What kind of curated email newsletter would an outdoorsy, tech-inspired marketer living on the Isle of Man create?
An email newsletter that encourages proper life/work balance, one that wasn’t jammed full of links and where the imagery spoke volumes to its simple concept.
Meet, Little Walden — a weekly escape for creatives.
The idea is straightforward: 5 articles, at 5 pm, every Friday.
Let’s learn how this busy Co-Founder finally found the time to curate a free email newsletter, whilst juggling twin daughters and appeasing the urge to ‘run for the hills’.
James Qualtrough is one of the faces behind Little Walden. He’s the Co-Founder of Slidecraft, a presentation software company that showcases content in a better way by stimulating conversations and ideas. He’s lucky enough to call the Isle of Man, known for its rugged coastline, his home, and the inspiration behind his email newsletter.
The Isle of Man is a great place both for starting up a business and getting a good life balance, James states. His daily commute is 5 minutes and the beach is a 3 minute walk away. When he’s not working, he’s spending time in the great outdoors with his wife Donna and their 15 month old twin daughters, Ella and Erin.
We digitally sat down with James (JQ) to ask him a few questions about Little Walden’s vision and how Goodbits has helped him build his weekly email newsletter.
GB: First off, the branding of Little Walden is beautiful. Can you explain what this newsletter is all about?
JQ: Thanks! Little Walden is a weekly escape for creatives. We hand-pick five creatively inspired links to send out every Friday at 5pm (GMT). Little Walden is not intended to be a newsletter you cram in between emails and phone calls — this is one to sit down at a weekend, pour a cup of coffee and enjoy. It’s your Friday 5 at 5.
GB: We like the concept of this. Are there any goals with the newsletter?
JQ: Our goal is to inspire creatives and build a community around Little Walden. We really believe amazing things can happen when communities of passionate and knowledgeable people come together and that’s what we hope Little Walden will evolve into.
GB: Yes, we agree. So much to learn from communities of passionate people. How do you collect content for your newsletter?
JQ: I collect content from a number of sources. I subscribe to lots of blogs and sites through Feedly, follow interesting people and lists on Twitter and I’m really enjoying Medium as a source of great articles at the minute.
GB: Couldn’t agree more — Medium is a great resource. So how has Goodbits helped you build and send your email newsletter?
JQ: I had always wanted to start a free newsletter but it always appeared to be a really time-consuming job to design and set up a newsletter each week, and I just didn’t have the time for that. When I came across Goodbits I knew I’d found the answer. It just hooked up to everything in my existing content flow making it really easy from the start. Not only does it integrate with my content collection flow but I’ve found the chrome extension a great way to get content ready for my newsletter. The MailChimp integration really made it for me — I could use my existing database which is linked to the signup form on my website and send through existing templates in my account. This was a massive timesaver and the incentive I needed to get Little Walden started.
GB: Great to hear! When you first started building Little Walden were there any pains?
JQ: There weren’t really any pains except for my lack of coding knowledge. I got everything set up in half a day. That included a new website with subscription form, MailChimp template tweaked to include Goodbits shortcode and all the Goodbits set up. It really was easy.
GB: What features do you wish people would find a solution for when building newsletters?
JQ: It would be great if newsletters were a little more interactive. I’m not sure quite how this would work but if they could better support a community. Perhaps showing what people you know, or what all readers, have opened within the newsletter. Building in some real time context for people reading the newsletter I think would be a good way of adding value to the experience.
GB: Interesting idea. I love the thought of seeing if your friends have read the article, too. Almost like a book club for blog posts!
So Goodbits helped you build Little Walden, what do you love about app?
JQ: It’s simple, it sits perfectly in my existing content flow and it saves me a lot of time. Little Walden wouldn’t exist without it.
We fired a few questions at James to see where else he finds interesting content to share.
GB: Favourite twitter handle?
JQ: Recently I’ve been really enjoying talking with @VioletaNedkova. Inspiring and motivational posts.
GB: Favourite website?
JQ: Buffer, as I visit it everyday. It’s a great tool that makes my life much easier.
GB: Favourite email newsletter?
JQ: Kindling by the Do Lectures. The Do Lectures are amazing events run by inspiring people and they create and share some awesome content.
GB: Book recommendations?
- Currently reading The Wayfinders, which I’m loving
- For anyone who enjoys the outdoors I’d recommend Starlight and Storm by Gaston Rebuffat — he has an amazing way of writing about the mountains and his experiences
- From a work perspective, there’s loads but I recently enjoyed ‘Make your Mark‘ from 99u
- The inspiration behind Little Walden’s name: Walden, (Life in the Woods)
Connect with James
Find him here:
- Twitter handle: @jamesq
- Website: https://slidecraft.com
- Buffer Slack Community: read this blog post to find out how you can join, too!
- Sign up to Little Walden: http://www.littlewalden.com/