It’s been a year (a year!) since we launched The Space Between. Twelve months and 27 editions later, here’s what we’ve learned so far. If you’re starting your own newsletter, we hope this will be helpful.
The Space Between was inspired by David Hieatt’s ‘Law of Interesting’ theory, which states:
“The more interesting things you put out there, the more interesting things come back to you.”
We knew this to be true already; things like Alley-Oop, Designing for Inclusivity, and Harbour Deck opened the door to opportunities we didn’t know were possible, and remarkable people that we might otherwise never have met.
We also believe that the most interesting ideas happen at the intersection of unrelated fields. So, we wondered what would happen if, instead of just putting announcements in your inbox, we turned our newsletter into a platform that connects the dots.
And so, The Space Between was born. As much an experiment as a thought-out plan.
One year on, and the feedback tells us we should keep going. People look forward to it. One subscriber said it’s the only industry mailer worth reading. And of course, a few people unsubscribed.
Here are five things we’ve learned so far:
1. Design for purpose.
You might consider email to be social media’s ugly cousin (try to name a newsletter influencer…). But, by tailoring the design to your newsletter’s intent, you can create a platform that offers a more intimate conversation with your community, with less noise and distraction.
The focus of The Space Between is the articles we share, so we created a masthead that anchors each edition and then stripped back the rest of the design to let the images do the talking.
2. Focus on your reader.
We try to provide enough interesting stories, moments of delight, or creative inspiration to help you spark an idea or push you beyond your creative boundaries. But, there have been times when we’ve had enough HCMA related news to fill each edition (and it’s tempting). However, when you focus on your purpose, you focus on your reader.
We allow ourselves the last article in each edition to share what’s happening in our world, while the other 90% gifts the gold that enriches yours.
3. Choose your images and words carefully.
Do your images tell a story? Do the words flow? Is there too much clutter? You can’t bore people into reading something, so we try to pique the reader’s interest without being too descriptive.
Find your voice, and if you can’t find suitable images, try free resources like Unsplash. Even better, hire a local artist or designer to create a quick graphic.
4. Listen to your unsubscribers.
Nobody wants to lose people from their mailing list, but it happens. We all get overwhelmed by the amount of email we receive, and we unsubscribe when it’s not offering value. Spot the trends in your subscriber figures and focus on what’s working.
Another thing to consider is how often you publish your newsletter. The Space Between goes out every two weeks. We felt every week might feel like HCMA overload for our community, especially if they receive event invites and announcements too. Do what feels right for you and your readers.
5. Refine your process.
The best newsletters we’ve seen are a labour of love. You notice it in the small details. We’ve learned that you can’t leave it to the last minute. Set aside enough time to give your newsletter the attention your audience deserves.
Things rarely come together the first time, and looking through our archives, a few of the earlier editions stand out because we didn’t edit them well enough.
We hope those tips were helpful.
We’re working on a few ways to improve The Space Between, and hopefully in 12 months we’ll have more tips to share.
Join our mailing list.
You can subscribe to The Space Between here. We send it out once every two weeks. It’s designed to inspire you.
Being on our mailing list, you’ll also be the first to receive invites to any events we host, which will now be going virtual.
As always, thanks for the support, and stay safe.