I'm starting a newsletter about Japan and I'm not sure whether it should have an online archive of past issues. If yes, only available to subscribers, or widely publicized all over the net?
I think this is a difficult question. Of course, such an archive would create a valuable knowledge base, make available past issues to new subscribers, and promote the newsletter itself. But on the other hand, there is the risk of it becoming just a "secondary blog," loosing the newsletter exclusivity aspect and lowering the value in subscribing to it in the first place, instead of using RSS or visiting the archive website directly.
What's you opinion?
I am in the process of launching an email based start-up and I have been struggling with this question too. I think it is going to depend on the type of content in your newsletter.
In my case my newsletter content is a variation of a "tip of the day", which lends itself nicely to being duplicated as a short blog post. On one hand I worry that some people may not subscribe right away because they know the content is on the website, but on the other hand the more content I have on the web the more chances I will have to get the signup form in front of them.
Ultimately I decided to mirror the newsletters as posts on the website, but the email signup form will be prominent on each post. By making the content web accessible each tip can linked directly, and I get the added SEO benefit of regular new content.
Why is exclusivety so important?