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How to write a good announcement

I have been running ElixirStatus for a year now and with ElixirWeekly taking off these last few weeks, I thought I would take the opportunity to write about making good announcements.

Get noticed with the right announcement

So you wrote your first Hex package or implemented Solitair in Elm with Phoenix. Now what? We have to write an announcement that tells the world about it (and which we can post to ElixirStatus)!

First, describe in the title what happened:

InchEx v1.2.3 released

Introducing flux_capacitor_ex!

Using Ecto validations for fun and profit

In case of project related announcements you should then include a brief description of what your project does in the description:

flux_capacitor_ex is a hex package which provides your Elixir app with a simple time travel device API.

Check out the source code on GitHub:

For more info and use-cases check the official announcement.

This is a great example of a well written teaser: It has all the information you need to decide whether or not you are interested in the project. If you are you can go to my GitHub repo to check out the README or alternatively read the full announcement.

Make no mistake here: Leaving out information and basically just dumping a link does not make people “curious”, so be sure to tease people with more than some vague: “InchEx is a library in Elixir”.

Be specific instead.

InchEx v1.0.0 released - Evaluate your inline docs

makes me think “oh, v1.0 - I noticed this once and now I am curious what has changed for this major release”

Or be bold.

InchEx - Evaluate your project’s docs in an opinionated way

makes me want to find what this “opinionated way” might be.

Let me be frank: Marketing your open source creation can be a dreadful task at times. Telling people about your project, trying to convince total strangers to take a look at something you made, is never easy. So don’t just drop a link, because you leave so much potential for curiosity and discussion on the table.

For the latest community announcements, be sure to check out ElixirStatus and ElixirWeekly.

P.S. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this real-life example on ElixirStatus, where @tuvistavie deploys every trick in the book.

Why announcements are important

TL;DR Announcements deserve their fair share of space and attention. ElixirWeekly is a thing now.

For some of us, myself often in included, marketing our open source stuff to the masses is a dreadful endeavor especially if there are no distinct venues to do so.

If I go to Twitter and tweet something akin to “InchEx v0.7.0 released” on the same day when Rails 6.0 is released, then I am simply out of luck. Hell, if I go to Twitter to promote something it does not even have to be release-day for some community darling project, it is totally enough if it is just a busy day - people won’t notice my announcement when there is a stream of other stuff going on.

ElixirStatus was created to solve this very problem. The idea was always to give everyone the same voice and the same share of space. If you want to promote a blog post or get feedback for your new library, everybody has the same chance of getting noticed.

This community is one year old now and in my mind it is on its way to fulfil this promise. The Twitter account has over 2,000 followers. In June alone, 60 announcements were shared via ElixirStatus, which in turn gathered 5,500 clicks on the posted links.

If you create something around Elixir and want people to notice it, nobody can gurantee success or even attention. But with ElixirStatus you get a fair shot and the chance for your blog or code to stand on its own.

Starting this month, there will be another outlet for the things posted to ElixirStatus: ElixirWeekly. It is a weekly round-up of all the things posted to the site and on the web. If you like the idea of ElixirStatus but do not want to follow “live”, then ElixirWeekly is a great new way to subscribe to the newest development in the Elixir community.

ElixirStatus celebrates first birthday, introduces ElixirWeekly

TL;DR ElixirStatus is one year old now and recently launched a weekly email newsletter about Elixir & Phoenix. It’s called ElixirWeekly.

After I created Credo in late 2015 I was occupied with other things, but ElixirStatus - then six months old - kept running, humming away like an old diesel engine. I also had my mind elsewhere for most of this year, but don’t think for a second that this project isn’t dear to my heart.

ElixirStatus is where I started to “get real”, creating more than just scripts or add-ons in Elixir, but starting a real project instead. While my girlfriend travelled Indonesia during the summer of 2015, I got to traverse the depth of Elixir with a real goal and a complete vision for an end-product the first time. This is my original Elixir project, this is where I learned the ins and outs of Phoenix and where I discovered the endless patience this community has with a newbie in its ranks, often answering questions well beyond Elixir, Erlang and OTP.

One year later, you can finally subscribe to all things Elixir via ElixirWeekly, a newsletter which sums up a week of Elixir every thursday.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the site, whether you’ve signed up recently or are one of the mythical beta testers who started posting to the site alongside myself during its beta phase last summer.

I am thrilled to meet some of you at ElixirConf!

P.S. I know this sounds like marketing savvy hyperbole, but there are great things ahead for ElixirStatus. The introduction of categories and the recent addition of ElixirWeekly as a third channel to subscribe to the community (next to Twitter and RSS) are just the start.

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