Irma Mesa

A podcast newsletter for underrepresented creators

Building a newsletter is easy, right? That’s subjective.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been on a mission. A mission to build. Build something, anything! I went back and forth with ideas I have jotted in my app. Some solved problems others were just silly and fun so I had a great mix of varied ideas.

In the end, I settled on seeing and building out 2 ideas. This is the story about the first one, I’m calling her onePodcast. Inspired by a newsletter from David Perell that talked about how iTunes heavily relies on reviews to promote podcasts and episodes on Apple Podcasts.

Who’s this for?

I’m both an avid podcast listener and also a podcast creator so I see the joy in listening to a podcast episode that really pulls you in while also seeing what happens behind the scenes when trying to recording a compelling episode. So, I wanted to build something that influenced two user groups:

  • Podcast listeners, either connoisseur or casual listeners

  • Podcast creators, small and large creators

What’s this for?

Settling on the niche of podcasts was perfect. But to get further into it, I wanted to hit sharing awesome podcasts while also supporting podcast creators. This is where onePodcast came into the scene.

onePodcast delivers 1 episode, via 1 email, just 1x a week. It’s lightweight, frequent enough that it’s not annoying (I hope) and casual enough that my mailing list won’t feel like I’m shoving a podcast episode in their faces.

Mapping out the details

I got started. I wrote down a few quick notes in Notion. Writing out my vision, my strategy and the audience I’m looking to loop into this product is usually always my first step when thinking about building out an idea. I also give myself a to-do list because I sure can’t store everything in my head.

Screenshot of notes within the app

Sketching the Design

I did a quick sketch to help me visualize. I definitely wanted this to be simple, minimal and a 1-pager site. It just needed a header, a quick blurb value proposition and a place to add an email address. At the end, I did add a few more things, which I’ll touch on a later.

Paper sketch of a landing page

Building the Design and Setting up

Now came time to build. I went back and forth (again) between building this out from scratch, using Bootstrap or using a site generator like Carrd (love this product). I was scoping out Makerpad and a lot of the sites and templates on Makerpad are using Carrd so I was slightly influenced by seeing what Carrd could really do.

Ultimately, I settled on Carrd. I had previously dabbled with Carrd and since this build was going to be pretty quick and not so dirty, it seemed like the perfect fit.

In Carrd, I set up an empty project and got to crakin’. Carrd is very user friendly, you essentially can choose a starting point or template or just start with a blank slate. There’s a nav bar that allows you to add elements like text, buttons, containers and from there you can even save using a Carrd custom URL or use your own domain.

I created all the nuts and bolts that I mentioned earlier - a quick blurb, an input for an email address, a ‘Subscribe’ button. On top of that, I wanted to give a preview of what the newsletter looked like when it was delivered to your inbox. I created a quick video scrolling down one of our newsletters and added that to the landing page over just pulling an image from a stock site.

At the bottom of the page, I included a link to email me and a link for podcast creators to email in to feature their podcast on the newsletter.

Screenshot of landing page

To make the newsletter functionality work, I hooked Mailchimp and created a 4 newsletters for the next 4 weeks to get me started. I setup a welcome email and every Wednesday, the full email will be shared with subscribers spotlighting 1 episode of a podcast.

I setup my domain and added that to Carrd. Seriously, Carrd makes this process so easy. They take care of a lot in the background.

Shipping & Sharing

Once I was done, I shared the site with my partner for feedback and shared it on ThePracticalDev and a few Slack groups I’m a part of for feedback.

I read a quote by Seth Godin, that pretty much said that one who builds should ship. And I was getting into the habit of building, not finishing and inevitably not sharing what I created with anyone. That’s not the best approach, so I’m turning things around a bit, focusing more and shipping more.

Monetizing Featuring Podcast Creators

I’m going to offer an option for podcast creators whether small or large to get featured on the newsletter so I have a few weeks mapped out with podcasts I or friends listen to but hoping as I gain more traffic I’ll have suggestions from folks or submissions from podcast creators to feature their content. I’m looking to monetize featuring podcast creators but I need to build up the list a bit more for that to make it worthwhile.

What’s next?

Ran this for a while but will be shutting it down soon!