Why write a newsletter?
I’ve been writing the Bath Knitting & Crochet Guild newsletter for a few years now, since the group started in June 2015. Initially it started as as way to communicate to and engage with the members of the Bath branch in between meetings as they were going to be bi-monthly. However, after the first session the demand for us to meet monthly meant we immediately changed the frequency.
We decided we’d continue with the newsletter though as it was a good and easy way to communicate with our members about the next month’s topic and any prep required, plus anything else of interest we wanted to share with the subscribers.
The newsletter, and the group generally, was meant to be (and is) an umbrella for all the knitting groups in Bath. We promote other knitting groups and events from the two local yarn stores, A Yarn Story and Wool, as well as other local events of interest I come across.
There are a mixture of craft groups in Bath, each catering to a different day and time to suit the lifestyle of the attendees. No one is competing for the same time slot or audience, in fact many of our members attend multiple groups.
Personally, I have more of an academic interest in knitting and I wanted the newsletter to be a bit different from the other knitting newsletters out there. I wanted to share information about what the knit and crochet structure can do; this could be anything from medical uses, architectural, maths or various art forms e.g. glass sculpture. Hopefully this also goes some way to changing the ‘it’s for grannies and is a bit old fashioned’ perception of the crafts. We also include articles on the benefits of knitting and crochet for wellbeing (this is a particular interest of mine, and I hope to investigate this further through a PhD in future).
There are plenty of very good newsletters already in existence promoting both the traditional uses of knitting and crochet and contemporary design, there was no need to compete with or replicate these.
Finding articles for the newsletter
- My main source is Google Alerts. I have various alerts set up for certain key words. This means that Google trawls the internet for relevant articles instead of me having to do it and I receive an email digest of the results. I filter the results and keep those of interest, ready to insert into the newsletter when I write it. I pick the best articles or those that are time/deadline dependent for inclusion. If there’s a slow month I could include an article that didn’t make the cut in a previous month.
- There are a few other newsletters and websites I check for articles:
- There are a few Facebook groups and Twitter feeds that often share relevant articles. Some of these are craft related and others are more science/technology focussed. As Instagram is more image based I find it more difficult to find articles, although there are some great knitting hashtags and accounts to follow.
- I am an avid magazine reader with subscriptions to embroidery magazine, Selvedge and British Vogue and often find things of interest to follow up and include. The Selvedge blog is a great source of information and inspiration for all things textile related.
Putting it all together
The sections we have in the newsletter are usually:
- Our next session
- Knitting & Crochet Guild news
- Craft headlines
- Dates for your diary
- You might also like…
The first item is always about our next session, giving details of what we’ll be doing and any prep or materials required, along with where, when and any costs.
The other sections are pretty self-explanatory and are just as they sound! I try to include 2-3 articles in the ‘Guild news’ and ‘craft headlines’ sections, quite a few ‘dates for your diary’ (for the next three months only, otherwise it can get a bit unwieldy), and one exhibition or textile-related article in the final section.
I use Mailchimp to create the newsletter; it’s a great tool that I find easy to use, it’s free and also holds the email addresses of our subscribers securely. There’s a subscription link we can share so anyone can join the mailing list and I don’t need to do anything, and they can unsubscribe at any point too.
We’ve had various other regular features in the newsletter that have come and gone; favourite craft blogs, a podcast of the month, that sort of thing.
If you’d like to read the newsletter of the Bath branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild, you can subscribe here.