Duelling communication channels: email newsletter vs. podcast

HOW TO BE OLD podcast logo on green paper tied with a yellow ribbon

Some communication channels seem easy, others don’t. My big fail is the email newsletter to subscribers, which seems so simple. Yet the idea of starting a podcast is strangely appealing.

In my former business I enjoyed sending a monthly newsletter and all went well. Now, with my personal blog, it feels like a rod for my own back. The newsletter is always bottom of my to-do list—it feels like a chore. Even so, I send one roughly every three months. I really appreciate the readers who do me the honour of subscribing and I beat myself up when I let them down. Sorry, sorry!

Last month the great email newsletter failed in a different way. I was late as usual but I did compose and “send” it, complete with a special offer on my books.

Several weeks later I deduced from certain (obvious) clues that MailChimp had failed to send the mid-year email newsletter. It just didn’t happen. Another week or two and I still haven’t retried, because first I’d have to update it. Talk about slack!

Something has to change. The blog is fun, the poems are fun, but the newsletter isn’t. So I’m thinking about this. Not rushing, but eventually a decision will be made. I need to simplify.

What’s that “How To Be Old” image about?

I’m preparing to start a podcast called “How To Be Old”. I’m itching to get started but have to finish a couple of other writing and publishing projects first. This is just giving you advance notice and committing myself in public to a new project.

Naturally I wonder whether you are a fan of podcasts, as I am—yes?

But even if you say you haven’t the slightest interest in podcasts, I’ll do it anyway because the process is so interesting. I’m enjoying the research and preparation. I’ve picked the music. I’ve planned the first season. I’ve done one recording, but not launched it. This will just be a quiet little podcast with poems and ideas about ageing. Ideas you may have had yourself…

The podcast is intended for anyone who has had that wake-up birthday, the one where you realise that you’re not exactly “young” any more. Anyone who is a bit uneasy about their future as an old person.

I know some who feel like this at 30. Me, I was 75 when the epiphany struck me—pretty late, huh?

Email newsletter vs. podcast

Why does starting podcast appeal so much more than doing a newsletter?

So many reasons! Here’s just one.

The newsletter is intended as a semi-personal communication (more so than the blog) yet to me it feels impersonal. And it really is impermanent—like a digital advertising flyer. My podcast, by contrast, will be rather like a book with short chapters, yet it seems a friendly and personal communication channel (maybe because my voice delivers a story straight into your ear). It’s more durable too, because people can find it for as long as I pay a hosting fee.

More to the point, creating one makes me grumpy and the other one already makes me feel happy.

‘Bye for now!
Subscribe to my faltering email newsletter

15 thoughts on “Duelling communication channels: email newsletter vs. podcast

  1. alison41 says:

    I’m not a podcast fan, but maybe I need to try again .

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      There are all sorts and genres, as with books and mags.

  2. I like some podcasts better than others. I’d listen to yours! Lorna

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Of course! We have our favorites. What sort do you like?

  3. Life is FAR too short to be grumpy!

  4. JOY journal says:

    It sounds like your heart is telling you to ditch the newsletter!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That or super simplify it.

  5. lizmelchior says:

    I’d love to listen to your podcast!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Liz, really? OK I”ll get cracking.

  6. I wax and wane on much of the communication/s via this here machinery…I will start off with some version and then suddenly I forget all about it and find many weeks backed up…but that is not to say I won’t subscribe. Right now I’m into uTube – the visuals more than the just spoken voice (some do that, want to inform us of VIP stuff that has no visual connected)

    (mailchimp seems to have it’s issues as you found out, but also some other newsletter writers, have stopped because of the chimp or the system inside of the chimp)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I finally realized that I don’t have enough time to listen to podcasts. I can read much faster than I can listen.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Not necessarily: you can listen to podcasts at double time! And at night in the dark 👍

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Ha. Or triple time so they all sound like Minnie Mouse.

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        I’ve known blind people listen at superspeed.

      3. Elizabeth says:


%d bloggers like this: