Monday, August 24, 2009

Does Your E-Newsletter Resemble a Laundry List?

Oh yeah - this makes me want to pull out the checkbook or hit the PayPal button.

Of course, your e-newsletter doesn't look like this. It has pictures and graphics and (possibly) color!

But it might still be as boring as this, if all it does is talk at the recipient.

Take a look at the last newsletter you sent out; how many articles are either "Gee-look-what-we-did" or "Gee-come-and-see-what-we're-doing"?

Your newsletter should be more than a vehicle for showcasing accomplishments or trying to get people to participate in events. It should reinforce the idea of community and the articles should inspire people to want to comment.

Example: I'm an anime fangirl. (Think that's strange? What's your point?) Anyway - I subscribe to because I like to see my Naruto Shippuden and Gintama episodes as soon as they become available. And naturally, Crunchyroll sends out a newsletter. The latest talks about how shonen anime (like Naruto and Bleach) was developed for the age 8-16 male audience but has been acquiring a growing audience of girls. Of course, I had to go to the website to read the rest of that article about why the article writer thinks that's happening, and it was interesting enough to me that I wanted to comment on the fact that I'm not the only over-30 woman I know who is a shonen enthusiast.

The newsletter told me a few things I didn't know, intrigued me, made me want to participate in the community by sharing my view and got me to the website, where I spent time looking at what was new and reading other articles and comments.

Any social media tool is only as good as the community it encourages.

Don't just work at getting the newsletter out on time with all the links right and pictures credited. Work at making everything in it engaging. It's the level of engagement you build into it that will feed the sense of community that will will generate interest that will build the level of engagement that will feed the sense of community... round and round we go and where we stop - well, that's up to the community, isn't it?

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