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Monday, February 10, 2014

A Newsletter...Someday

If you don't know this about me already--News Flash--I'm a cross between Martha Stewart and Sheldon Cooper when it comes to how I do things.

Ask Greg. I don't do anything without exhaustive research and experimentation. And I never do reveals until I'm satisfied with the end result.

February saw me bite the bullet and I decided to design a newsletter for Book Cover Diva. I finished a dummy of the first newsletter yesterday, but I'm still tweaking it, trying to make it as lean and useful as I can.

But even then I won't release it for a while. Before it goes live, I want to write my columns for the next year. This way I'll always have good content without worrying about what I'm going to write about for the next issue.

I'm also designing a few freebies for anyone who signs up. I'm still brainstorming what other kind of giveaways I can do for later too. I'd like to plan all the details far in advance so I'm not doing a headless chicken dance later.

All this comes about after years of receiving countless newsletters, giving me the luxury of seeing what worked and what didn't about each of them.

Since this is a vehicle to promote my business, it's going to be less about showing off and more about giving an insight into the nuts and bolts of good design.

I think the content will be the real selling point. My mantra is to make it interesting and short.

And just to put it out there, I'm using Mail Chimp as the delivery system. But honestly, I don't find their web site all that intuitive. It's been a slow learning process. I'm still trying to figure out where the newsletter widget is hiding. I heard they did a recent remodel and moved some task tabs around.

Once I get the first one out there, I know the whole process will become second nature, but right now, I'm hunting and clicking all sorts of buttons. I wish they offered clearer instructions. (That's the Sheldon part of me coming out.)

If I were to predict the newsletter's official release, I'm going to say April. I like the idea of spring and and new beginnings.

Do you do a newsletter? Do you use Mail Chimp? 

I'll be brave and say I think you're going to like this newsletter. I'm designing it as if I were the recipient, filling it with tips and ideas authors might find useful.

Come April, you'll have to tell me if I did all right.

30 comments:

Darke Conteur said...

I used to do newsletters, but forgot about them over the past year. I really didn't have any news to tell anyone anyway.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: This is why I wanted to have enough good fodder before I started. Too often I get great ideas months and years before I use them. This time I'm writing them down. LOL!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I dont' send out newsletters, but then I don't tend to read them, either (of course, I'm strange, so I don't think I should go by that, huh?). Maybe one day I'll find a need for one, though. We'll see.

LD Masterson said...

I used to do the newsletter for the company I worked for back in the eighties. Of course, that was print only with a simple mail-merge label program (no monkeys). It was one of my favorite jobs.

I'm looking forward to seeing yours. I have no doubt that it will be great.

Mike Keyton said...

This is alien territory to me, Maria, so no positive input other than good luck - and may the force be with you :)

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: I read some newsletters, and a few are even favorites because of their good information. I hope I can duplicate that success.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Oh, back in the OLDEN days. LOL. I used to do a company newsletter too in print. Much easier than monkeys.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I got Yoda riding shotgun. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I just posted a few weeks ago saying how I didn't think I was any where near ready to so the newsletter. I'll be interested to see yours.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have a newsletter list but haven't sent out a newsletter yet.
Yes, I will use mailchimp too.
It's ok.

Diane Carlisle said...

I use Mailchimp as well. It's a great tool for newsletters and setting up RSS feeds to send out to recipients.

I designed the monthly newsletter for Tallahassee Writers Association using Mailchimp, but I also have my blog set up to email my list whenever I post to my blog.

The best part about Mailchimp is they have customizable sign up forms and auto-responders that you can update to look just like your blog. :)

Here's an example built from Mailchimp.

Angela Brown said...

Have a newsletter set up? Yes. Using the newsletter as it should be used. Er...no. But I'm hoping that after a little bit of getting some things a bit more organized - which is going well, yay! - I'll try my hand at a solo newsletter...maybe? lol!!

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yay! I'm excited for your newsletter. And i'm like you. I'd take my sweet time

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Since my newsletter falls more into a service area, it'll differentiate itself from a true author's newsletter. But I'm sure there will be parallels.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: Mail Chimp seems to be the go-to source for delivery unless you're a huge outfit.

We'll see how it goes when I have to send something out. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: Oh, yay! Someone I can bug when I can't find a button. LOL.

I'll check out your link. Thanks, Diane!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: You're still ahead of me. But the year is young yet. Plenty of time to make mistakes, sez I. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I'm so Sheldon when it comes to doing anything.

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm still on the fence about a newsletter. I don't think I'd necessarily say anything there that I wouldn't say on my blog. But you, as you said, would be a service newsletter. Different.

As for Mail Chimp, you are not the only user to complain of its complexity. I've heard.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I do not have a newsletter. I have no idea what Mail Chimp is. I'd like to get your newsletter, though, when it's available.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Maria, you sound enviably organised. Preparing content well in advance is exactly what I'd like to do -- but I don't plan on a newsletter. When I think about what content I'd include in one, I realise how boring my newsletter would be, so I'm sparing the world. But yours will be awesome. Looking forward to April :)

raelynbarclay said...

I've done newsletters for work but not the writing. I doubt I'll ever get to that point, LOL. So wishing you luck. Not that you need it because you're awesome :)

Rebekah Loper said...

Mailchimp greatly confounds me as well, so you're not alone. I'm thinking about just ditching the newsletter idea anyway, though, personally. I don't really need one right now, and all it does is taunt me that it's another thing not getting done.

Good luck in your endeavors! I hope you figure out Mailchimp easier than I did when I tried. Not sure I ever really figured it out, anyway.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: It's like anything else. Do a newsletter because you'll enjoy it and because you have something to say.

Everyone is different. Twitter didn't work for me. Forcing myself to do it just made me feel guilty for not doing a good job.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: If nothing else, I hope you'll find it useful. I have a veritable warehouse of information and links.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: LOL! That's the Sheldon Cooper part of me.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: It's soooo much easier to write for another vehicle rather than your own. We tend to get too close to our work, be it newsletter, blog, or book.

I have to force myself to keep some distance to give me perspective.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: Mail Chimp is not easy in my opinion.

And like I mentioned earlier in the comment stream, a newsletter isn't for everyone. Just like blogging, tweeting, or FB isn't for everyone. We must choose our vehicles for what's best for us rather than what's trendy.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Mail Chimp trying. I'm about due to put out a newsletter. I used to do them monthly but I've moved to more like quarterly newsletters.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I haven't decided whether to send out the newsletter quarterly or every two months.