Animated Newsletters… A Journey It’s Been

Screenshot from Animated Letter – Pet Adoption

Let’s take everything back to about seven weeks ago when I’d started thinking about the endless possibilities of creating content. A question came up for me… What isn’t content? Where do I draw the line on what I can or can’t do when it comes to content? 

I’m still not even sure the answers to those questions – I mean, I do… But it’s very broad!

I’d decided early on that I wanted to utilize my new-er found knowledge of motion design. Great, okay, good start. Now, how? What can I present to the world (or at least the intended audience) something digital that moves and that benefits them? 

Someone had brought up the idea of a newsletter to me, and it’s something I never would have considered. When I think of newsletters, I just think of retailers advertising their promotional sales. It was, however, an excellent idea to bring awareness of a particular topic to groups, and instead of advertising, it informs.

Well, if you’ve been following my blog, you know about Ladapaw Letters – an emailed bi-weekly animated newsletter focusing on owning pets with a deeper look at animal adoption. The result of my content creation journey. 

Ladapaw Letters Development

To briefly summarize the process it’s been for me and this branded animated newsletter: it has been a journey, in simplest terms. If anyone were to tell you creating content is easy – which, I don’t know who would actually say that – they’re lying to you. Yes, you can be a master at a particular thing, but that doesn’t mean there’s no planning, or roadblocks that happen along the way. 

Anyway, developing Ladapaw Letters required many steps in order to get to its completion of three different newsletters:

  1. Research. And I mean a lot of it. I didn’t know yet at this point what topics I’d choose to develop my first few newsletters, so I went to town with it. Several different resources for pet adoption rescue vs shelters, puppy mills, general statistics about adoptable animals, best food options for pets, best training methods for pets with different backgrounds, and so on. It was also at this time that I created and distributed a survey about potential newsletter topics from interested audience members. Also gathering their emails to send the letters to, if they were interested any further. 
  2. Planning. This was before pre-production and based on the research, then put into possibilities, and organization. Here is where I made my project proposal, which laid out the purpose and planned outcome of the newsletter. Also, with more refined planning, I was able to define the first three newsletter topics and develop a project management plan to help me stay on track, through Trello. 
  3. Pre-Production Planning. More planning, but refined for the overall outcome of the three newsletter production and post-production processes. Here, I developed a detailed outline for each of the three letters, including storyboards that planned the animations, and the resources to back up the information.
  4. Production. Throughout three weeks, I focused on the production of each newsletter. This began with creating the template of each “page” in Illustrator. Then, entering the final written content into the layout and illustrating graphics of animals to give the letters character. Once that was finished, I imported the Illustrator files and began animating them in After Effects – a process that of course, took much longer than I’d predicted. 
  5. Production continued? I found out quickly, during my first week of production, that I’d need to split out the production tasks a bit further. I needed to give myself more time to focus on the animating, then give my head a break to go back to the newsletters and re-look to see if there was anything I could improve before post-production. And of course, there were improvements to be made! This added a lot of unplanned time, which proved to be difficult, but I was able to push through.
  6. Post-Production. This is when I’d export my final animated newsletter into a looping GIF, and enter it into the email template I’d started for each newsletter – which automatically gets distributed to my audience at a planned time. 

The Future of Ladapaw Letters

It’s almost impossible not to think about the lengths this could go – so from the beginning, I’d thought about extending the platform from email to social media, particularly Instagram. In fact, it’s something I thought to ask during the survey I conducted in the research phase, because realistically, I wasn’t sure how many people would want to view newsletters through their email. Well, I found out from that survey that they do! So, I decided to start Ladapaw Letters as the emailed newsletter, and in the future, the letters could also get distributed through an Instagram account to reach a larger audience. 

Screenshot of Survey Results Asking About Email VS. Another Platform

Then, I had to think about what my audience members are going to do with this information. Do they just take it all in through the newsletter then it’s finished? Each letter presents direct references to the material, but it’s very brief. Something that came to mind was to add the resources again below the emailed newsletter so that anyone who wants to do more digging on their end can.

Possibly, to gain more actions from the Ladapaw Letter audience, the brand could promote or put on events to help local rescues and shelter organizations, while raising awareness about pet adoption in general. Educational and charitable events that may have pets up for adoption, local pet businesses, and of course the adoption organizations in a social setting. 

The Final Outcome!

So, folks – head on over to my portfolio page for the final presentation of my journey with Ladapaw Letters, and enjoy. Cheers!

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