Member Hero Club House

Hitting refresh with Newsletter Glue

☝️ This is part 1 of a 3 part series.
✌️ Part 2 is now out! Read it here
Subscribe to receive part 3 in your inbox.

Big changes are afoot. And I’m sure you’re wondering… what on earth is Newsletter Glue?!

But before I go into any of that, let’s take a brief look at the journey that got us here.

Ahmed began Member Hero in early 2019, after years as the first and lead developer at Ultimate Member. I came on board late 2019 as a long time marketer and WordPress user, but with no product experience. I’m Lesley, btw, hello! 👩🏻‍💻👋

We quietly and unsuccessfully launched in early 2020. Quickly, we realised we made a bunch of mistakes.

Namely:

  • Our product was overly complicated with no onboarding
  • We didn’t have a clear target audience or use case

Here’s what we’re doing differently

Having learnt from our v.1 mistakes, we made sure to:

  1. Specify our target audience
  2. Simplify what we’re building

1. We know who we’re building for – Newsletter writers

Ruby sparks writer GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

We’re focused on a target audience I’m personally very familiar with – newsletter writers.

As a long time blogger and newsletter writer myself, I feel like I’m building for my people. This also means it’s a product I personally use and believe in.

More specifically, we’re building for publishers who already have:

  • An existing newsletter.
  • A publishing workflow, and an interest to improve it.

A sidenote to beginner newsletter writers
Here’s an unpopular opinion: Beginners shouldn’t use WordPress.

At least, not the open sourced version. Setting up a custom domain and figuring WordPress out distracts from the writing.

Instead, use Substack, Revue, Buttondown, Tiny Letter, or any other tool that lets you go from set-up -> writing -> published in 5 minutes.

From personal experience and observing dozens of other new writers, establishing a consistent cadence and writing style is the single most important thing you can do. The tech is a distraction.

Get into the habit of publishing and see your writing style take shape. Only then should you start playing around with domains, design and tech.

Exporting later is a small price to pay. And by then, you’ll have enough experience to build your dream set up. It’ll be worth it. I promise.

2. We also know what to build – something small.

In this case, I wanted to reboot by building something tiny, free, and immediately useful.

My goal is to build quickly, launch, see what people think of it, and improve from there.

We plan to launch our new free plugin on July 15 2020, about 30 days from now. Wish us luck! 🤞

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “coolcoolcoolcool, but what exactly are they building?

Real talk – 2 months ago, I very seriously considered killing Member Hero altogether. And while pondering its demise, I knew I would miss this feature the most.

With it, I could link up WordPress and Mailchimp, then publish my blog post as a newsletter, in a single click.

Which meant that if we were to start again, and focus on something small but useful, this has to be where we start.

Our new plugin is called Newsletter Glue.

Upon launching, it only does one thing. But it does it freakin well:

Send blog posts as newsletters, in a single click.

This helps newsletter writers like myself:

  1. Publish more conveniently. Writing is hard enough, single click publishing lets you write and publish newsletters directly in WordPress and never have to deal with cross platform posting ever again.
  2. Get found. Your blog becomes your newsletter archive, giving you better SEO and easier-to-share links.
  3. Look good. Everything just magically looks more consistent and professional when you do it this way.

We’re starting again, and Newsletter Glue is our initial simple loveable and complete product.

The future of Member Hero

Just because we’re building Newsletter Glue, doesn’t mean we’re abandoning Member Hero. In fact, there’s a reason why you’re reading this post on the Member Hero domain right now.

Newsletter Glue is a part of Member Hero. A baby plugin that will exist in the Member Hero parent ecosystem.

Here’s the breakdown of the two products:

Newsletter Glue is for newsletter writers who only need simple newsletter publishing features. With this lightweight plugin, they’ll never face a scenario where they’re stuck with a bunch of complex and unnecessary features that they simply ignore.

Member Hero is for advanced indie publishers looking to make a living from writing online. It’ll be a system that enables you to create memberships, restrict content, and collect subscription fees from your website. It’ll also have all the features from Newsletter Glue, so if you upgrade, you won’t lose anything.

The roadmap

If all goes according to plan (although, let’s be real, when does that ever happen?), we’ll work on the free and premium Newsletter Glue plugin this year.

Next year, we’ll start working on Member Hero again. This time, with a significantly better understanding of the market, a larger audience and more experience under our belts.

✌️ Part 2: Initial feedback
Next week, I’ll talk about what I did to get some initial feedback on Newsletter Glue, and why over a hundred comments on 7 Facebook groups, 2 forums, 3 slack groups, and a post on Indie Hackers isn’t as useful as it sounds. Subscribe below so you don’t miss it.
[Update: ✌️Part 2 is now out! Read it here.]

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