life that is authentic to the brand you represent, so show them.

What that looks like will vary by audience.

Grant Cardone’s audience is impressed by the trappings of wealth so it’s all Rolex watches and selfies by the private jet.

My audience are generally a bit older and don’t care so much about grinding themselves into an early grave, so there’s more hammocks than first class seats.

I spend more money on holidays than cars, but that’s a bit of a challenge right now!

Yours might be more interested in health, good food, spending time with their partners, or any number of other activities. The odd post from your Insta feed is great for showing these off.
I get out in a rowing boat to relax, and stay in shape.
This has nothing to do with work, but the fact I post these when most people are commuting to work says something about my lifestyle.

Don’t be afraid to share your good times especially if you do any live events. People will want to spend more time with you if you look like you know how to have fun.

These aren’t always done to sell, but the idea that you can get the same lifestyle by following your teaching is an easy one to grasp.


Most people don’t struggle with this. Rather they do too much and don’t balance it with enough success stories and lifestyle content.

If you start to run out of things to say about your topic, I can recommend you read this article about the “30 types of value”.

Quick summary: There are more ways than money that people get value from what you do.

For example, I teach email marketing. You can obviously earn money from email marketing but also:

  1. It saves you time compared to bashing the phones
  2. It connects you directly to your audience, creating a sense of community
  3. It’s less effort than 1:1 contact
  4. I can point you to more variety of content with an email.
  5. I find writing emails therapeutic – it helps me simplify things as I write.

The list goes on.

Try taking your topic and seeing if you can write out a list of how your subject brings each of the 30 types of value.

These are the easiest ones to link to a sale, but unless you bring some story and emotion into these emails, they’re usually less successful.


The variety in these types of email, and the variety of content you can talk about in each one, should give you enough ideas for a lifetime of emails that won’t bore or overwhelm your customers.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.