Membership-centric organizations are struggling with converting their newsletters from print to digital and from a fixed publishing schedule to sending news as it happens.
It is vital for SEO purposes to publish ALL CONTENT on your organization’s website FIRST, before it appears anywhere else on the internet. The goal is always to drive traffic to your website. If your website is built on WordPress, this will be easier for you. WordPress began as a blogging platform and managing news articles (a.k.a. blog content) remains a strength.
Once articles (posts) are published on your website, it is appropriate (advantageous) to push them out to members and other stakeholders via email, social media and other communication channels. We highly recommend using MailChimp for email blasts. It works well and is powerful yet intuitive.
When you send email (or post on social media), you never want to use entire articles. If you send an introduction, known as a lede, with a link to the website that says “read more,” you are helping to maximize the SEO benefit from your valuable content.
The biggest question seems to be what interval to use for sending electronic newsletter (email) messages. For an active, vibrant organization like a church, high school, or other membership organization, monthly email is too infrequent. Keep in mind that newsworthy content may be added to your site more than once a day.
It is now considered old thinking to give “editions” of newsletters discrete dates. We’re living in a post-paradigm-shift world. This is the digital media age. Content is published all the time (a good and necessary thing). We can give individual pieces of content dates, but the days of aggregating posts on a specific day and calling it an edition are behind us.
Keep in mind that you are abandoning monthly newsletters out of necessity because they were outdated as soon as they were printed. What you want is a blog page called Newsletter which contains post excerpts in reverse chronological order and an integrated email system that messages subscribers when new content has been posted to the website. Newsletters can become even more sophisticated by allowing subscribers to receive email from content categories they select.
To prevent flooding email inboxes with messages, you can set MailChimp to fire an email message, at a fixed time daily, with all content added in the previous 24 hours. On some days this may include, for example, excerpts of three pieces of content, on other days it may include none. No message is sent if no new content was published.
If you are transitioning from a printed to electronic newsletter, we suggest that you give your email template a more traditional newsletter appearance. This will reduce anxiety among people who are mourning the end of an era.
While we can’t make any guarantees, we think your constituents will enjoy receiving news “as it happens” rather than via a once-a-month newsletter edition.