Is Change in the Wind?

This blog has been active since August 2009 and I have been publishing the corresponding newsletter since June of 2001. On top of that, I write a variety of other things, including the occasional magazine article. However, I’m not actually in the writing business, I’m in the LIMS / ELN implementation business. Thus, for several years, I’ve thought about consolidating the amount of writing that I do.

Initially, I cut back on the amount of unpaid writing I need to do by getting rid of the magazine articles that I write. Over time, I got a couple interesting and new opportunities and did do a bit more of that than I’d planned.

However, I’ve long realized that I don’t really need both a blog AND a newsletter. They serve slightly different purposes and slightly different groups of people. It’s not as easy as picking one over the other. The newsletter has a much larger readership, as I’ve been writing it longer AND spent a LOT more time getting people signed-up for it. On the other hand, the blog tends to get more new readers than the newsletter, although the newsletter does still get new readers, as well.

As such, I just sent the entire newsletter list a survey to ask them what they really think. It’s possible that they don’t really care which one they read. And when I say “read” I do mean to say that I’m not looking at the total membership to make these decisions, but only the actual “reads” that I see.

Unanswered Questions
One advantage to the newsletter is that, while it’s totally optional, quite a few people actually do enter their company, title, phone number and address. Since I did promise all members that I’d never sell the list nor use it for other purposes, the next question is this – what would I really do with this information?

With the new mini-trend being to send paper newsletters in order to stand out, I had considered asking those people if they’d be willing to receive mailed newsletters. However, since so many people on the list are international, that already starts to sound both expensive and like a bit of a hassle.

Both the newsletter and blog provide statistics and raw numbers that I could use to analyze the readership, if I were so inclined, which I haven’t been, up to now. Well, that’s not 100% true but my attempts to more deeply analyze who reads which articles (i.e., which articles are most interesting to people who would be actual paid customers) have not amounted to much, for a variety of reasons.

The ultimate goal for all of us with small businesses is to balance the amount of things we do to promote and run our business yet still leave plenty of time to do chargeable work if it comes our way. These decisions are seldom clear-cut. While I’ll miss the newsletter or blog if I do end up retiring one of them, I doubt I would do it particularly soon, even if I did make that kind of decision.

Regarding the newsletter, I have five more articles in the queue, which I wouldn’t throw away. Plus, I just paid the annual fee for the tool that runs it all. So, it’s staying around for at least another five months.

In any case, whether I decide to remove one or the other, or to keep both, I will announce that decision in both places and with plenty of lead-time to know when the last article will be delivered.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

3 responses on “Is Change in the Wind?

  1. I too am consolidating all of my LIMS publication sites. We will have one site that provides everything including newsletter. All members and subscribers are consolidated.

    I find print publishing to be less than stellar and gave that a mis long ago. All users can login with their LinkedIn account which reduces the barriers for users and gets us a ton of valuable metrics.

    Even our limsforum group on LinkedIn is being migrated to the new site… All 73,000 plus members and thousands of discussions and comments.

    I think it is wise for you to consolidate. I think it serves the readers better. My vote is for the blog and then drive a monthly newsletter from the RSS feed of the blog and post all of your writings to your blog under an open access, creative commons license so other blogs can repost your content freely with a link back to your site. This will help build your traffic and Google ranking and give your publications more exposure through more web venues.

    • John, thanks for the suggestions. Right now, no-one is restricted from reading or commenting, except for the fact that all responses require approval and there really aren’t that many comments to approve so it’s not really a burden to me. In addition, some sites do seem to repost, like LinkedIn, for example. Since this isn’t really a membership site, I’m not really sure what I’d gain with the OpenID. And, actually, I’m not sure I’m too worried about my numbers in the blog (or the newsletter, for that matter). While I won’t argue that improving numbers can be a good thing, it’s been doing pretty well as a simple blog. So, in my efforts to simplify, I’m not keen to add anything.

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