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Read All About It!

Written by Bunkers on January 20, 2017

The 'year of doing' continues and this week I successfully delivered the first edition of my newsletter to my (ahem, handful of) subscribers. I know it doesn't seem like much, but like starting this blog, it's now a 'living' thing which requires some responsibility to keep going. Despite a few concerns about that commitment, it feels good. Paul Jarvis is another advocate of doing rather than thinking, and encourages people to shift mindset from consuming to producing. That's exactly what this newsletter feels like for me. I'm consuming online all the time. Reading other people's opinions or about their daily routines. I've never felt like an expert, probably because I'm not, but neither are the vast majority of the other people's blog posts I'm reading. That doesn't mean it hasn't got any value, but it does mean I can hopefully produce something of value too.

There's another reason for starting the newsletter and that's a kind of 'dog fooding'. As a web developer I've helped a number of people produce HTML email templates for their newsletters and other campaigns. Nearly all of them use MailChimp as their email service. Also the emails usually consist of short sections with a link to something on the web, either some interesting content, an event sign up page or something similar. I've noticed how laborious the process of setting out these emails can be. A number of services have sprung up to solve this, like Revue, GoodBits and Curated, but none of them integrated with MailChimp (i.e. design your email and send it via MailChimp) and most of them restricted the design of the email too.

So, I've found my niche and I'm developing something I'm calling Fanaticles to fill it. To begin with it only integrates with MailChimp, but it allows you to create your newsletter using a template within MailChimp and does the grunt work of bringing in images etc. for you. When you're ready you can send it to your subscribers within MailChimp so you're not having to pay two services for the same subscriber list. It's not ready yet, but I'll announce it via my newsletter and on this blog when it is, or you can sign up for updates over on the Fanaticles site.

And yes, I do know that's not how you spell fanatical, but it's a portmanteau - at least I think that's the right term - of Fanatic and Articles.