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#1 2015-04-13 10:59:46

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

Magazine to newsletter

Hello to dev team and other TXP devotees.

I noticed someone talking about TXP magazine in a post in here (first time I noticed, sorry).

I have lots of experience pushing up marketing tent poles based on the smell of an oily rag.

But I’m wondering: why did the previous TXP mag stopped, and why…? Is there some inertia re content creation going on that eventually kills it? Is this something that dev team doesn’t think works?

I know content creation is a lot of work, and just being enthusiastic is not enough, but from my side, I’m really committed to the TXP platform. I’m not a coder and can’t contribute like any of the lowest plugin developer can, put aside the dev team, in any stretch of the imagination. But I am wondering if there’s any of my native publishing and marketing skills that TXP peeps think can be put to use?

I don’t think the dev process needs to be exposed – that’s not what I see it’s about. I believe more people need to know that TXP really is about, that they should have a single channel where, in language they can understand, they can start to engage with TXP, make them think twice about their choice of platform.

So: marketing. Do the devs think they need it, or are they happy motoring on as they are?

Happy to hear your thoughts, and always happy to be a TXP user.

Cheers

David Andor

—-

EDIT: Changed thread subject to better reflect direction of conversation. – Destry

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#2 2015-04-13 12:40:12

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,795
Website GitHub

Re: Magazine to newsletter

wavesource wrote #289939:

why did the previous TXP mag stopped…?

From what I can tell, the original incarnation of txpmag (before my time here) didn’t have a very clear editing goal. It was just a collection of stuff linked to Textpattern.

When Destry decided to change all that and we took ownership of the domain, the goals were clearer: type of content, style, tone, and features were all stated and planned out to fit into the site framework I built. It was project managed via Asana so everyone knew what was required of them, and when. And documents were drafted in Google Docs (for better or worse — I generally dislike thin client solutions, but at least its change management and commenting system is halfway decent). Plus, the mag had an editor-in-chief with a big whip, who knows a thing or ten about content strategy.

The sad truth is that contributors dried up, what with other commitments. It pretty much became the Stef and Destry show for an issue, and that’s not really viable long-term. So it’s had a hiatus ever since.

I am wondering if there’s any of my native publishing and marketing skills that TXP peeps think can be put to use?

Absolutely! Marketing is where we traditionally fall down, which is kind of ironic for a content publishing system. Well, the other thing dragging us down is the fact I’ve been massively slacking on the coding front too, but that’s my own personal day-to-day demons haunting me, nothing to do with lack of enthusiasm for Txp itself.

In short, if you have skills and enthusiasm in this arena, then we’d love to put those qualities to good use. Please feel free to discuss stuff here, on G+, or collar myself, Destry or one of the other devs via email and we’ll give you whatever support you need. Thanks in advance.


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#3 2015-04-13 12:45:02

philwareham
Core designer
From: Haslemere, Surrey, UK
Registered: 2009-06-11
Posts: 3,555
Website GitHub Mastodon

Re: Magazine to newsletter

I also keep the codebase ticking over for when I will eventually build a new TXP magazine theme. That won’t be until after the official Textpattern site though.

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#4 2015-04-13 21:58:42

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Let me kick this can a bit further. An example of what I see is gold standard in terms of public outreach is this email newsletter for MyFonts.com – yep, typography behemoth, but they actually care about what they do.

They have two newsletters going out per month. One flavour is their showcase of fontographers:

https://www.myfonts.com/newsletters/cc/201503.html

The other is just a quickie showcasing top selling fonts:

https://www.myfonts.com/newsletters/rs/201504.html

Whoever is concocting this stuff cares about typography, and on the whole, it’s brilliant, if you care about typography and fonts.

What I am pointing to here is all the TXP mag needs to do is communicate people’s engagement with TXP, whether they are devs or plugin authors or just users. And I suggest that you just drop the “mag” bit, because that can sound like it’s really heavy, and also a lot of work. Compliance is key: if you can’t keep dropping little TXP chocolates into people’s inboxes on a regular basis, then you just don’t do it. People respond to commitment and ritual.

