Marie Dollé Discusses Maintaining a Newsletter in Multiple Languages, Launching a Paid Report as an Experiment, and Growing her Newsletter In Bed with Social

I think inspiration is everywhere. But if you look where everyone looks you'll find what everyone finds.

- Marie Dollé, In Bed with Social

Marie Dollé started her newsletter In Bed with Tech as a complete "accident". She was supposed to publish an article on a french media and the editor wanted to postpone it because he had several articles in the pipe. She didn't want to because it was a timely post... so she went ahead and published it herself. 

The article blew up and a week later she already had her first 500 subscribers. The rest was history.

Continue reading to see how Marie grew In Bed with Tech to the point of needing to create an English version, In Bed with Social:

Question/Answers

How do you find inspiration for posts? What are your primary sources for reading/listening(podcasts)/meetups etc.? And then how do you synthesize them into cohesive articles?

I have a feedly setup with around 500 media sources that I've been tracking and updating for 10 years (I worked in a media institute for 10 years). I use it just to bring in ideas. Scrolling through titles, subtitles and then saving to boards or to read in depth later). I also am subscribed to around 30 newsletters that I read in-depth. 

The rest is serendipity.    

You transitioned from an exclusively FR language newsletter to FR/EN. What was the process like? How did you think through the translation process? What tools do you use?

I use DeepL for a quick draft and then i re-write most of it. If you are subscribed to both my newsletters you'll notice they are different. I adapt examples and the tone, too.

I read somewhere that you've created a Telegram alongside your newsletter to create a community out of your audience. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of creating community with your audience, and the challenges that come with it?

That's the whole point of the creator economy, it's about having a conversation with your audiences, people like minded and ultimately it should be more about them than you.  

But to be honest, I struggle at keeping my telegram up to date as I have a full time job, kids, etc.

What sort of overlap is there between your investment banking work and your newsletters? How do you manage your time to do both?

I try to keep them separate but lines are obviously really blurry. Since i help start-ups in France and Europe find funding, obviously I scroll through dozens of decks from early stage companies... so it inspires me. I'm constantly looking for signals and patterns... and then I write!

Does your newsletter feel sustainable to you? Is your plan to monetize it eventually or is the fun of writing it what keeps you going?

I think I could make a very decent living out of it if I went full time. But not from subscriptions or memberships, rather from consulting, freelance opportunities. These days, every time I send out a newsletter I have 2 or 3 enquiries of people looking to work with me in one way or another. That's pretty amazing. 

In December I launched a paid report, just to test waters. I converted 5% of my user base... and made almost 10K with very little go-to-market.

What is a newly discovered source of content/inspiration for you?

I think inspiration is everywhere. But if you look where everyone looks you'll find what everyone finds. 

There is another perspective to it, it's a quote i really like that says "Research is to see what everyone else has seen and to think what no one else has thought".

After you've found a topic to explore from your feedly setup + newsletters, what does the next part of your research process look like? Where do you go to find did deeper insights and what tools do you use to synthesize it all?

I use mymind to store information. To write I tried Roam at one point but i came back to just a classic Google doc. So when i have this intuition I'm onto something I open a Google doc and add links, ideas. Then i start looking into sections. If i don't have at least two / three big sections, I skip.        

My stack is really simple: Substack, feedly, mymind, Google doc. Then since I write on trends I have a lot research platforms: talkwalker for social listening, mangools for Google queries, jungle scout to check keywords on Amazon, redditmetrics for trending subreddits (but i also wrote a script and automatized some parts with Zapier) and a lot of Osint tools as well.

What is the the most challenging part about running/growing a newsletter?

Consistency. JUST... KEEP... SHOWING UP.

Who are some of your favorite creators who's content you regularly consume?

I'll give you some under the radar creators. Prakhar Shivam. He doesn't tweet that much but I am lucky to have him on Telegram and Instagram. I'm completely in awe and keep on pushing him to write more. Matt Klein is amazing too, he worked for a trend agency and i just learned today that he joined Reddit's trend team. On virtual fashion,"this outfit does not exist" is amazing. 

What separates a great curator from an okay one?

What separated a great curator from an okay one? I'd say passion and a very deep level of curiosity.

Do you think there is a need in the market for a service that helps us discover newsletters the way Product Hunt has for startups? If there is, why don't you think one has really taken off yet?

That's a very good question. TBH I'm not sure we need another tool or directory, but I do think we need more training for people to learn how to really find information on the internet. As I said, I spent ten years in a media research institute and I am very passionate about OSINT tools(niche search engines) so I can find information really easily.

How do you balance time between your full time job and your side projects (newsletters)? Is there ever a time where the newsletters need to go on the back-burner?

I sleep very little, it helps. Otherwise my full time job comes first and I stopped putting pressure on my shoulders to publish on a fixed schedule.

What emerging trends are exciting you today that you haven't had a chance to write about yet?

Depends on the sector. for health: IoMT (Internet of Medical things) big upcoming trend or testosterone replacement therapy.

For food there are some fascinating trends: mushroom boom, culinary travel, alternative flours, functional food (hormonal food, immunity food...)

What role has Twitter played in growing / creating your newsletter? Had you been active on it before starting in bed with social?

I love Twitter but..."Your second life on twitter happens when you realize that the magic is in twitter DM".. I'm very active on Twitter, but rarely in public :)

If you had to work at one of the companies you've come across recently while doing research for your newsletter, what company would it be and why?

I'd say Demi or Delli(by founders of depop) Because I am a food lover and I love cooking. I always dreamt of doing something in the food sector. I am a passionate person, and what drives me is that innate spark. The rest is less important.

What was your original goal when you started your newsletter? Have you exceeded it?

My newsletter was an"accident". I was supposed to publish an article on a french media and the editor wanted to postpone it because he had several articles in the pipe. I didn't want to because it was a timely post... so it took me two minutes to say"I'll set up a substack and publish".... the article blew up... a week later i already had 500 subscribers... so I just kept riding the wave...

Can you share that first article with us? How much has your newsletter changed from your first article to the current editions?

It was in french, no english version. What changed? Higher standards regarding the quality of the research and the analysis. At least I try to get better each time.

What about the article do you think made it blow up?

I think it blew up because it was different from all the other articles on the subject.