The Challenge of Collaboration: Team Newsletter

The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” – James Cash Penney

Since one of the areas I would like to improve in is collaboration, I took the first step in that direction by joining a Team & Collaboration Panel.  Granted, originally I kind of got volunteered.  But now I am happy that it is the group I get to participate in.  Not all members of our organization work in the same building or even in the same city.  The goal of the panel is to promote team spirit and make all of the members feel included.

The latest thing I am working on as part of this panel is a team newsletter.  Since I have never done anything like this before, I have been devoting my Sundays to research.  In addition to discovering the Publisher, I have found many newsletter templates that are available online – some are free, some are a part of a whole marketing campaign.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of a newsletter as a form of communication.  Aside from a great template, the content of your letter is what truly matters.   For my panel to not miss the mark, I compiled some tips to ensure that we build one that creates value.

  • Define your purpose. What are you trying to accomplish with the newsletter?  Inform?  Entertain?  Persuade?  Inspire?  Sell?
  • Know your reader.  Consider the audience. Who are they?  What do they want?  What do they like?
  • Use a professional, easy to comprehend and follow format and layout.  Most people simply scan the page for the content that is relevant or interesting to them.  Multi-column design is more desirable, and images help create visual focus.  Conversational tone resonates more with the reader and establishes rapport quicker.
  • Start with a strong opening.  Just like with any speech or presentation, you need to catch your audience’s attention.  Use colorful titles for your sections and headlines.
  • Create a wide range of content to appeal to many senses and personalities.  Some people love to learn – include interesting facts and statistics; others love to laugh – include a joke or a cartoon; some are avid bakers – include a recipe of an awesome pound cake, etc.
  • Be consistent.  This applies not only to the publishing frequency, but also the content, layout, and overall branding of the newsletter.
  • Use a common theme to tie all your content together.  For example, if your May theme is volunteerism, include a story of someone donating his or her time in the local event, statistics about volunteering, ways to get involved in your community, etc.
  • Listen to your audience.  Turn their questions into content – respond.  In turn, this will build trust with your reader.
  • Minimize advertising/sales efforts, but include links to your site, where they can read more about the topic, learn more about you and your organization, have a chance to give back.
  • Make unsubscribing easy.  As I like to say – you cannot please everyone.

An average person spends 51 seconds reading a newsletter.  Make the layout appealing enough to catch their attention.  Make the content engaging enough to retain it.

Image by njaj/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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