Our Monthly Newsletter

Friday, September 4, 2015

Newsletters. Yep, newsletters. That’s what we’re talking about here.

One of the main discussions we had while setting up our podcast was newsletters. Personally, I am not a huge fan of newsletters and found myself waffling back and forth over whether or not they are worth the trouble. We talked it over for quite some time – we sat down and chatted about it, we listed out the pros and cons, listed what we hate about them and what we love. Eventually we found our four major reasons to not do a newsletter are:

1. Newsletters can be super annoying
2. People might not read them
3. They take a lot of work and we are already pretty stinkin’ busy
4. Who likes coding an HTML email. I mean seriously.

I know this looks ominous, so before we get too far into it, though, I want to throw out this spoiler:

We are absolutely doing a monthly newsletter

We are excited about our monthly newsletter. We want you to sign up for it and converse with us about, and through our newsletter.

That being said, we didn’t come to this conclusion lightly. The list of reasons to not do a newsletter was nearly filled up. We were getting pretty glum for newsletters and nearly had it all come to a no vote. After more of the talking, though, we started to come around. This happened not because we listed out a bunch of pros. Nope, this started when we began squashing the four biggest cons.

1. Newsletters can be super annoying

I personally dread the email newsletters that pop up and I barely notice but feel obligated to at least suffer a cursory glance through the headlines because I once thought it was cool but I just haven’t found the will to meander down the page to that elusive “unsubscribe” button.

On top of them being super annoying they are usually filled to the brim with marketing jargon and ads. I hate being sold to. It’s awful. It’s absolutely my least favorite thing. So, if we started a newsletter that contained ads on ads on marketing jargon on ads, I might just punch myself right in the face.

Why, oh why then, would anyone want to take part in a newsletter. Well, I had an epiphany when one of my favorite monthly newsletters came to mind. Gaslight, a Cincinnati, OH based software development shop has a monthly email newsletter that I actually enjoy receiving. In order to squash the cons, I brought this newsletter up to find out why it was so much better than most others.

For one, they send it out once a month. This isn’t an overwhelming amount of required interaction on my part. Their schedule seems more than fair. It gives me enough time to enjoy the rest of my life and be a little surprised – and delighted – when their newsletter shows up.

Second, they put out good content. I want to read what they share. It’s interesting stuff and I enjoy it. It doesn’t come across as a marketing platform to help push their agenda. Instead, it comes across as a neighborly wave an easy “Hey there fella, hope you haven’t forgotten about some of the cool stuff we’re doing.”

2. People might not read them

The pairing of good content in a manageable timeframe pretty much solves this one. People will be much more likely to read our newsletters if we make them interesting and have pieces of stuff they can use. If we are taking up some of their time, then we better make it worth it.

3. They take a lot of work and we are already pretty stinkin’ busy:

Yep, it takes time to develop good content; to whittle down that tree trunk of crap to get that grandiose content canoe. It takes creativity to come up with something that is not only pertinent, but also engaging and worthwhile. We don’t want that content canoe to sink!

One major point we found was that if we were to not do this, we would be totally selfish. We would be selfish to not take the opportunity and open another avenue of engagement with the people we want to engage with. If there are ten people we get to engage with each month, then that is worth our time. If someone is giving up their time to listen to our podcast, or to comment on our page, or to send us a message, then we are lucky to have that opportunity for conversation. Therefore, we figure that if even a few people are willing to spend time reading it, then we would be selfish and lazy if we did not take the time to develop our newsletter to the best of our abilities.

4. HTML emails are the worst

They aren’t fun to code. There are so many limitations on the code. You can’t use typefaces that you like. You barely can use images that you like. They are cumbersome, inflexible, and a pain to code.

Yep, so that #4 doesn’t really have any pros to it. That’s okay though.

At the end of the day, it’s the same concept with which we are approaching our show: If we put together good, meaningful content that people can relate to, then we can start up significant conversations within the community. We absolutely do not want to limit the opportunities for these conversations. So, even though HTML emails are not that fun, we will be taking this on and sharing them each month beginning September, 2015. It will be worth reading and there will be fun content. So please, please, please do not allow my treacherous journeys into HTML email world to become fruitless. Sign up for our monthly newsletter and we promise you that it will be worth it. If not, you can yell at us later.