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June 28, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Newsletters

I announced last week that I'm restarting my newsletter. Newsletters are something I always recommend to authors with whom I've worked, but I think bloggers can benefit from a monthly newsletter as well. How often do you read the blogs that you follow? I know I follow too many blogs to read every day/every time they post. A newsletter can give an overview to your blog posts for that month and provide another reminder to your readers to check out your content.

For today's tips post, I thought I would share my thoughts and plans for my newsletter.

I started my newsletter last year using Google Friends Connect newsletter function. It was an easy way to send out an html email. There was also a widget for easy sign up to received the newsletter. I had about 150 subscribers to the newsletter when GFC discontinued the function.

I liked the newsletter and I always picked up new hits to my blog when it went out (confirming I was picking up readers who just didn't have time to check the blog daily). Since I was searching for a new mail service, I also took the time to look for a new layout. Google Docs have some great templates and I found one that I really liked. I also signed up to use Mailchimp to manage my email subscribers. It is a free service as long as you do not have a HUGE volume.

With the new layout, I also toyed with the idea of having print editions that bookstores, libraries and coffee shops could display. Cost quickly became an issue. I think with a few paid advertisements, I can cover the cost printing. Though I may have to require a subscription fee for large quantities. Due to cost, I won't be able to offer home delivery to individuals, but I think most individuals will prefer an email.

Now that I have an email service (sign up here). I have to think about content. My old newsletter was basically a list of posts that I did that month with a little bit of commentary. Since I want to use the newsletter as a promotional tool (the reason for the print edition), I need better content. It needs to reflect my blog. I will include a few reviews, both from books already reviewed on my blog and ones that haven't been reviewed yet on my blog. I also plan to have a featured article. It may be a reprint of a guest post on my blog or may be new content. I'm hoping that I will get submissions from reviewers and authors to help create the content. As my subscription list grows, this will be excellent promotional avenue for other bloggers and authors to reach new audiences.

I want to bring people to my blog so I will have a section highlighting a few of the posts from the previous month. Those who get the email edition should be able to click on the links just like they did with the previous newsletter.

For the print edition, I want people to keep it - not just glance at it and trash it. In the beginning the print edition will only be available locally, so it will be easy to include book related events.

To keep up with the latest on my newsletter, including submission and advertisement criteria check out the Newsletter page.

Your Turn: Do you have a newsletter? What would you like to see in a newsletter from a blog?

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  1. I love the idea of a Blogger's Newsletter, especially if it means that you can find other sites that interest you. The problem with blogger is that there are so many sites that there could be quite a lot out there that are right up your street but you might never find them.
    I'll definitely be subscribing
    :) RB