Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Newsletter For Your Hobby

One way to spend more time on your hobby area and to interest and entertain others at the same time is to spend some time working on a newsletter about your hobby. Newsletters are a different type of publication from magazines. Instead of catering to a fairly wide-reaching niche, newsletters are able to reach fewer people by being more centered.

Look at parenting publications, for instance. Many parenting magazines exist with basic information, such as how to handle postpartum visitors, what to do about toddler meltdowns, and how to pick the best schools. While many people need and want to read this information, if you believe in alternative educational styles, such as un-schooling or Waldorf education, then you are not likely to get advice tailored to you through these magazines. A newsletter is where you would find information specific to your beliefs and interests.

A friend of mine runs a newsletter that she has devoted to the idea of natural parenting. This friend believes in extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping until adulthood, using only organic materials, and not taking medications. As her friend, I subscribe. I agree with some of the ideas, particularly regarding brain development, but I am opposed to others, such as the no medications rule. Still she has a few hundred subscribers because she is focused on a niche topic.

The best part of running a newsletter about an area that really interests you is that you can be as crazy (or passionate) as you want. The people who are subscribing are rooting you on. They subscribe because they share your eclectic interest in your topic. Because newsletters are subscriber-driven and not advertising-driven like magazines, there are no concerns that you are too flamboyant about your topic.

If starting a newsletter about your area of passion sounds appealing to you, then perhaps you should consider starting the newsletter. The only supplies you will need are a computer and printer, which you probably already have. If need be, you could even use the computers at the library and pay to print your newsletter there. You will need to decide how much information you can fill in your newsletter. You may want to do something that requires only four pages, but a 32-page newsletter can exist as well.

Once you know how long you want to make it, you will need to know how you will fill it. What types of information will you include? If you are looking at vegetarian children, then you should include information about new books on the topic, recipes, nutritional advice, and feature articles. If you can pay for the feature articles, then you can cut out the amount of work you are doing yourself, but if you would rather write everything, then go for it. You will need to be sure that you are writing quality information that cannot be found elsewhere. Do interviews. Write about your own experiences. Fill your newsletter with information about your topic that will excite your readers.

After you have the content down, then you will need to begin to find subscribers. You probably can do that by coming up with a few places to offer your first copy for free. You should ask at local vegetarian restaurants, for example, if you can put out the vegetarian children newsletter. See if you can get copies to progressive playschools or kindergarten programs. Go through local organizations to get your newsletter out there. Have all of the information in the newsletter that will permit people to purchase a copy or subscribe.

After you begin getting subscribers, you will be obligated to continuing producing the newsletter or refund the money to the people who have subscriptions.

You should make sure that you begin work on each newsletter as soon as the last issue is sent out so that you do not get behind. Be sure that you listen to your subscribers and try to give them what they want. If this truly is a topic that piques your interest, then you should have little trouble working on getting information to fill the newsletter. You should be excited and want to work on your newsletter everyday. Doing so will guarantee that you have a product rich with information.

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