Having a hard time thinking of good content to include in your email newsletter? Nonprofits typically have plenty of content to include in their newsletters, but the challenge is having good content that will truly engage your supporters.
Here are a few ideas for gathering a pool of good topics for your upcoming newsletters. (You can find these tips and much more in our upcoming free, live webinar, Nonprofit Newsletters That Engage.)
1. Keep Track of Everyday Content. To make this really work you need to grab a folder and put it on your desk. (I recommend doing it now before you forget!) Any time a donor, volunteer, or board member has a question, write it down and put it in this folder. Any time a staff member gets a question or receives a question from a supporter, write it down and put it in this folder. Anytime a supporter asks a question on your Facebook Page, write it down and put it in this folder. This is a great source for content because if one person wants to know something, chances are good that others do too, so it would probably be interesting information to share with a larger audience. The challenge with this is actually writing these everyday questions down. But once you get the hang of it, this folder can turn into a goldmine of inspiration for engaging newsletter topics.
2. Listen via Twitter. You don’t have to have ever visited Twitter before or even know what Twitter is to gain valuable content from it for your newsletter. Just go to http://twitter.com/search and you will be given a search box – include a relevant keyword, such as your organization’s name, your cause, a program name, or a topic you want to write about. You will get tons of real-time conversations going on about that topic. Find out what’s getting people talking and check out the videos and articles being shared. Use the buzz, videos, and articles you find as the basis for good content in your newsletter.
3. Sign Up for a Regular Content Feed. Google Alerts is a free tool that will feed you content via email, at the frequency of your choice, that relates to a particular topic you specify. You can head to http://www.google.com/alerts to sign up. I recommend signing up for a number of topics that are closely related to your mission, such as human rights, violence prevention, literacy, climate change, etc. Anytime there is a news story, press release, blog post, or video about that topic, you will get an email with a link to it. Not only will you get good ideas for articles, but you will also have content you can link to in your newsletter (saving you time in having to write yourself). If you find an article you think your audience will find interesting, just write a couple sentences on why it’s important for supporters to check out and then link back for them to read it for themselves.
4. Use Content You Already Have. Nonprofits tend to have a lot of content already online, just sitting there waiting to be used. You’ve already created it; now you just need to re-purpose it for your newsletter! Connect your supporters with articles and posts that are already on your website, blog, YouTube channel, or Facebook Page. Especially videos! Video in email can increase clicks by 2–3 times, according to Forrester. Video increases subscriber engagement by 20–200%, according to Visible Gains. Don’t yet have a video? It doesn’t have to be one you created. Search YouTube for a video that relates to your organization or your supporters’ interests. Is there an interesting conversation happening on your Facebook Page? Share some of it in your newsletter and link back to your Facebook Page so your newsletter readers can join in.
Have questions or other suggestions? Please share them in the comments field below.