Setting up a new mailing list is as easy as “just add water,” but building a subscriber base, creating conversations, and making a new list known requires some heavy lifting and a dose of fertilizer.
Naturally, it takes more than just a single list owner to make a mailing list. If the list is part of a committee or other defined group, automatically adding members to the list, giving them the option of opting-out, is the obvious route. Some members may not want to participate, and others may prefer to use another e-mail address. If the list is an open list, you’ll want to cross-pollinate by promoting the list to potential subscribers. Publicize the list on other lists, in print and online publications, on relevant websites, and get the news about the new list out to bloggers. Stagger the press releases to grow interest in the list incrementally, to keep interest levels up, and to introduce new subscribers to a party that’s already in full swing.
There’s nothing lonelier than a list with a solid subscriber core and no action. Seed the list with pertinent posts to encourage and direct discussion, even if means privately asking a few co-conspirators to help the list along. Conversation begets conversation, and it only takes a few early subscribers performing on the dance floor to get the wallflowers up from their seats and participating. Continue to monitor other relevant lists, watching for the appropriate thread and piping in when someone asks about dog law “Have you heard about this list on dog law?” Include the URL for an easy subscription method such as http://www.lawyerwithalist.com/listsubscribe, simply because clicking on a link is far easier for many would-be subscribers than following a command.
Count on about six months for a new list to develop and grow legs. Nurture the list, tending to it like a hothouse tomato, weeding away the chaff and weak branches, and hope that it takes root.