There are 2 types of problems you may have. In the first instance you may have no idea where to start or what to write and feel you have difficulty getting content. In the second instance – you may feel you have too MUCH to say and don’t know where to start.
Here are a few ideas to help you organize and prepare content for your email newsletter.
Plan Your Year
It is good to take a long range approach to your email newsletters. This will help you develop a communications approach that meets the needs of your various target audiences, and fulfills your objectives of building relationships and getting your message out.
First of all get a calendar and mark holidays and occasions. This will help you in scheduling and also in identifying specific times of the year to link your message. For example Christmas and Thanksgiving are times when people think of giving. Then add to the calendar your organization key dates and any upcoming events that are planned. You may have a fundraiser, or open house scheduled or you may need volunteers for some specific activity.
Look also at your target audiences and see if there are any specific dates that you should add to the calendar. Maybe your community has a Volunteer Banquet or some other community events that you would like to promote in your newsletter.
Plan Newsletter Structure
Decide on your main topics or sections of the newsletter. For example one section could be a story, another on volunteer activities, upcoming events, how donations are used, news items. You might 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 that will help you in the selecting a design idea that will be appropriate for the structure you decided on.
Now that you have your plan and structure, look at the existing content that you have available. These will include your printed newsletter if you have one, your website, any articles you may have written, stories from your clients, volunteers and staff.
Select from these and see what new writing is needed and how you can utilize existing content and what requires fresh writing. Look for images and photos that you can use for some of the articles.
Another article will go into more detail about “Calls to Action” and the writing process.
An email management program that I recommend is Constant Contact. Constant Contact has excellent customizable templates and many other features that will help you get started. I have been using this for many years and have setup 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 lets you use the full features of the program to determine if it is right for you.