Here are some notes about how the about:mozilla newsletter has been put together. These are just here as guides, but it is possible to try new things and evolve the newsletter in new directions.
- A draft of the newsletter is put together by the end of the day each Monday and sent around for review. The draft had been done directly in WordPress but we can do this on an Etherpad or wherever makes sense.
- The blog post and email version go out Tuesday afternoon.
- The newsletter format lately has been:
- 1 feature story
- then 1 story with a graphic
- then 3 or 4 other stories
- then a handful of events presented as single line bullet points.
- Earlier formats had more content, a table of contents, no picture and a software updates section. We made changes largely based on intuition (more than a dozen stories felt overwhelming and adding pictures added personality), but we didn't have much to show which is better. We've recently gotten the blog into WebTrends and can now start making more data-driven decisions.
- Each story is one short paragraph that links to one or two related blog posts, forums or other resources.
- The photo format has been 450 pixels wide since that's the maximum space in the blog post, but the email template has more space if we wanted to play around with having a wider version of a photo for emails.
- The contents of the photo has been evolving. We originally played around with a "Meet A Mozillian" photo and would reuse photos from bonjourmozilla.fr, but we've also been trying out other images, such as screenshots of demos and stills from videos.
- To highlight that the community is made up of people, we've been trying to include people's name in a few of the stories in each issue. For instance, saying "Rob Hawkes shows how he built this demo..." instead of "See how this demo was built..."
- The subject line of the email and the title of the blog post has just been a recap of the top two or three stories, for instance "Firefox Affiliates, Demos, Rainbows and more…". It seems like there's a lot of room for trying new things here and seeing what works best.