In October of 2017, we added a series of “onboarding emails” to welcome new email subscribers, and to help them get the most out of Forward Kentucky. We thought current subscribers might want to read these as well, since they hadn’t had the benefit of being “onboarded” in this way.
So, this long page is made up of all four emails, compiled into one location. If you are a current email subscriber, so you didn’t get “onboarded” this way, you may learn something new here. And if you are thinking of signing up for emails, perhaps this information will be helpful in your decision-making. Enjoy!
Onboarding Email #1 – Welcome!
Welcome to Forward Kentucky!
Thank you for joining our email list, and for trusting us to give you objective news, effective policy, and progressive commentary. I want to personally welcome you to our growing ForwardKY family, and to share some important information with you. But first, some introductions.
A Quick Background
What is Forward Kentucky? Not a club, not a new organization, and not part of any party. Instead, we are a progressive media operation based in Kentucky and focused on Kentucky politics, politicians, and policies, with the goal of helping our state move forward and be all that it can be.
What do you mean by a “media operation”? We are a combination of a news outlet, an editorial page, and a think tank. Imagine an MSNBC for Kentucky, with the addition of progressive commentary, explainers, and policy articles. Or, look at the three parts of the tagline at the top of this email.
So you are trying to do straight-up journalism AND push progressive issues? Yes, even though it’s hard. We label our content so people know what to expect, and we have standards for each type of content. Our goal is to build a reputation for fairness and accuracy in our reporting, while at the same time providing a strong voice for progressive policies and principles.
Over the next few days, you will receive three more emails as part of your Welcome Packet:
- What can I find on Forward Kentucky?
- What are all the ways I can keep up with Forward Kentucky?
- How can I support the good work of Forward Kentucky?
Each one will only take a few minutes to read, and you’ll be glad you did, because each will contain information and details about Forward Kentucky that otherwise you might miss. And you want to get all you can out of ForwardKY, because that’s why you signed up, right?
So, watch for those emails, visit the site regularly, and tell your friends about Forward Kentucky. The more people who read and follow, the larger will be our progressive voice across the state, and the easier it will become to talk about, promote, and implement the progress we want for Kentucky.
And again, thanks for signing up.
Bruce Maples, publisher
Onboarding Email #2 – Content
Lots of Content, All for You
We’ve all heard the expression “content is king.” At Forward Kentucky, content is king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn — because our goal is to produce great content and share it with YOU, our content consumer. So in this email, we’re going to share with you all the types of content you can find as part of ForwardKY.
News (objective, properly sourced)
- Hard News – What most people think of as “news.” Reporting of facts about a current event or person or item.
- Features – Also known as “soft news.” Includes reporting focused more on the subject matter than on timeliness, such as interviews.
- Investigative – Reporting about stories usually not publicly known, not easily found, or requiring more research and sourcing.
Policy (effective, research-driven)
- Policy Papers – Articles advocating for a particular policy or policies, based on case studies, research, logic, principles, or ethics and morals.
- Explainers – Content created to provide background, context, explanations, and understanding, so that the content consumer is better prepared to discuss a policy or news area intelligently.
- Research – Relatively raw data, usually presented without trying to draw conclusions from it within the article.
- Commentary Pieces – These are opinion pieces, similar to the editorial page of a newspaper. They are unabashedly progressive, while also exhibiting a wide range of styles and approaches: passionate, uplifting, snarky, satirical, angry, encouraging, thankful. The one attribute we try to avoid, though, is mean. There is a big difference between “this is one of the stupidest policy ideas ever proposed” and “you are one of the stupidest persons ever to serve.” If you are looking for a strong progressive voice, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for hateful rhetoric that divides us further, you won’t find it here.
- Publisher’s Blog – The PubBlog is where I post observations and thoughts that don’t merit a full-blown article, or that I want to keep separate for some reason. They don’t always get promoted via email or social media, so you just have to check for them whenever you visit the page.
- Cartoons – We are fortunate to have our very own editorial cartoonist, Aaron Smith. He does a great job calling out the paradoxes, hypocrisies, and just plain silliness of our politics, and doing all that in a single-panel cartoon. On occasion, he drops the snark and does something moving and memorable, such as his piece called #WeAreOrlando.
- Podcasts – We’ve been doing the podcast “Moving Kentucky Forward” since the beginning of 2017, when our first guest was Congressman John Yarmuth. Since then, we’ve interviewed newsmakers, politicians, policy experts, and activists, In addition, we cross-post “My Old Kentucky Podcast.”
- The Bruce Maples Show (coming) – While our MKF podcast is typically an extended interview with a single person, this new show is going to be a Kentucky clone of Rachel Maddow, touching numerous topics and talking with numerous people in each episode. Plans are still being formed, so “watch this space.”
- Video (coming) – We have barely stuck our toes into the video space, but are looking at doing more with this medium soon.
- Actions – This category includes two things: activism and actions of others that we promote, and actions that we plan and promote ourselves. We have done a number of calling drives, especially around healthcare, as well as promote the work of Indivisible and other groups.
- Directory (coming) – This will be a directory of every progressive, Democratic, and non-partisan group in the state that we can find and verify. It will be filterable by type and location, so anyone in the state will be able to see what is near them.
- Calendar (coming) – This will be, we hope, a calendar of progressive meetings, events, and actions across the state. Again, we want it to be filterable, so that it is useful to people in any part of the state looking for any type of event.
Wow – that list makes me tired just looking at it! But, it also makes me excited, because if we can build and deliver all that content for you, then we will have created real value for you and for our state. And THAT is the goal.
Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to drop me a note through the contact form on the site, or send an email to Webmaster@ForwardKY.com.
And again, thanks for signing up.
