Promoting Professional Geekery #32 – A Newsletter?

(For more Promoting Professional Geekery check the roundup.)

Let me take a moment to praise MailChimp.

For those of you not familiar with it, MailChimp is not a character in an Adult Swim cartoon called “Primate Postal Service,” though that would probably be popular.  Instead, it’s a mailing list and mailing campaign management system with some sweet free options.  Pretty much – it’s a way to run newsletters.

Of course it’s just one way to do it – I myself use it to run my own Geek Beacon.  Based on my experience, I’m noting it’s awful easy to run a newsletter . . .

So you probably see where this is going.

If you want to promote the Professional Geek ideal and lifestyle, you have to share your knowledge and wisdom (of which I’m sure you have at least one if not both).  We’ve discussed blogs and books, but the humble Newsletter is a great way to reach people as well:

  • People have to opt-in to one (so you get an interested audience).
  • It’s delivered right to their email inbox (so it’s hard to ignore).
  • It’s an alternative to having to go to a blog or read a book or soforth.
  • It lets you engage with people very personally (because it’s not necessarily public).
  • It’s easy to put little subscribe widgets on your website(s) which looks cool.

I myself subscribe to several newsletters, and, yes, I actually take time to read them.  There’s some great stuff out there, and it comes right to me.

It’s also way for you to share Professional Geekery.

Think what you can do with it:

  • You can target.  You can focus on a very narrow, given area of interest because people who sign up for something like this are probably actually interested in what you have to say.
  • You can do serial work easily.   You can run continuing series of columns on advice, jobs, careers, a specific career, etc.  People will easily follow it since it’s in their email inbox.
  • You can make it personal.  People respond to (and I find, like) personal tones in email newsletters a lot more – and you may find it more appropriate than blog posts or books.
  • You can gauge interest.  The amount of people who sign up tell you who’s interested in your subject – which may give you other ideas.
  • You’re hard to forget.  Face it, you’re in people’s email inbox.  Don’t abuse that, by the way.

As for your subject?  Well what are you a Progeek about?  Then do a newsletter.  Cosplay and body type, the role of nonfiction writing in a fiction writer’s life, computer careers in your state/province.

A blog or book may not be your thing, but the more intimate, immediate world of the newsletter?  That can let you share your Professional Geekery quite easily with the right people – you may even be more comfortable with it!

Of course this could tie into a blog, or launch a book, or something else.  That’s just one more way to keep spreading the word and encouraging people to make their hobbies their careers.

Steven Savage