How I plan and create my email newsletter

I started a Website Tips and Tricks email newsletter in February. The newsletter's aim is to pass on a few pointers that will help improve a website. And to highlight some of my work.

I've enjoyed creating the newsletter and this is my process for getting it done.

Sending the emails

I'm using MailChimp for creating and sending the emails. It's a fantastic web app with a wealth of features that is a joy to use. I'll write about that another day but this article is about how I plan and manage the newsletter content.

Getting organised

My newsletter is monthly and the first thing I did was add a recurring task in my To Do list app (TeuxDeux). It's set for early in the month and gives me a week to complete the newsletter for sending on the 8th - 9th. That's not to say that I won't be working on the next edition earlier than that. But the task is a final reminder that I need to get everything finished before the sending date.

Planning and content creation

For content creation, I've set up a Trello board for the newsletter. Trello is a project management app where projects are represented by Boards. Each Board can have Lists (groups of items). My Newsletter Board has several Lists, for example, Ideas, Links/Sources, The Next One, and The Last One.

My Lists contain Cards which are content items for the newsletter. So, for example, a content item card will start in the Ideas list. I will move it into 'The Next One' list if I decide to include it in the next newsletter

The drag and drop interface in Trello means that I have an easy way of organising everything. Additionally, my Trello lists are arranged from left to right and that gives a nice visual representation as an item moves along the process.

During the course of the month, I research different ideas and collect URLs for my Sources/Links card.

→ Trello has a useful Chrome extension that means I can add any URL to my Links/Sources card from the browser. Neat!

After research and when I think they are ready, I move an item to The Next One card. And start writing my draft campaign in MailChimp.

My To Do List reminder prompts me to get everything finished and tested before the newsletter sending date.

In Conclusion

I'm feeling very organised and production of the first two newsletters has gone well.

The planning and organisation process means that I'm filtering items into the system over the month. This makes the process easier and there is less pressure to 'get the next newsletter out'. It's great!

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