Guidelines for Writing a Compelling Newsletter
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It is important for members and partners to receive updates, information, and action steps related to your advocacy and policy work. You can decide whether to add these updates to regularly scheduled newsletters, or to start a new one. You can also decide whether to send them out on a regular schedule (i.e., the first Tuesday of every month), or only when something happens that requires you to share information or action steps.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as write your newsletters:
Use a strong subject line
Your newsletter competes with a raft of other emails individuals receive. Use the subject line to “hook” readers and prompt them to open the newsletter and read your content.
Include a clear call to action
You don’t want your audience to just read about what you’re doing; you want them to act! When you use compelling wording and include links and bold key phrases, you give an immediate cue to readers to take the next step.
(BONUS: If you are an NAEYC Affiliate, reach out to us for access to a suite of call-to-action buttons! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.)
Make it as easy as possible for your readers to find relevant web pages by including links in multiple parts of your email. Include a link on your newsletter’s banner that goes to your homepage or another relevant page. This is important because readers often click on images, banners, and buttons when reading emails on phones or mobile devices, given that these areas are larger than a link in the text.
Keep it as brief as possible!
If you have content that absolutely requires more length, post it on your website and include a short summary in your newsletter, directing readers to your website for the full article. Also remember, the most important information should be placed at the top of the email, and not “below the scroll.”
Break up heavy text with bullets and lists.
Do not be afraid to use bullets or lists, and when relating longer information, be sure to break every few sentences to create short, easy-to-read paragraphs.
Whenever possible, include photographs to keep things engaging. Be sure the images you select are clear, crisp, and not blurred. You can use photos of real children, families, and educators in your communities, as long as you have the appropriate photo releases, and you may also want to consider subscribing to stock photo services, like istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com to add variety and professionalism to the images in your newsletter!
Ideally, an image should be the first thing a reader sees when opening an email, with text underneath it. Photos should be the full width of the email and be in “landscape” alignment. Typically, you want to use only one image, but you could put three images in a row (with text above them) that link to three different webpages. Here is an example.
Be flexible and track your performance
Be flexible, and experiment with sending your newsletter in the morning, at lunch, or in the early evening. See which days, and which times of the day results in higher open rates (the percentage of people who opened your email out of the entire list), and then tailor your distribution strategy accordingly.