The Process of Producing a Newsletter

I start writing the Art Biz Insider newsletter a week ahead of time. I have Evernote notebooks full of possible topics to write on, but my best newsletters are in response to something happening at the moment.
For example my newsletter for tomorrow is in response to something I read on Seth Godin's blog.

Writing the Newsletter

So, I have an idea and I start writing. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it doesn't. When I get to a stopping point, I sit on it a little while. If I don’t like it, I sit on it longer – sometimes up to 5 days longer because it just isn’t flowing.
In a perfect world, I crank out the article and send it to Kelly Johnson, one of my virtual assistants. She proofs it for typos and anything that is egregious. Sometimes I reject her ideas because they're not my style, but mostly I’m pleased with the input she gives me.
After I make the final corrections, I send a copy back to her and she makes a draft on my blog and adds an image.

Sending Tests

Then I send a copy to Pat Velte by Tuesday morning prior to distribution on Wednesday. Pat designs the newsletter and sends a Test.
This newsletter test is critical! We find often that text is incorrect, links are bad, or sometimes the image placement just looks weird. I can't suggest strongly enough that you test your newsletters.
Regardless of who might help you with your newsletter, you are ultimately responsible for the newsletter content.
Pat tweaks the test, we agree that we're both happy, and then Pat schedules the final version to be sent on Wednesday morning – before I even get out of bed.
It’s a process! And this week we allowed even more time because we're changing the format again. Look for it.
See why I start a week ahead of time? I'm committed to the process. I'm committed to sending the best newsletter I can.
How does your newsletter flow go?
Are you giving it enough time?

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7 thoughts on “The Process of Producing a Newsletter”

  1. Hi Alyson,
    What you described is very much like what I am doing.
    I work sometimes 2-3 weeks ahead.
    I paint ahead.
    I write ahead.
    Sometimes, what I think will be forthcoming, never materializes.
    Poof! Delete!
    Other subjects become paramount and win out.
    And, that’s ok.
    Writing is fun, teaching is fun, and painting is my life’s blood.
    So, it’s all good; and, I like being ahead in case I have something come up and I’m not able to get to a post. Like last week, I was sick, so I just couldn’t paint or write, but the blog goes out tomorrow morning, on schedule.
    It’s all good.
    Thanks for all you do for us.

  2. The idea of writing a newsletter over the course of a few days is a lot less overwhelming that waiting to the final hour. I find that it takes me quite some time to figure out what topics or clips to post that will be of interests to various people.
    I try to use it as a marketing tool but also want to make sure it is interesting to various people. How do you typically find that balance?

  3. As someone who sends out my own business e-newsletters AND also works freelance for a few other businesses, I often don’t have the luxury of days, but only hours. If a biz owner wants a certain message sent the next day….??? I try to buy as much time as possible, but I can’t control my Clients schedule. If the big sale is in two days and they didn’t give me more than that as notice… oh well…
    That said, having someone – anyone – proof read is the best advice ever! I just got two e-newsletters in a row from “major” businesses (one is a well-known bank!) who had very obvious grammar errors and one had a misspelled word in the opening header! Yikes!
    Thanks for sharing your process, Alyson! I love being validated for my compulsive testing (I send tests to several email browsers: gmail, yahoo, thunderbird, and roadrunner – and have a “testing friend” with aol and outlook) but I know that some people will still get a slightly odd looking version no matter what. Imperfection is inevitable.
    Now I know why I like your communications! You are nearly perfect everytime!

  4. Haven’t got to newsletters yet (it’s on the list!) but like Donna, I paint ahead for my daily artwork posts which I schedule to post automatically throughout the week. Blogposts I write over five or six days with assigned routines for each day – brainstorm, draft, edit, images, keywords, headings, revision for spelling and grammar, links etc. Gives me plenty of time to tweak it into shape.

  5. Whew Mckenna – I spent many years in the design world – and that last minute stuff really wore me out.
    I have just started my newsletters this year and am getting ready to send out the third one. I tend to learn as I go, so the first couple had their hick-ups and was written the week it went out. Not doing it that way anymore! Now it’s written far in advance. I am already planning & writing for Fall (in spring).
    *note – the newsletter has been one of my best marketing tools – even with some glitches. Alyson’s Chapter on Newsletter’s is very helpful!!

  6. Pingback: Drive More Traffic to Your Site — Art Biz Blog

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