2. Think about your audience and make sure your e-newsletter is relevant to the user. To increase its relevance, CARE saw the need to shift the e-newsletter content from an organization focus to a user focus. “If you’re just thinking of it from your own point of view and spout out what you want to say to [constituents], well, it’s you and everybody else in a cluttered inbox,” Smith says. The newsletter now focuses on connections between people, specifically women in the United States and in the developing world.
Smith says CARE goes through a good deal of effort to make the content of the stories in the developing world relevant to people in the United States. Producing a quality e-newsletter with original content every month is a lot of work. You can’t just fill your e-newsletter with “whatever’s leftover” and think that’s going to engage constituents. The content you use has to be compelling — a real story or something interesting to your readers. Smith suggests thinking as an outsider when devising content. “Everything about our business is fascinating to us, and that’s just not the case outside [the organization],” he says.
In the end, he says e-cultivation is a wild frontier that all organizations are exploring at the same time. There’s a lot to be learned by constituent behavior and from other organizations. “We’re all sort of on the edge of the same balloon being expanded out into the wilderness, if you will,” Smith says. “Everyone’s working on the state of the art, and everyone can learn something from everyone else.”
Tobias Smith can be reached via www.careusa.org