Leveraging A Monthly Community Newsletter With The Power Of Blogs

What can be leveraged from a simple and informative monthly community newsletter?

Currently, the National Council of Vanik Associations (NCVA) here in the UK produces a monthly newsletter called Vanik Voice which is available as a downloadable PDF file. This month the readership have been informed about it by email, and referred to a link where they can download the newsletter.

The newsletter itself is most certainly informative, awakening, and entertaining. See for yourself by downloading the Diwali 2007 issue at www.ncva.co.uk/newsletter/november2007.pdf

Although increasingly valuable to its readership, this approach to sharing information certainly has it’s limitations:

  • Newsletter content is only accessible by those who know how to get to the downloadable PDF.
  • Existing readers who remember an article from a previous newsletter would need to trawl through all the previous issues of the newsletter to find what they’re looking for.
  • There is currently no easy and direct way for the issues covered in the articles to be explored easily amongst like-minded (and even non-like-minded!) Vaniks around the world.

7 Easy Steps To Overcoming These Limitations By Setting Up A Simple Online Blog (Web Log) And Mailing List Solution:

  1. Get hold of an easy to remember domain name such as www.ncvanews.org (cost $10 USD / £5 GBP per year)
  2. Host the website on a web host such as Dreamhost that allows you to set the site up using WordPress technology (cost $7.95 USD per month)
  3. Ask your web designer to make the site attractive in it’s appearance, have them install the various WordPress plugins that encourage visitors to make comments, and set up your very own branded email address such as news@ncvanews.org. (cost £200 GBP)
  4. Invest in an online mailing list solution such as Professional Cart Solutions that allows readers to automatically register for / unregister from receiving regular news updates. (cost $29 USD per month)
  5. Start posting up your news and articles to this new WordPress driven site. (cost: your time)
  6. Create and an email each month to be sent to your mailing list which highlights the best articles / news items, along with direct links to each of the pages where the articles are posted. (cost: your time)
  7. Respond to the comments that appear for each article on the site to encourage further community involvement and therefore further awareness of Vaniks around the globe. (PRICELESS)

Here are some major benefits with this new approach:

  • News is added on the blog whenever something new arises – now no more waiting to put it into the next issue.
  • Blogs are set up with RSS feeds which are great for those who want to be kept posted on news as soon as you post it on the site.
  • Those outside the Vanik community can also benefit from the fresh content which helps raise global awareness of the Vaniks.
  • The editor now just needs to post articles and news on the blog, and then compile a simple monthly email with links to the most important / popular blog posts.
  • Appropriate pictures and relevant videos from sources such as YouTube can be displayed on the site.
  • Most importantly, comments on the blog by the readers and random visitors who are interested in the content, certainly help to enhance community involvement, and encourages dialogue with the international Vanik community and beyond.

So would the initial cost of setting this up and maintaining it yearly be worthwhile when it comes to the overall value received by the whole Vanik community and those beyond it?