A newsletter is a regularly scheduled email that is sent out on a specific topic to an email list. In the IndieWeb they are used to delivery posts from a person's site to another person's email.
Many people don't have RSS or IndieWeb readers but want to follow the content posted on someone's IndieWeb site. Almost everyone on the internet uses email, so it's a common use case that is approachable for many people to use.
The two most common ways of sending out newsletters in the IndieWeb are either using a CMS plugin or using an RSS to Email service.
Examples in the wild of newsletters being used in the IndieWeb. Examples are ordered in the date that newsletters started getting sent out. Add yourself!
- Eddie Hinkle has been sending out monthly newsletters since May 30, 2018. After deciding to leave Facebook as of August 2018, He decided the easiest way to generation 4 family members and friends can keep in-touch is by receiving regular email newsletters.
- Someone can subscribe to three different "topics" that Eddie posts about: Family, Personal and Tech. Eddie generates 7 different RSS feeds from his site (every permutation of the three topics: All Topics, Family, Personal, Tech, Family and Personal, Family and Tech, Personal and Tech). He used Mailchimp to set up 7 "campaigns" that each send to a filtered audience based on the topics they selected when signing up. All campaigns currently send out monthly on the 2nd of each month.
- Example Newsletter
- Jonathan LaCour has a daily newsletter options on his subscribe page that uses Mailchimp's RSS to email functionality.
- Jonathan's primary target for his newsletter are his family/friends that felt like they'd be missing out on his updates after he departed Facebook in March of 2018.
MailChimp is a great option to help power newsletters because they have an RSS to Email service that will take an RSS feed and put those items into a single email and send it out to an email list on a regular basis.
TinyLetter is a message silo and service to organize email newsletters, with an optional blog-like web archive, that was acquired by MailChimp in 2011. Sometimes used as a simple blog with restricted viewership.
Substack is a silo service set up to make sending out newsletters with free or paid subscriptions simple and easy. It can also function as a CMS. When used for paid subscriptions Substack takes a 10% fee after transaction fees.