So, I would suggest that the format be that of a post to a TXP subsite, echoed out through RSS and of course email, but at a frequency that is maintainable. I’m happy to do the layout and content pulling if that’s amenable to the crew, subject to approvals of course etc. Would be nice to have somewhere like a project management place where we can pull it together behind the curtain… I mean, I have my own systems for this sort of stuff, but happy to use whatever TXP peeps perefer. If TXP want to get together some mail cannon or I can offer a list via Sendy/Amazon SES for gratis (copyright and ownership all being TXPs natch), then the rest is just another subdomain and TXP setup somewhere and off we go. And we’ll need some signups on websites, but that’s small stuff.

As to format, I suggest a slower frequency, maybe 6 times per year, and include stubs linking through to maybe 3 flavours of content: TXP development corner, user feedback and spotlight, and maybe a feature spot for TXP plugin and dev team, either spotlighting new plugins or even potted interviews with plugin/dev coders. This spread would permit the publication to allow for ebb and flow of material.

That’s it – my coffee is empty

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#5 2015-04-13 22:12:22

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Actually, my mind boggles what you guys might use for mass marketing.(yep, coffee is on the stove).

I looked at mailgun but went for Sendy for my clients’ ease of use.

My point is, my personal approach is keep it simple. I’m happy to contribute a Sendy license (http://sendy.co in case you hadn’t heard of this script) for a TXP domain etc. and also cover sending costs as well as help with formatting. I think once it got going you’d probably have designers coming out of the woodwork all over the joint, and it would be a new ballgame. So being able to project manage stuff is probably key – having somewhere for all stakeholders to access and contribute.

I don’t use Google docs. But I understand that from TXP dev perspective they’d want something that was open and not beholden to anyone.

What I have done for some of my clients who want to format their own email newsletter content, is integrate a section in TXP on their sites where they can edit their newsletter content, and then they can hit a button and send it to Sendy where it is queued in their list, can be reviewed at the last post and then sent out. This means that they are creating content on their site where it is then displayed, that includes a blog post from a blog section, and stuff, so the point of this is that create content once and it is then not only displayed in the different sections or cats via TXP on their site, but also it gets pushed ready to send out via list mechanisms.

So I’m wondering if that style of thing, using the TXP site itself, is a better idea rather than getting all wound up about other systems?

Cheers

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#6 2015-04-13 22:44:26

wavesource
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2011-08-02
Posts: 56

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Ok, I’m still catching up. Thanks for the link to the TXP mag site, Phil. Have no idea what you have got going under the hood, but it looks serious.

‘Enter the nice world of Textpattern’?

Again, I would boil it down to just a simple set of 2 or 3 topics, and then just repeat, repeat, repeat… and the site would just serve that content and nothing else. Eg. testimonials? They need to be on TXP main site, IMHO it’s not the focus of the TXPmag site, it’s content should be king, not anything on the side… Keep it narrow, keep it stylish but slim, and just focus on the main task.

ie. do less but do more with it.

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#7 2015-06-29 10:54:13

Destry
Member
From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,852
Website

Re: Magazine to newsletter

When I get a proper minute, I’ll jump in here about the magazine so people aren’t re-brainstorming the wheel; notably about what was planned for it before the tracks disappeared under the train.

A newsletter is a different topic, and a good idea. But it should not mimic the role of the magazine, rather it should accelerate reach and message from textpattern.com (notably blog posts), and general community news/activity. Heck, anybody who watches the conversations in this forum regularly enough would be a good person to write for a newsletter. Gaekwad comes to mind, but by all means, put fresh blood on it too.

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#8 2015-06-29 16:50:36

gaekwad
Server grease monkey
From: People's Republic of Cornwall
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 3,931
GitHub

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Destry wrote #292235:

Gaekwad comes to mind, but by all means, put fresh blood on it too.

+1 for fresh blood. I’m already way behind on other commitments/projects.

Commenting so I can return and say something more useful when I get a (proper) minute, too.

