There are two types of problems you can have. In the former case, you may have no idea where to start or what to write, and feel like you’re having a hard time getting content. In the second case, you may feel like you have a LOT to say and don’t know where to start.
Here are some ideas to help you organize and prepare your email newsletter content.
Your annual plan
It’s good to take a long-range approach to your email newsletters. This will help you develop a communication approach that meets the needs of your diverse target audiences and meets your goals of building relationships and spreading your message.
First, get a calendar and mark the holidays and occasions. This will help you to schedule and also identify specific times of the year to link to your message. For example, Christmas and Thanksgiving are times when people think about giving. Then add your organization’s key dates and upcoming planned events to the calendar. You may have a fundraiser or open house scheduled, or you may need volunteers for a specific activity.
Also look at your target audience and see if there are specific dates that you need to add to the calendar. Perhaps your community has a volunteer banquet or some other community event that you would like to promote in your newsletter.
Plan the structure of the newsletter
Decide on your main newsletter topics or sections. For example, one section could be a story, another about volunteer activities, upcoming events, how donations are used, news. You may have a section for links or resources.
Then decide on the layout of the newsletter. Depending on the email management program you are using, you may have templates to help you select a design idea that will be appropriate for the structure you decided on.
Now that you have your plan and structure, take a look at the existing content that you have available. These will include your print newsletter if you have one, your website, any articles you’ve written, stories from your clients, volunteers, and staff.
Select from these and see what new writing is needed and how you can use existing content and what requires new writing. Look for pictures and photos that you can use for some of the articles.
Another article will go into more detail about the “Calls to Action” and the writing process.
One email management program that I recommend is Constant Contact. Constant Contact has great customizable templates and many other features to get you started. I have been using this for many years and have set up many clients who have used it successfully to build their networks and connections with their target audiences, clients, donors, and affiliates. Constant Contact has a free trial period that allows you to use all the features of the program to determine if it is right for you.