August 12, 2020

Reworking the Newsletter

Oli Hall @SuchIndieHackMuchWow

I'm a little behind the curve on posting this update, but about a month back, I decided to rework Forge the Future a bit. I think COVID-19 reshaped things for many people, but for me it was a chance to step back and look at the projects I was working on, and figure out what was working, and what wasn't.

I started the FtF newsletter in May of 2019, as a way to share the climate news I was reading. In the time since, I've had plenty of time to figure out what I care about, and my perspective on climate matters. I started to feel like the newsletter was too broad, and that whilst I was able to see the patterns across news stories, the existing format gave me no room to explore that.

Hence I decided to reshape the branding and copy around the newsletter, and rework the format sent out each week. To be honest, I probably over-thought this, given my subscriber count is only around 150, but I re-launched around a month a go with a more free-form format that gives more context to the news I present each week. From my own perspective, it also makes it more enjoyable to write, which was a big plus - the previous format felt a lot like manual link aggregation, which gets very wearing if you're doing 8 hours of it a week! I'm also hoping to release occasional deep-dives into various decarbonising technologies and areas, which allows me to scratch my itch for research and understanding. Hopefully the first of those will go live in a couple of weeks.

So far, it's gone fairly well. I've not really marketed my new efforts at all since the launch, and despite losing a few subscribers in the week or two since, I've now recovered those numbers, entirely through organic growth. I don't think FtF will ever be a vast undertaking, but I've nevertheless seen slow but solid growth over the past year, which is encouraging!

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