“ On an impulse, I decided to start my own newsletter. Here, I would share the poems, artworks, music and articles I was reading and enjoying. To help streamline the Internet, and create my own little corner of the universe within it.” – Rohini Kejriwal
Rohini Kejriwal is a writer, poet, and the founder of the Alipore Post – an online community that brings great content from all over the world, via a weekly newsletter.
It all began in 2015 when she quit her job as a journalist and moved to Alipore, her hometown.
This is the story of how The Alipore Post came alive and how Rohini organically grew an online community, with the right engagement strategy and a whole lot of love.
Setting up the Alipore post – news on creativity
Rohini is an avid reader and writer. Before setting up the Alipore Post, she found inspiration in top newsletters by Oddity&Light and Austin Kleon’s weekly email.
Soon, restlessness led to inspiration and the Alipore Post got a name, social media platform and website.
A community needs to be close-knit, personal, and feel like home. Which is everything Alipore was to Rohini – a sense of home and nurturing that she associated with the room in which this project began. The ‘Post’ is inspired by ‘The Washington Post’; a hope to see the community as an outlet for news on creativity.
“ I love writing letters, which was the other reason I set up the community. I kept in touch with my folks during my boarding school days only through letters. There is something so pure about a handwritten letter, and the tangibility to it, the fact that every letter becomes a part of a personal archive of sorts. I like the idea of each newsletter feeling like a letter to the reader. “ – Rohini Kejriwal
Growing a community with a weekly newsletter – 3 Tips from The Alipore Post
1.Rohini’s most important tip to writing a newsletter for your community – let it come from a personal place.
“ Our newsletter is a labour of love, one that comes quite effortlessly because I am now tuned in to the person I am, and what I like to read and look at. “ – Rohini
Rohini’s newsletters did not immediately hit the jackpot. It took its time, and soon, she saw her community growing. And this is where her next tip comes in.
2. Analyse the patterns and see what your community likes to read. Rohini states that the newsletter was initially generic in terms of content, but over time, Rohini started looking for patterns and themes. She started pairing poems with art that complements them and took a more editorial stance to her approach.
3. Keep it weekly, do not overwhelm your readers.
“ For the first three years, it was a daily newsletter, after which I decided to make it weekly. This was so as to not overwhelm myself or the readers, who had slowly grown into a community of their own right. I was beginning to form opinions about what, to me, was a good poem or artwork, what didn’t work for the readers, whose works to boycott because of a misdemeanour. I started feeling a sense of responsibility towards myself and the community.” – Rohini
How to get to know your community
The Alipore Post saw people from all over the country come together to discuss language, poetry, and even events. Therefore, Rohini decided it was time for a little community engagement!
” I also wanted to go beyond the digital realm and know who my people were, so I started hosting workshops and mini-festivals for the community. I started a journal which was separate from the curated newsletters and allowed readers to submit their work, and established a presence on Instagram, where a lot of people found meaning in the work I was doing.
A lot of the community building happened on Instagram, which is the most popular space for people to consume The Alipore Post.” – Rohini
Beyond the Alipore Post – how to expand and grow your community
Rohini’s keenness on community engagement and helping people lead creative, curious, and inspired lives led her to start new offsets of The Alipore Post online. These were –
- Chitthi Exchange (Chitthi meaning Letter in Hindi) is a penpal project for people across the world to find a penpal to exchange letters
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- This is my newsletter – a weekly newsletter where Rohini invites creatives from different walks of life to do a takeover
- The Alipore Post Poetry Month – Rohini’s own version of National Poetry Writing Month, where the poets within The Alipore Post community wrote over 6000 poems with her, last April
- TAPTOBER2020 – the writer’s version of the Inktober challenge, where hundreds of community members made art throughout October based on a set of prompts she shared
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Hitting 40K followers 🎉
Community engagement pays off – and The Alipore Post just hit 40k two weeks ago!
I’m delighted by it because I’ve seen how it has grown, day after day; reaching more and more people who resonate with my work. It does get overwhelming, and admin work like scheduling, using social media and running month-long activities for the community can certainly get overwhelming. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. – Rohini
Finding an online store platform to sell online
The Alipore Post continued to grow via weekly newsletters but soon, Rohini knew she needed a trusty payment gateway to collect and track online payments coming in for her events and workshops.
She discovered Instamojo in 2016 when she hosted the first The Alipore Post Offline, a day-long celebration of art, poetry, music and all things creative in The Courtyard House, Bangalore.
It was quite a seamless service and allowed me to ticket the event with ease. I had no prior knowledge of event management before that. I liked how easy it was to use + the payouts were prompt. – Rohini, on Instamojo payments
In the past two years, I have started making my own art and putting it out there, largely inspired by the diversity of art I have enjoyed and discovered since starting The Alipore Post. I’m proud to be using Instamojo again to share my work with people, and to make 2021 a happy year with my silly doodles 🙂
Working on feedback and emotional connect –
Community engagement, newsletters, poems, articles and stories – The Alipore Post is an effort of constant dedication. What motivated The Alipore Post to keep growing? Feedback and emotional connect!
The Alipore Post’s newsletters resonate with the community thanks to content that has a sense of gentleness and awe.
” We are flooded with mediocrity and propaganda on a daily basis. And I come in and offer an alternative – perhaps a poem that gives strength, or an artwork that is just powerful and reeks of beauty, or an article that paves the way for creative expression.”
It is that emotional connect that comes from shared experiences and taking the reader on a journey that draws Rohini to it the most.
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Rohini’s tip to keep newsletters weekly came from her community feedback.
” Too many people mentioned that they felt slightly overwhelmed by the regularity, and I felt it too. So it was a sensible shift to make.
There’s so many newsletters and Instagram pages and content creators out there! We need to work on finding our own voice and style, and then exploring within that larger framework. I’m happy to keep things fluid, and take feedback as it comes.
Looking at 2021 with a positive attitude –
The Alipore Post continues to share daily doses of poems, literature and regular online workshops to keep the community happy.
” Keeping The Alipore Post alive has led to amazing collaborations with people and organisations; and has become such a beautiful, living entity with the community. It inspires me to look at the world differently, to keep hope and beauty alive, for many many years to come.”
We simply love to feel inspired on the weekend. If you wish to be part of another community; a business community that share regular updates, tips and news – join us!