5.5 mins

Friday Feature: Tarzan Kay

How Tarzan made a 180° pivot in her business and is now creating content that connects.

Sameer Ansari

How Tarzan Kay earns $millions with personality and content.

Tarzan Kay operates differently than the typical newsletter operator and email marketer…

→ You won’t find her asking for emails in exchange for giveaways (though she admits that works).

→ Or bombarding readers with promotional launches you can't opt out of.

→ Or only sharing pithy business advice from +7 years running hers.

And despite doing things differently, she's earned over $1M+ in 5 years with this unconventional newsletter approach.

So what is her approach, exactly?

In this week’s Friday Feature, you’ll learn how Tarzan…

  1. Publishes her newsletter consistently for 7 years
  2. Uses consent-based marketing to build long-term subscribers
  3. Writes content that connects with her readers

Ready? Let’s dive in!

#1 - How to write consistently

Some struggle to publish a newsletter for 7 consecutive weeks.

But Tarzan has done it every week—for the last 7 years.

That's pretty epic. Respect.

Pretty sure if you type "consistency" into Wikipedia, Tarzan Kay's image shows up.

Her consistency is no doubt impressive, but it's not by accident. It's a product of her systems.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Compound results: When growing the Chinese bamboo tree, you must take care of it daily. It doesn’t break through the ground for 5 years, but once it does, it can grow up to 100 feet in 5 weeks.

Newsletter writing works the same way.

You must put in the effort without seeing immediate results (but “small progress signs”) to grow “gradually, then suddenly.”


Builds audience relationship: You create a sense of trust and familiarity with your readers when you publish consistently. It also creates a habit for your readers when they see your name in their inbox regularly.

Improved metrics: More published newsletters means more audience metrics. Use that to increase your open rates, click-through rates, and overall subscriber engagement.

🙋 How Tarzan Kay does it

Here’s how she writes consistently:

#1 - Create an Ideation Station

Tarzan has created a newsletter template with a subject, pre-header, body, and conclusion section.

Every week, she just duplicates this document, adds the date, and writes the newsletter.

(straight from Tarzan's Google Docs)

At the top of this document is her Email Ideas Storage Bin section, where she stores ideas to write about. These ideas could be random or reader suggestions.

(straight from Tarzan's Google Docs)

It helps her avoid writer's block and start writing immediately, instead of staring at a blank page.

#2 - Writing the newsletter and publishing it

Tarzan writes the email a week in advance.

Since her newsletter goes out on Tuesdays, she has a to-do assigned to her on Wednesdays to write the email. This provides her and her team ample time to craft, edit, and test the newsletter and reduce urgency.

She then lets her (fractional) COO send the test email and load and schedule it to avoid making “never-ending, unnecessary edits.”

✏️Steal this for your newsletter​

Store your ideas: Create a Google Doc or a Notion file to store your ideas. Also, have a research section under each idea to save relevant links (blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, etc.) to help you expand on that topic.

Prepare a content calendar: Decide topics, outlines, and themes for each newsletter edition a month in advance.

Here’s an example & template from Backlinko.

Schedule your writing time: Pick a day and time to write about the topic. Ensure nothing—meetings, social media, personal stuff, or any other distractions—distracts you from doing it.

🎧 Bonus: Learn more about Tarzan's successful 180° transformation in our recent chat →

#2 - Consent-based marketing

There are two main reasons people subscribe to a newsletter:

  1. They love the content and want to read more from the author.
  2. They give their email to get a template, research report, or other exclusive content.

The first reason is consent-based, but the second one isn't.

People subscribe only to get a freebie/lead magnet—and in some cases, they don’t even realize they’ve subscribed. These people either unsubscribe or never open your newsletter (which is worse).

Tarzan wants to avoid that.

She wants her newsletter to be wanted. She wants people to opt-in because they like her and her content.

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Audience-market fit: In our chat with Michael Houck, he shared that lead magnets attract people who want your free stuff. They aren’t necessarily your target audience. But that’s not the case with people who opt-in after reading your content.

Higher engagement: When people subscribe to your newsletter because they want to and not because they’re forced to, they’re more likely to comment, reply to, and share your newsletter. You’ll have better engagement and a positive feedback loop.

Sustainable revenue growth: The more engaged your subscribers, the more likely they’ll buy from you.

🙋 How Tarzan Kay does it

Here are a few consent-based practices Tarzan follows:

#1 - Optional Opt-in for lead magnets

Tarzan gives all her templates and exclusive content without you needing to share your emails.

When you surf her website, you’ll see a pop-up about free sales templates. You can choose if you only want the templates or also subscribe to her newsletter.

#2 - Option to stop receiving promotion emails

Every time Tarzan runs a sale, she lets her readers turn off promotion emails.

She sometimes uses countdown timers in her sales emails. But she understands that it can be annoying for some—so her readers have the freedom to get rid of it, too.

#3 - Freedom to receive emails whenever readers want to

Tarzan knows not everyone wants to receive emails weekly. So, she lets her readers increase or decrease the frequency of emails.

They can choose to receive a weekly digest or a monthly newsletter.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

Steal Tarzan's strategies to give your readers complete freedom over when and how they want to receive their emails.

Apart from the above practices, you can also do what Harry Dry (of Marketing Examples) does:

→ Before concluding the newsletter, he gives his readers the option to unsubscribe.

That’s different from the standard unsubscribe option at the end:

Harry ensures only interested subscribers remain by offering multiple opportunities to unsubscribe.

#3 - Writing content that connects

Most newsletter writing is over-optimized and devoid of any personality. They feel and sound robotic. Tarzan is aware of that and ensures her writing is the opposite.

Her newsletter has zero filter.

She shares her funny photos, life events, makes fun of herself, and much more—along with sharing email marketing advice.

And her readers love it:

🧐 Why it’s awesome

Humanizes the brand: By injecting personality, Tarzan radiates authenticity and creates an emotional bond with readers. In the age of AI writing, this is more important than ever.

Differentiation: Tarzan’s unfiltered approach to sharing personal anecdotes and her life outside the newsletter makes her stand out. Readers realize she’s not treating the newsletter as another marketing channel but (more) as a group chat with friends.

🙋 How Tarzan Kay does it

#1 - Storytelling

Stories dominate Tarzan’s writing.

Check out this principle in action as she uses a story to teach “why not to quit” here.

The chocolate cake of a story makes those beets taste so much better.

#2 - Using humour

Tarzan never misses a chance to crack a joke.

#3 - Using visuals

She shares infographics, memes, and GIFs wherever possible.

#4 - Sharing life updates

Not many share their travel plans and life outside of work.

But not many are Tarzan.

✏️ Steal this for your newsletter

While you may not want to share personal updates to the level Tarzan does, you can still share personal experiences or life updates.

→ Keep a log of personal stories to write about in a Google doc. It could be a personal experience or an insightful chat you had with your friends. You can pick any of those when writing the content and tie it to a lesson you want to communicate.

Watch David Perell’s interviews with great writers (like Morgan Housel, Mark Manson, Tim Ferris, and others) to get started on storytelling.

→ Use memes, GIFs, humor, and inside industry jokes to add personality to your writing.

Adding it up…

Tarzan is proof that (with the right strategy) going against the crowd works.

Use these tips as an inspiration to find contrarian ideas to write and run your newsletter.

Here are 3 things to do next:

  • Give us your take: what newsletter is doing something different and innovative we should feature next? Maybe it's yours... EMAIL US and let me know!

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