I just left a comment on a Sparkline blog post, which reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to share. As of our last issue, our email newsletter, the Occasional Machine Chronicles, is now invite-only.
While it’s really not as exclusive as it sounds (just drop us a line if you like what we do), it still has at least a slight tinge of elitism. For now, we’re leaving that tinge there and wrestling with it. There are many valid arguments for exclusivity as a marketing tool. Many highly successful designers consider it a professional and economic (i.e. “supply and demand”) imperative.
Before I get caught up in that debate, however, there’s another reason for our choice.
As I wrote the primary article for our last issue, I realized how focused I was on each individual subscriber. These are clients, peers and friends. I was writing the article very specifically for them. I wanted it to be meaningful and valuable to each one of them.
I had just updated our subscription tools to attract more readers, and I realized if they were successful I’d be scattering that focus as I tried to provide broader value to more people. I began to wonder about the danger of forgetting who we are as a studio: optimistic, adventurous creatives who are dedicated to continuously outdoing ourselves and helping our clients move to their next level (that’s the nutshell version).
I write for a number of different audiences, having focused on beginning and non-designers during my stint as the Answers.com digital arts expert, and on web designers at Webdesigner Depot. The Chronicles are something different.
In it, we are not only reaching out to say hello and promote our services, but also fostering a kind of “family”—one that values craftsmanship, authentic relationships, design, and… and something else. Perhaps it is the belief that to navigate this relentlessly changing world, we must cultivate curiosity and wonder—we must embrace the possibility that anything and everything could be completely different when we wake up tomorrow morning.
I did not have all this in mind when I started the newsletter, but it does seem to be what it’s becoming.
So yes, you can subscribe by simply asking, but we’re not going to be giving away free white papers or mugs to grow the list.
Hm… but maybe we should do this for the Facebook page…* It’s a great post about turning your attention from growing your online metrics to creating great work: You have more reach than you think.
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