[These are some quickly written thoughts in response to this comment. I would welcome any tips or feedback and can expand the information provided if asked]
Why create a newsletter?
Newsletters are often an efficient way to disseminate new information about a project or community, e.g., new research, events or opportunities.
Newsletters can engage groups of people who are interested in a more mainstream topic (e.g., behaviour science) while subtly introducing them to EA.
Making a newsletter can be fun: I personally enjoy reading about new research and ideas in my areas of interest.
Being a knowledge broker is undervalued in the EA community.
How long does it take to set up?
I probably spent about 20-50 hours setting up the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter. With this guide, that would probably have been closer to 10 hours or maybe less.
A lot of my time setting this up was spent talking with people and coordinating. Those set up costs may not apply in other cases.
How long does it take to do each edition?
I have volunteers to help, so it is hard to estimate time commitments. Alone, I think I could probably produce a ‘good’ edition with 5-10 hours of work and a passable one in about 3-5 hours (all depends on what resources are accessible or shared).
Together, I’d estimate that the whole team probably puts in about 20 hours of work per quarterly edition.
How do I create a newsletter?
What platform should I use?
I recommend MailerLite. Sam Salzar who is something of an expert at growing newsletters recommended it. It is free up to 1000 subscribers, you can add as many admins as you want, and it is very easy to set up and manage.
What headings should I use?
I suggest that you rework the structure of one or more of the existing newsletter templates. Here is what we use for the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter.
🏡 Join our community
📝 Preprints & articles
💬 Forum posts
💼 Jobs & volunteering
👨🔬 Researcher profile
🏡 Join our community
What is the basic process?
The process for the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter is: (content) curation, (newsletter) creation, feedback, finishing and promotion. This starts about one month out from when each quarterly edition is due.
I think that starting with quarterly editions is a relatively low effort way to test if the newsletter has a good enough ROI to sustain. You can always increase the frequency in the future.
What do I need to create to support that process?
Here are some templates from the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter. I can share the forms with you if you want to create copies.
- A form to find volunteers to help with various roles
- An overall working document, that you can share with new people to onboard them This outlines/curates, for instance:
- Project values
- Limiting communication overheads
- Fast and simple decision-making
- Lean/ iterative
- Fun/ beneficial
- Honest/ transparent
- Roles and responsibilities
- Four roles (curation, creation, feedback, and promotion) and responsibilities
- Templates and resources to use as part of these roles.
- The process
- curation, creation, feedback, finishing and promoting
- Project values
- A form to subscribe to the newsletter (you can easily upload the spreadsheet output)
- A form for volunteer’s feedback
- A form for submitting content/feedback
- A landing page/Sign-up page (built with help from Markus Amalthea Magnuson and Sam Salzar)
- You don’t need this to start (you can just use the form) but it will help over time. It is mainly useful if you have a website that you want to advertise on.
- I can share this with you if you build/built your site on Webflow (which I weakly encourage if you are non-technical).
I also recommend that you make and share a rough plan for
- testing the hypothesis that a newsletter is useful in your area
- your responses to the results from your test (e.g., will you wind it down if it less popular than you expect? How/when will you scale if it is popular?).
- How to coordinate: I use the working doc, forms and email to keep it simple.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Hey! Thank you for your post! For those of you who are not afraid of coding a little bit, I suggest you to use Mautic (https://www.mautic.org/) and Amazon SES. It is way cheaper than subscribing a plan to MailerLite or Mailchimp for example if you have a lot of subscribers. Moreover, it allows you to create automations for introducing new subscribers to your organization , your thoughts or your research, without having to send mails manually.
Thanks for sharing Alex!