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#9 2015-06-30 05:18:21

milosevic
Member
From: Madrid, Spain
Registered: 2005-09-19
Posts: 390

Re: Magazine to newsletter

One idea for contribution: some people like me are enthusiasts of TXP, with years of experience using it, but with a low-medium level of English (enough to explain a problem or solution in the forum and get understood, but not for writing a correct long text in English without mistakes). If we ran a MLP txpmag version, I (and others) could translate contents into Spanish what means give a lot of visibility to TXP for millions of native Spanish speakers.

In the opposite way, If someone native English feels confortable translating Spanish, I feel confident for write some stuff (tips & tricks), or perhaps I could write something in English but someone should check my posts before publishing.


<txp:rocks/>

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#10 2015-06-30 08:11:19

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,795
Website GitHub

Re: Magazine to newsletter

milosevic wrote #292323:

If we ran a MLP txpmag version, I (and others) could translate contents into Spanish

Great idea, if only MLP wasn’t so flaky. The reality is that it’s a hack, and will not work under 4.6+. At least, the effort involved in making it work and maintaining it is greater than the effort to just bake multi-linguality into core. So that’s the approach I’m intending to take. I wrote a document outlining how to do that, just waiting for a) time to implement it myself, or b) someone to pop up and offer assistance to take the idea and run with it.


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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#11 2015-06-30 08:38:56

Destry
Member
From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,852
Website

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Hi, wavesource (David).

I’d like to address your original post, first of all, and elaborate a few things in the process, not to pick on you specifically, but to bring the topic of the magazine — and the difficulties of running one — to head again for everybody. You’re thread and inquiries just happen to be a good reason for doing it.

But first let me reiterate Bloke’s sentiment here…

Bloke wrote #289946:

If you have skills and enthusiasm in this arena, then we’d love to put those qualities to good use. Please feel free to discuss stuff here, on G+, or collar myself, Destry or one of the other devs via email and we’ll give you whatever support you need. Thanks in advance.

I’d just add three caveats:

  1. Disregard using G+ at this point. Subscribe to this thread instead.
  2. I’m not on the “leadership” team of Textpattern. I’m just a concerned community member like yourself.
  3. Don’t take anything I say the wrong way. I’ve put a lot of time in on the magazine, and what you see there is the least of it. So I have some feelings and thoughts about things. naturally, and it will probably benefit everyone to hear them.
wavesource wrote #289939:

I noticed someone talking about TXP magazine in a post in here (first time I noticed, sorry).

This gives me the feeling you’ve materialized out of the blue after a long time away and have not been keeping up with community events here since at least 2011. So why would you be good at promoting Txp in a marketing sense?

…why did the previous TXP mag stopped … Is there some inertia re content creation going on that eventually kills it? Is this something that dev team doesn’t think works?

And that confirms my feeling, because if you’re aware of TXP Mag when it was run by Alexandra, then you’ve been a member in this community for a long time. Thus you should have been more aware of all that happened with the magazine initiative in the last years, especially since 2011 when Textpattern acquired it from Alexandra and invited me to be its Editor. The whole strategic change and process was talked about extensively here, in the Google+ Page (never was popular), on Twitter (@txpmag), and especially in the source itself — the magazine, in the form of Notes from the Editor each issue.

Point is, where were you then when we could have used you in the heat of battle? ;)

Okay. I know. Life happens. I get that. Textpattern is not the sun in our solar system. We community long-timers have all had our hiatuses, myself included.

But just realize the situation isn’t that nobody has tried to address the obvious need for content marketing in this (Textpattern) project. In fact, the situation is that contributions in that direction are too often non-committal and scarce for such efforts to even have a chance.

Likewise, this is a project that’s lead and driven by development only, not business, which is unfortunate for the project, unless that’s all the project really wants to be (what it’s always been). Developers and designers don’t make for good business leaders, strategists, and marketers — roles that require a lot of dedicated communication and a taste for the green (or whatever color your money is). But there’s no need for that if there’s no leadership ambition for more anyway. All the volunteers in the world won’t change anything if there’s no golden target to aim for.

