The Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications Program is hosting a Virtual Write Shop on newsletters during the week of July 21, 2014.
Vicentia Kotia, the publication and communications officer of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in Ghana, has offered us a draft of a newsletter (The Researcher Jan – June 2014 – Draft 1-2 and Pictures and Captions from Retreat) she is developing. ISSER used to have a newsletter but its publication had stalled for some years. Vicentia came on board in January 2014, and decided to revive the newsletter after the Nairobi PEC meeting.
“I am developing this like a printable newsletter but will eventually publish it electronically. Cost was one of the factors that caused the publication of the newsletter in my institute to stall in the first place. That may no longer be the case but I feel it is better to have it in a form which can work either way, electronic or print. What I share with you now is a first draft. It is going through an in-house editing process. I am speaking to a couple of graphic designers. After the editing process, I will submit the draft to one of the designers to prepare it for e-publication. I have sent the draft newsletter and also extra pages for the designer to add a picture story. I’d love to get fresh ideas on how to develop page-turner content material. However, if I can get some information on free web tools, I’d be really happy about that as well. I look forward to receiving all the comments that will help me make it better.”
Drusilla David, communications officer at the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), has offered us a draft of the CSEA JULY NEWSLETTER 2014.
Sola Oluwadre, communications manager at Afri Heritage Institution (AHI), has offered us a draft of the AHI July 2014 Newsletter.
We’d love to have your comments and questions in the space below.
List of Resources
You can find suggested resources on the topic here, and we welcome your thoughts in the space below.
Best Practices For Developing Effective E-Newsletter Content
Creating Effective Newsletters
How to Send an Effective, Non-Annoying Email Newsletter
How to Increase Your Newsletter Visibility by 100%
Quick Tips for Better Nonprofit Email Newsletters
Three Nonprofit e-Newsletters to Subscribe to and Learn from
7 Tips for Creating a Knockout Nonprofit Email Newsletter
ContactContact Newsletter Hints and Tips
5 Highly Effective Newsletter Examples
33 Simple but Effective Email Newsletter Designs
Print Newsletters: Getting Your Message Out on Paper
20 Tips for Great Email Newsletter Design
List of Free and Low-Cost Platforms – Newsletters
This post has been produced as part of the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) programme. However, these are the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of TTI. You can find all ongoing outputs related to this project via the PEC mini-site on Research to Action. To get updates from the PEC programme and be part of the discussion sign-up to our RSS or email updates. You can also follow our progress via Twitter using the following hashtag #ttipec
Photo courtesy of arcotelhotels.com
Thanks Henna, i am going through the resources
Vicentia, one reason for NOT using the same exact newsletter for print and electronic versions is that you want to use links in an electronic version but not in a print version. Links are a very useful technique to insert into an electronic newsletter, and make it possible to use short, pithy blurbs that link to webpages with more information. But, of course, you would not use links in a print newsletter.
Thanx for your comment, David. Well noted. Links…one more reason to go electronic. It is really the way to go today, isn’t it? Or are there also reasons whhich would make one consider a print version over an electronic one??
Two more reasons to choose electronic over print: 1) With electronic, communicators tend to keep their items shorter — because people can follow links for more information — and I believe the shorter they are, the more read they are. 2) With electronic, you can more easily monitor and track how many people read which items, and how long they spend reading it.
Vincentia, good job.
Since this is going to be the first edition of “The Researcher” after its revamping, I am happy that you are going to get it right, especially with the advice you will get from your peers and mentors. I am also looking forward to learning more, on how we can make our newsletter more interesting.
My honest opinion, is that though possible to have the same newsletter both in hard and digital copy, you could have the digital copy posted somewhere on your website, but that shouldn’t be substituted for an eNewsletter 🙂
I notice that you have quite a number of links within the newsletter, which would be more effective if you instead added them in an eNewsletter.
Maybe you could start by signing in to one platform. We at the IEA-Kenya use Mailchimp, which is free and very effective. You could also use the ‘not-so-free’ Vertical Response.
The advantage of an eNewsletter, is that it is very brief and can be read at one go. It allows you to give briefs and link your stories to information on your website, thereby drawing more traffic to your website.
Mailchimp also shows you how many people you reached, how many actually read your eNewsletter, the bounce rates, forwards, comments etc – and a link of the same can be shared on social media. If you like, I will be happy to share more of this with you.
We also began producing Quarterly newsletters sometime last year (see the links below), although we haven’t been consistent.
Hi Vincent and colleagues
I would like to say this is a good work at a crafting stage. I agree with Audi and David on the issue of links but my concern is on the photos, i think you need to insert high quality and gave enough space for each because image communicates more then words. you also need to balance the use of photos throughout the whole word for instance putting more photos in one section (events) and having other pages that goes without a single photo can shift readers attention.
However, it should be understood that as good as a newsletter can be, dissemination strategy that well connects readers to your newsletter is most important of all
I think it is a good attempt that you are reviving the newsletter. Using pictures to tell the story is also good. But I noticed that the newsletter does not carry your office address and other details like your facebook, twitter handle,email, phone number and others. Also the articles seems to be long in my perspective. I also hope your logo is well branded to avoid inconsistencies. In all, it is a good re-start.
Hi Vicentia – Thanks for sharing and it’s very exciting that you are developing this! I agree with the points raised by others on this newsletter draft. In addition, in the Staff Zone section, it may also be interesting to showcase a few interesting / relevant articles or blogs that may be of interest to staff – we do that in the R4D e-newsletter, and I think that it is a good way to alert staff to some broader content.
In case you have any job openings, you could also advertise them in the newsletter so that staff can pass it on to their networks.
Hi Sola, I think the AfriHeritage newsletter is a very detailed one. I would however advice a review of the colours used across different pages; most are primary and contrast too sharply. Pick a colour or two and use different shades of each, that way the newsletter doesn’t look cluttered…