In this guide, we explain how activists can use email to grow and strengthen their group. We tell you how to write good newsletters and we compare tools that you can use to send them.
Why write a newsletter? #
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Tips for writing a newsletter #
How often should I write a newsletter?
There is no universal answer to this. You want it to be regular enough that people remember the last one and expect the next one, but infrequent enough that they don’t get annoyed. How often this is depends on many things, such as how often you have contact with your members through other means.
Somewhere between once per week and once per month is often recommended by marketing agencies, but ultimately it depends on you and your organisation.
Attract the receiver #
If the receiver doesn’t read the newsletter at that point, they almost certainly never will. So, you have to make the subject stand out so much that they want to choose to read your email at that instant.
Be honest #
That said, do not create promises to your reader that can’t be fulfilled by the content. This will create a relationship of mistrust.
Maximum 35 characters. This is the limit on mobile devices, which are used by a large percentage of email users.
Make it personal #
Consider adding the name of the reader, if using a platform that allows it. This will be opened by more people.
Word to avoid #
Avoid words which are likely to be picked up by email clients as spam, such as "free", "win", etc.
This easy to forget, but don't! This provides the piece of text that readers see in their inbox. If you don’t add it, then the start of the content will replace it.
It's easy to be tempted to simply repeat the subject, but this is a wasted opportunity. Add new information that will entice your reader to read the email.
Use a maximum of 85 characters, so that the end doesn't get chopped off.
One Goal - One Call-to-Action #
Many marketing experts argue that each newsletter should have one clear goal and one clear call-to-action (CTA), and this should be the first content at the top of the newsletter. A call to action is an instruction to the reader to do an action immediately.
Put the CTA into a format that encourages readers to click it, such as a button. You can even do the same CTA multiple times in the same newsletter.
Interesting additional content #
Consider adding interesting, relevant content to the newsletter that has no purpose for your organisation. This can encourage readers to engage with the newsletter and look out for future editions.
Tips and advice
News from the wider world. For example, from politics, activism, or something else relevant to your readers.
Interesting media (article, video, book etc.). One trade-off to consider is that online media may draw the attention of your reader away from your newsletter.
Define what your tone will be, and keep it consistent thoughout the newsletters. Are you formal or informal? Conversational? Do you use slang? Or would you prefer to write the newsletter like a compelling novel?
Write for your audience #
Firstly, your content should be easily understandable. Bear in mind that if you are writing a newsletter, you probably know more about your organisation and the relevant topics than your readers do. You should use Layman's terms, avoid acronyms, and avoid assuming too much knowledge of your readers.
Secondly, your content should be interesting for them. What are they interested in? What sort of content? What format of content? For example, gifs are a great way of encouraging interaction from some (particularly young) demographics, but not everyone.
Short and simple #
Even if you can write several thousand super interesting words, don’t. Or at least don’t do this in the newsletter. Keep it short and simple so people can get the information they need from it in less than a minute. If needed, you can link readers to your website for more information.
Direct to your website #
If you’d like to offer readers the chance to read more, or simply to direct traffic towards your website, then direct readers to your website for more information.
Be consistent (but creative!) #
This doesn’t mean it always has to be the same (and it shouldn’t be!). But be consistent enough in the style, tone and overall purpose of your newsletter that readers know what the expect.
Your brand #
Make your brand clear. Include your logo, colours, and a font that represents you as an organisation.
Design the newsletter so people can “scan” it without much energy or time. To do this, consider using formatting such as bullet points, numbers, bold formatting, and headers.
Use them, but don’t overuse them.
Vary the size of images you use.
Use your own photos, and certainly don’t use stock photos that are obviously stock photos.
Use good quality images. It’s better to have no image than a bad quality image.
Add links to the images of places you would like readers to arrive at.
Comparing tools #
This is an overview of tools we like to use to send out newsletters to our fellow activists:
Managing contact details of activists, hosting events and petition, advanced email sending options
Free, upgrade starting at €10 per month
Managing email lists, sending emails to large groups of people
Free, upgrade starting at €10 per month
We only share tools we really like. We are not being payed to recommend them. Feel free to add the tools that you like to use as an activist! Prices shown are indicative.
Improve this page #
- Review email providers such as ProtonMail (resource)
External resources #