I’m taking over as the editor of our Interior Design Department’s newsletter, and just I love what you do with the Plinth & Chintz newsletter. We want to move to an online format to save money (hopefully!). Is it expensive to publish online”
(submitted by Vivian J.)
First off, congratulations on becoming the editor of your department’s newsletter. I’m sure it will be a challenge, but it will be great management experience for you; plus, you can sharpen your writing skills, which is so very valuable in this business.
An online newsletter is a great way to go because you 1) will kill fewer trees, 2) can be more timely in your reporting, 3) will have more flexibility on the format (i.e., you won’t be as limited on space as with printed column inches).
I use a program called SendStudio to create my newsletters and a content management system (CMS) called Mambo to keep my website updated. However, these delivery systems would be a little more than you need. Plus, you would possibly have to get your school or organization to buy a domain name and find (or hire) a person versed in these programs to help you. Since there are other options out there, there is really no reason to choose something that may require a specific software or set-up fee related to distribution.
Other email marketing options exist, of course: Constant Contact, Emma, Net Atlantic, etc. Like SendStudio, they allow you to create html- and image-rich emails, send out an email to thousands of people with one click of a mouse, and track open rates. Some even let you create surveys for feedback. However, they all have one drawback in common: they cost money.
The simplest and least expensive thing to do would be to have a blog and then direct your audience to it via “old-fashioned” emails alerting them to new content via a link. (OR you can even set up an RSS Feed for your blog, but that’s a whole other topic…)
A free and easy one that so many people that I know use is Blogger. In fact, here are some examples that friends of mine have set up, and the first two are actually related to what you’re doing, i.e. communicating with other interior design students:
Hope this helps, and the best of luck with the newsletter!