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AM&P Annual Meeting Recap: Ins and Outs of e-Newsletters

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By Jennifer Garvin 

Is an e-newsletter right for your organization?

To answer that question, it might be helpful to know what goes into a great e-newsletter. That’s where Robert Flynn, chief executive officer of Aggregage, Inc., and Mark Newman, editor of the Endocrine Society’s Endocrine News, came in.

Flynn and Newman y presented “Anatomy of a Great e-Newsletter,” a popular session during the Association Media & Publishing's Annual Meeting on June 26-27.

Here are the top five takeaways from their presentation:

Save your members from information overload. We all get too many emails. How can you make sure yours stand out? The winning formula for good content is that it must be newsworthy, relevant, and personalized. Subject lines are critical — you only have one chance to grab a reader’s attention. “Information overload is a problem, but it’s not a new problem,” Flynn says. Marketing technology has led to a different kind of overload.

Content curation takes many forms. These forms include algorithmic or machine; social, such as crowdsourcing and surveys; and expert, as in a person or group. The best content curation uses a combination of all these things. To understand the right curation tool, you must understand your membership.

A good newsletter can be an extra revenue source. There are many ways to introduce ads to a newsletter, for instance, by offering online exclusives and packaging newsletter ads along with print. At the same time, try to set a limit on the number of advertisers. You want a good mix of content and ads.

Less is more. Newman says the Endocrine Society’s weekly e-newsletter began as an offshoot of the newsletter that promoted content from the organization’s magazine. It proved so successful that the association took it over as the organization’s main information channel. Now, instead of sending 75 emails a month to members, they send less than 30 with an average open rate of 30 percent.

What’s your strategy? Is your distribution strategy different from print? Are you sending out a daily, weekly, or monthly edition? Do you want to use the newsletter as a way to engage with members? If you don’t have a specific strategy in mind, you can easily end up with an e-newsletter that fails to provide any value.

Jennifer Garvin is the Washington editor for the ADA News, the newspaper of the American Dental Association. Association Media & Publishing thanks Jennifer for her stellar job covering this session from the AM&P Annual Meeting for our members who were unable to attend.


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