Symbiosis in the Communications Ecosystem: Growing your Newsletter in the Wild

a photo of a clown fish poking its head out of a sea anenome, overlayed with the words "Symbiosis in the Communications Ecosystem" and "Series: What the Heck Do We Do?"

This post is a part of our services overview series, “What the Heck Do We Do?” 


When CEO Chris Legler of Axios Growth Consultants approached us with a request for communications support, you can imagine that our curiosity was piqued. Providing communications assistance for a management consultant who provides and develops strategies for business growth? It seemed like we’d be learning a lot from him in return. 

We strive for symbiosis in our relationships with colleagues and clients alike. But there are four main kinds of symbiotic relationships in the wild: mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, and competition. If you’re like me, you probably thought that symbiosis started and ended with us joining hands and singing Kumbaya together, but nooo. You can have parasitic symbiotic relationships, which is just as nasty as it sounds — one organism feeding off the other in some way. You can also have competitive symbiosis, which isn’t especially conducive to the collaborative spirit we like to embody.

You can probably guess which version of symbiosis we want, but just in case it needs to be said, both parties should benefit from the collaboration. In the ecosystems of the great outdoors, this is called mutualism. Thanks to Finding Nemo, one relatively well-known example of this occurs between clownfish and sea anemones. (And if that explanation sounds incomplete, it’s because I’m writing it from the relative comfort of my blanket fort complete with a bottomless tea supply, which I never leave. Luckily, an in-depth understanding of biological terms isn’t required for what comes next.)



When Chris approached us, he’d recently moved to Canada from the US, and was in the process of essentially duplicating his successful American company. He needed to grow his community in Canada, specifically from his new home in the Kootenays. With extensive experience in a broad range of industries, Chris was well-positioned to provide expertise to Canadian businesses within the region and beyond. The man knows what he’s doing. He already had a following, gained in part through the insightful articles and newsletters he had been sending out to his established newsletter list of US contacts. So what did he need us for? 

As you can imagine, simultaneously running a business and setting up a new one took up a good chunk of his time. He has the knowledge, information, experience, and incredible ability to help your business grow — and the language to communicate it well — but finding the time to get the word out was a challenge. Writing a few posts quickly morphed into a mountain of tasks, including editing, sourcing photos, proofreading, and layout, not to mention managing multiple marketing channels beyond the newsletter (because it’s all connected) and leveraging speaking opportunities like webinars and conferences.

Axios Growth Consultants was already active in digital marketing when we started working together; most notably producing blog posts and email newsletters. What they needed was editing support and a way to connect the dots and grow their community in Canada.



A newsletter on its own isn’t especially useful. If you don’t already have an audience, how do people find out about the newsletter in the first place? You can add a form to your website and Facebook page that allows people to sign up on their own, but how do they find you in the first place, or why should they sign up? The anemone and the clownfish work together because they each provide something that the other wants. The anemone offers the clownfish shelter, and the clownfish brings home the bacon, so to speak. 

We’re mixing metaphors, but the point is, Axios needed to get the word out about what they offer to the right audience. And we, as editors, could tweak the messaging and help get it where it needed to go. Chris writes up a draft for a blog post he has in mind, putting his thoughts onto paper, and we smooth out the messaging. From that post, we have a newsletter topic and a theme, which help us source links and content for social media posts to accompany the entire campaign. We also periodically consult on topics and communications best practices, ensuring our symbiotic working relationship remains thoughtfully organized. 

After getting to know the Axios Growth Consultants brand a little better through our Social Media Consultation & Strategy process, we put together a document that included goals, preferred partners, recommended channels, and a multi-platform content schedule. Regularly updating his website with relevant content is good for SEO, and also allows us to create newsletter and social media content that links back to his site. Each month, a steady stream of LinkedIn and Facebook posts add to the ideas already being communicated to his audience. These include bite-size excerpts from his monthly articles, client and affiliate news like events and successes, and on-theme educational content shared from other industry thought leaders. These posts help reach audiences beyond his newsletter subscribers, create connections, and provide context that flesh out the conversation even further. 



If you’re thinking, “Isn’t this post about newsletters?” you’re absolutely right! Bear with me — we’re nearly there.

The most powerful content is interconnected, adaptable, and reusable. Think quotes, stats, or data pulled from a blog post and plunked into a social media graphic or short video. Consider lists of similar content from other reputable sources, compiled into a post and shared to attract more chatter around the already relevant theme. All of these things stem from and/or feed into your most direct method of communication with your clients: your email newsletter. (There, you see? Full circle. Or dare we say The Circle of Life?)

“Since using Writer’s Block I have seen inquiries into my business increase significantly, which has increased my client base,” says Chris. “Their organization skills have helped in developing useful topics and creating timely newsletters.“

Keeping track of content and ideas across multiple platforms in a communications ecosystem can be overwhelming and is often a low priority for businesses that are busy devoting their time to their clients’ needs. (We feel it too!) But investing time in strategic communications will never be a wasted effort. As Chris has shown us time and time again, a single topic provides a multitude of content to keep your audience engaged well beyond the initial email newsletter send-out.

If you’re looking for a little more symbiosis with your newsletters, let us know! Writing, editing, layout, consulting — we’ll do it all, or swim in and out where you need us, just like the clownfish to your anemone.

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