Mon, April 02 2012

What should you do with that newsletter of yours?  Not these 7 things!

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Writing •

Do you have a print newsletter?  An email one?  Both?  Should you keep one, both, neither?  What if you want to re-purpose the print version for email?  Or vice versa?

If you have ever asked any of these questions, Network for Good and Kivi Leroux Miller have all the answers.  Because we hear these questions so often, we created a free Guide on the topic. You can download it here.

You will learn the pros and cons of print vs. email and the ins and outs of writing for paper vs. the web.  And you’ll get these tips on what should NOT be included in your email newsletters.  Ever. Enjoy this excerpt on what 7 things to avoid, by Kivi Leroux Miller.

1. Letter from the Director. Honestly, these are often ghastly in print because they are typically full of jargon and behind”the”scenes minutiae, all of which is exactly the opposite of what works in email. If the director really loves writing that letter, then it’s time to give him or her a blog. Your email newsletter, on the other hand, should be focused primarily on the readers and what they care about and how they can connect to you and your cause. Very brief letters can work, but they must be laser”focused on the reader — “you,” “you,” and more “you.”

2. Calendar of Events. If you have a full page calendar with all the boxes for each day of the week, you can put that online (try Google Calendar, for example), but you shouldn’t try to email the whole calendar. Instead, highlight a few upcoming events and include a link to the full calendar.

3. Boring Photos. Group photos of your board, “big check” photos, and the like often make it into print newsletters, but waste precious space in email. Photos in email newsletters should be mission-oriented. A close-up shot of one person will beat a group shot 9 times out of 10.

4. Masthead. This is where, in a print newsletter, you’ll often find complete contact information for the group, the list of the board of directors, the staff who work on the newsletter, and the mission statement. While you should include your contact information in your e-newsletter (CAN-SPAM rules require you to include your mailing address), leave the board and staff lists and the rest on your website.

5. Long Articles. Articles in email are much shorter than those in print. Shoot for 250 - 500 words. If you need to go longer, include an excerpt in the email and have readers click over to your website to read the full article.

6. Big Display Ads. The majority of your email should be text, not images. That means those big full-page ads (or even half-page ads) that you include in your print newsletter, advertising everything from your own events to your sponsor’s products and services, need to go. You can create smaller button ads, or even better, turn that advertising into real content of interest to your readers — make what you are promoting relevant to them and to your cause.

7. Complicated Charts and Graphics. Email newsletters look different depending on which email program you are using to view them, making including charts and tables a crap shoot. Instead, save those items as a single graphic file (e.g. gif or jpg) and insert them into your newsletter that way. Remember, they need to be smaller because you are working with less space, so make your graphics as simple as possible.

Enjoy the Guide and let us know what you think!

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