Bruce Maples, publisher
Onboarding Email #3 – Details
Staying in Touch Has Never Been Easier
The more we’ve talked with our followers, the more we’ve learned that you can’t just use one medium to talk or listen. Everyone has their preferred social media, their preferred way to use email, and their preferred content channels.
SO – outside of reading the web site, here are ways you can stay in touch with us, talk back to us, and manage pretty much everything about your relationship to ForwardKY.
Finding Us In All the Right Places
As we said: LOTS of ways to follow us on social media, including ways to consume content.
- Facebook – Go like our page on Facebook.
- Twitter (Main) – Follow @ForwardKY.
- Twitter (Bruce) – And, for a more eclectic mix of comments, you can follow my publisher’s feed. (RTs could mean anything.)
- iTunes / Libsyn – Our Moving Kentucky Forward podcast is available through iTunes. Each episode is also posted on our site under Media. And, if you choose, you can listen to them on the podcast web page at Libsyn, our hosting partner.
- Medium – We post some of our longer and long-lasting stories on Medium, especially ones that will age well and that fit that reader-friendly format.
- Pinterest – We have a small number of pins on our Pinterest site, but we are working on expanding that, especially with the use of infographics.
- Instagram – We are just barely getting into Instagram, but will be expanding soon.
- Apple News – We post many of our main news stories to Apple News.
- Vimeo – We only have a few videos up on Vimeo, but are going to be adding more.
Signing Up for Specialized Emails
By joining our mailing list, you will automatically receive our newsletter, which comes out more or less once a week. But, there are two other specialized emails that you have to opt in to receive.
- Forward Five – a quick-read list of “five things to know today” delivered M-F. Also contains featured stories published since the last Forward Five. A good way to take two minutes each weekday to see what’s up.
- Action Alerts – email alerts sent when there is an urgent action you need to take. A good way to be an informed activist.
Again, you have to opt in to subscribe to either of these. So, here’s how you opt in.
Updating Your Email Info
The only info you HAVE to share with us to be an email subscriber is your email. (Obviously.) But, there are a few more pieces of data that we would like to have, just to personalize your experience more: first name, last name, and ZIP code. In addition, there are checkboxes to sign up for the Forward Five and for the Action Alerts.
So, here are the three ways you can update your email data in our Mailchimp database.
- Via Mailchimp Directly – At the bottom of every email from us (including this one) is a link to Update Your Profile. If you click that link, you will be taken to your personal profile on the Mailchimp site. In addition, if you go to the “Manage Your Info” page on ForwardKY.com, there is a single-line field where you can enter the email you subscribed with and our web site will send you a link to your profile at Mailchimp.
- Via the ForwardKY Site – If you go to the “Manage Your Info” page at ForwardKY.com, there is a form where you can enter your current data for the email list, including your preferences for the two opt-ins, and whatever you enter will overwrite your record in Mailchimp.
- Changing Your Subscription Email Address – The one thing you cannot do through the ForwardKY site is change the email address used for your email subscription(s). To do that, you have to go to your profile page at Mailchimp, either via the link at the bottom of every email from us, or by using the “Send Me a Link to My Profile” form at ForwardKY.
Getting In Touch With Us
Just as there are a number of ways for us to share with you, there are a number of ways for YOU to share back with us. Here they are!
- Comment on a Story – At the bottom of almost every story is a place for comments. It is under the author box and the Related Stories box, so many people don’t see it and don’t leave comments. We hope that changes, because good dialogue can add to the value of the content. For now, the comments are open to all, as long as they fill out the form and honor the site rules. So feel free to jump in and leave a comment!
- Send Us Tips – We can’t be everywhere or see everything … but YOU can. If you know of a story we should cover, or something going on that shouldn’t be, or breaking news, send us an email at Tips@ForwardKY.com. Sources protected, always.
- Use the Contact Form – There is a Contact Us form right on the site, for leaving praise or complaints or whatever.
- Send Us Press Releases and News – If you are with an organization that does press releases, send them to us at Press@ForwardKY.com.
- Talk to the Webmaster – And finally, if there is something wrong with the site, or you have an idea or suggestion to make it better, send email to Webmaster@ForwardKY.com.
As I said … LOTS of ways to stay in touch, and to talk back as well. Use the ones that you find most helpful, but remember to check out the others when you have time.
There’s one more Welcome Packet email, about a special way to get even more out of Forward Kentucky. Watch for it tomorrow.
And again, thanks for signing up.
Bruce Maples, publisher
If You Make a Difference, We Can Make a Difference
Throoughout these Onboarding emails, we’ve focused on one key goal: Making a difference for you, our reader and content consumer. Every day, we try to think of what YOU need out of a site like ours. Our driving mission and passion is building just that sort of site, for you and for all the persons who look to Forward Kentucky to make a difference.
Now, though, it’s your turn. It’s your turn to make a difference for Forward Kentucky, so that we can continue making a difference for your and our state:
That’s right – we’re concluding this Onboarding series by asking you to spend some of your hard-earned money on a paid membership to Forward Kentucky.
Why are we doing this? Because ultimately, the difference we can make is tied to the money we have available. We want to hire staff, we want to do advertising, we want to expand our video offerings, we want to cover all parts of the state – and all these things take money. And that’s money on top of what we already spend paying our contributors, paying for hosting, paying for updates to the site.
How much does this cost? It’s pretty reasonable: our least expensive membership is $9 a quarter, and our most expensive is $50 a year. For most people, that’s less than they spend on their daily coffee. (For me, it’s MUCH less. <g>)
So, if you want to make a difference in our state, then make a difference for Forward Kentucky. Become a member today!
And again, whether you become a member today, or later, or not at all — thanks for signing up.
Bruce Maples, publisher