I know content creation is a lot of work, and just being enthusiastic is not enough

That’s exactly right. So you should know that without content contributions, nothing else works in editorial or marketing efforts. As Bloke has already — and rightly — pointed out, nobody in this community can (or wants) to contribute content outside of what they might do at their own websites. In other words, when it comes to a real editorial workflow with a strategy behind it, people run for the hills, or take offense that somebody is making their copy better. So yeah, it’s hard work. No exaggeration.

It’s made even harder by the fact there’s zero money supporting the effort. No money for article contributions. No money for the editing. No money for the developers maintaining the mag platform customizations on top of their contributions to Txp core itself. You see the problem. Without money to motivate people and lube the engine, a magazine with a focused publishing process (as is needed), doesn’t go far. Enthusiasm and commitment is short-lived.

But I am wondering if there’s any of my native publishing and marketing skills that TXP peeps think can be put to use?

Sure. The specifics of what and how is the real question.

And this is where I want to turn things away from the magazine and towards your great idea for a newsletter, because, as I’m now resigned to think, this community doesn’t need a magazine. The community is too small, and there’s not enough going on in it to write full magazine articles about. Dev stuff can be produced elsewhere, like the blog, TXP Tips, user docs, etc.

But a newsletter is a different story. That’s like writing short blog posts, and they can be on any variety of silly thing (like Alexandra used to run TXP Mag), and the platform is easier, and the whole thing can be done by one or two people who write all the content (no need to solicit the contributing authors, who don’t exist anyway), and the visual identity on it can be the project brand since a newsletter is more focused on the project day-to-day stuff, as opposed to being a real publication beyond the CMS itself. In short, a newsletter is ideal for a small community like this where human resources and contributions are nearly non-existent, but efforts still need to be made to reach out beyond the forum to “engage” with people.

I don’t think the dev process needs to be exposed – that’s not what I see it’s about. I believe more people need to know that TXP really is about, that they should have a single channel where, in language they can understand, they can start to engage with TXP, make them think twice about their choice of platform.

Well, all of that needs some more kicking around, I think. For example, development is a very big aspect of this community. The major one. But your right, there’s more to promote than just development.

I also think multi-channel is the right way to be thinking about it all, not single channel. This forum, which a lot of people have a love affair with, for example, is without a doubt a channel where people can engage with Txp. But I will quickly agree that it should not be the only channel, nor is it a good marketing channel. The forum is for the fish already hooked, not those you’re trying to snag. That’s where social channels and a primary publishing/push channel are essential. The Textpattern blog should be a powerful publish channel but, historically speaking, it’s poorly supported with content (there’s that problem again).

A newsletter that combines efforts with the Txp blog would be ideal, but you still need someone writing blog posts and newsletter columns on a regular basis. If you want to help, my vote for you would be as newsletter editor, where you can lead and write the thing to your heart’s content. Let’s see how long that lasts. And make kicking the butts of developers to write more blog posts a part of your task too. ;)

============

(N.B.: For those of you bringing up the non-English language suggestions for the magazine, I’m replying to you next.)

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#12 2015-06-30 08:57:28

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,795
Website GitHub

Re: Magazine to newsletter

Destry wrote #292333:

And make kicking the butts of developers to write more blog posts a part of your task too.

Hehe. I wrote one, I wrote one! More in the pipeline.

Maybe the ‘dev’ blog angle is wrong? Maybe it shouldn’t just be a channel for devs to sporadically spout about stuff but a channel for anyone to spout what’s going on in their Textpattern world? A newsletter channel where people can send an article — as short or as long as you like — into a nominated central point moderated by wavesource, you, me, anyone around the globe that would give us timezone coverage, and have it published there, surrounded by the brand design.

The “newsletter” is then just an RSS feed away, containing the voices of people who use Textpattern and those that contribute to Textpattern.

Dunno, that might suck as an idea. I’m not a content strategist.


The smd plugin menagerie — for when you need one more gribble of power from Textpattern. Bleeding-edge code available on GitHub.

Txp Builders – finely-crafted code, design and Txp

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