I just sent out the 5th episode of the Pristine Story. Here they are for reference.
Although we have a subscribe function on the bottom of the Pristine homepage, I've probably added 95% of the 800 subscribers by hand: I took an email address, either from a business card, or from an email conversation, and added it to an excel sheet that's always open on my super-amazing Retina MacBook Pro. Before sending out each episode of the Pristine Story, I upload and clear out the sheet. Simple.
Even as the list has grown, the engagement statistics have remained quite steady. I'm hopeful that with compelling content, they'll stay steady. If they do, that means I'm doing an exceptional job.
After sending out each issue, generally about 1-1.5% unsubscribe from the blast. Given that I add people without their explicit permission, I think a 1-1.5% unsubscribe rate is excellent.
Conversely, that means 98-99% of people that I've come across haven't told me to go away. And that means that every 3 weeks, they're reminded of Pristine's existence. That's it. Just a simple reminder of our existence. The vast majority of the subscribers are / were potential stakeholders in the business. That is, they are or could be investors, advisors, employees, customers, partners, friends, family, or simply someone who could make a connection or referral.
For those that know me personally, they'll recognize a particular expression from the last paragraph: acknowledging "that I exist." I reuse it for good reason. I find it to be an honest and accurate representation of the truth: that people have lots of stuff going on in their lives, and although I'm working on cool stuff, unless they're one of the few that's actually a stakeholder in the business, they don't actually care.
Although they don't care, the Pristine Story has been a remarkably powerful concept. Every 3 weeks, they're reminded that I exist, what I'm working on, and about 3-4% write me back. Most just say "awesome" or "great status update, keep it up!" It's always great to hear positive feedback, but after sending out each episode, I always receive a handful of emails along the lines of "hey, let's catchup again" or "wait a second, I just met someone that I should introduce you to" or "now I'm interested in working for / buying from / investing in / becoming a stakeholder."
And that's why I write the Pristine Story.