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Bon Journal

Why newsletters?

Ever since I put together my first 2-page Bon Journal newsletter, I've been giving printouts to friends and strangers to read. Recently, a marketing guru asked me some probing questions about why I wanted to launch this publication.

My first reaction was that one of my readers had asked how he could read my online journal entries without having to go online. The obvious answer was to give him a floppy disk or CD of all my web pages. But he would still need to switch on his computer to read them. So one day, I decided to extract and edit the most interesting stuff and put them on a Word document. Before long, I had produced five issues.

Now I just need to find the time to produce more: travel, being Chinese, writing, job-hunting, and love stories.

What are you attempting/want to accomplish? What's your rationale?
  1. Some readers mentioned they wish they could read my Bon Journal without having to be online
  2. I want to broaden the audience base, not just online readers, but offline as well.
  3. I believe that online presence isn't enough. I want to maximise eyeballs, to maximise value. To do that, I need to have offline presence.
What do your newsletters stand for?
  1. For time-challenged and attention-short readers, it's important to offer something that's short and simple but interesting.
  2. My newsletters represent a snapshot of other interesting stuff which I've written, but more importantly they show how everyone can have interesting things to tell and share. I hope to have contributors.
Why would someone pay to read these publications?
No, I am not actually counting on paid subscriptions. People would pay only if they want to be on a special list, to be alerted to new issues. Most people would just have to check the site themselves. Eventually, it will be only offline. So payment is a guarantee of availability or alert.
How will it make the readers life or business better (how is it relevant to them)?
  1. When we're so self-absorbed and bogged down by our problems, it helps to read that someone on the other side of the world in a totally different profession and situation shares something in common with us. Hope. Empathy. Compassion. We are more common than we are different: work issues, love, etc.
  2. It's easier to do business with someone who shares the same values or hobbies as us. If people can pick and choose, they will. For example, when I have to source my contacts for an article, I will contact those I feel most comfortable with. Only in extreme situations will I contact someone I dislike. Having said that, I also make cold calls, and sometimes the luck is like the Russian roulette. With regards to the newsletters, they are a "dim sum" or a "tapas" of topics, whose writers may share your passion.
Who is your target: consumer, average joe, intellectuals, poets, business people (if so what industry) and how much would you charge?
  1. Target: professionals like myself, different industries
  2. Target: I'm not sure if the retiree, student, stay-at-home mom or wife would find this interesting. However, I do get e-mails from them - students who aspire; retirees who reflect; people who are bored and looking for inspiration or a laugh. Some noted that they like the international aspect - or that I can summarise something complex into something they can relate to.
Why would someone or a company sponsor the newsletters?
  1. If I build a focussed audience, these could be the target for a company or interest group to reach.
  2. Topics drive audience interest. A topic like air-travel should be of interest to airlines. A topic like hotel accommodation should be of interest to hotel managers.
  3. Similarly, one on work issues, should be of interest to headhunters.
Why would someone contribute articles to the publications?
  1. For the various reasons why they'd contribute elsewhere
  2. Reprints
  3. Increase circulation. As a contributor, if my article appears somewhere or if I'm quoted somewhere, I naturally want to get reprints or make copies to share with others.
  4. have a say in something.
How much does it cost to produce a newsletter (time and money) ?
  1. It doesn't cost much to extract and edit the stuff I've written before.
  2. It would cost more to come up with new content
  3. It will take time and effort to read, select, and summarise what others have written
My strategy:
  1. Stage 1 - produce a few, different subjects, test-market on known and unknown readers offline (my networking events, and local places I go to)
  2. Target everyone who has contacted analyticalQ web master as well as everyone I know - to get feedback.
  3. When I start to run out of stuff, get contributors
  4. Get sponsors when I have enough audience. Some sponsors don't need my audience as they have their own.
  5. Eventually get to a steady state of regular issues. Right now I can only do so when I have time.

24 October 2002 Thursday

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Anne Ku
writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.