The DataLine newsletter is being retired; we will no longer be publishing a regular ongoing quarterly newsletter in print or electronically. Newsletters are so 20th century. Blogs are the future! (Or so we’ve read.)
In all seriousness, we were seeing two main problems with the quarterly newsletter: timeliness and timing. Publishing a quarterly newsletter meant that we were only sending out major communications to our customers only four times a year. We often find there are subjects that we would like to inform our customers about immediately, without having to wait for the next quarterly newsletter. Then by the time we are ready to publish the newsletter, we are either scratching our heads wondering “What exactly was it we wanted to put in the newsletter?” or so much time has passed that the subject is no longer relevant.
The other issue is timing; at the end of the quarter much of Hannah’s time for a couple weeks consists of a mad scramble to write, research, compile, edit and layout the newsletter, reducing the amount of time she has to train and support new customers. I went through the same type of thing until I delegated (pawned off?) responsibility for the newsletter to my younger sister. There must be a better way to communicate with customers instead of a frantic dash to get a newsletter out the door every three months!
Replacing the quarterly newsletter with a blog has a lot of advantages. What should you expect?
- Timely information on a more frequent basis. We aren’t promising lots of daily updates, but every week you should find something new, helpful or interesting on our blog.
- Unlike the newsletter, you can easily respond back to posts on the GrapeVine! In some posts we will specifically be looking for feedback from customers. For instance, when programmers are designing new features, we may want to run ideas by our customers
- The blogging platform makes it easier for more of our personnel to contribute, so you will see articles posted by the programming, support, and IT departments in addition to features that would normally go in the newsletter.
- We still plan on sending out an email quarterly (or possibly monthly/bi-monthly) that will summarize and provide links to important posts on the blog that we feel you shouldn’t miss.
- We are ramping up production of instructional/training videos. Each new video that introduced will be featured in a blog post. Some videos will be focused on training for new customers, while others will be geared towards explaining new or advanced features to existing customers.
- When appropriate, we will post links to news items about the ag industry, payroll and accounting topics, and computers that we feel will be of interest to our customers.
- Guest bloggers! From time to time we will invite others to write posts on our blog on topics that will be of interest to our customers.
- We will try to break up complex topics and lengthy articles into multiple shorter, more digestible chunks (for example, series on our new Human Resources module and the Affordable Care Act).
- And probably a few typos, as blog posts may not necessarily go through our extensive editorial process!
Going forward we plan on using email and this blog as the primary way of communicating with customers. If you haven’t already, make sure that email@example.com is added to your address book and white list (if you are using a spam filtering service) to make sure that you get our emails.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or feedback, register and leave comments below!