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Oklahoma Conference of The UMC Department of Communications Re-ignite Workshops 2014 How to publish an effective digital church newsletter.

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Presentation on theme: "Oklahoma Conference of The UMC Department of Communications Re-ignite Workshops 2014 How to publish an effective digital church newsletter."— Presentation transcript:

1 Oklahoma Conference of The UMC Department of Communications Re-ignite Workshops 2014 How to publish an effective digital church newsletter

2 What we will cover What is a digital (electronic) newsletter? Ways to publish an e-newsletter What to consider before starting your newsletter How to design a newsletter How to avoid SPAM filters Resources for more information on how to create e-newsletters.

3 What is a digital e-newsletter? It is the electronic counterpart to traditional print newsletters, and it typically is sent out to subscribers on a regular interval. Available either on the Web or via e-mail subscription, either free or paid. In this class we will present formats that are simple to prepare, easy to read, and help prevent your e-newsletter from being flagged as SPAM.

4 Ways to publish an e-newsletter 1.Create a PDF document, post on your website, and then email the link to subscribers. (print format sent electronically) 2.Publish your PDF to an online publication service such as Issuu or Scribd. (from print format converted to a digital format) 3.Use an online email marketing service such as MailChimp. (created in a digital format within the software provided by MailChimp or other service.) 4.Create a page on your website and then email subscribers the link to the page. (created using code -- HTML or other code in a sofware program [Dreamweaver, Wordpress, etc.] or by hand-coding) 5.Create a PDF document and then email it as an attachment. (print format) This fifth format seems to dominate church e-communications. But is there a better way?

5 Before you start your e-newsletter Consider where your newsletter will be opened People are using a wide range of devices. They may look at your email any time of day, using many different email clients (Outlook, Yahoo, Apple Mail, Gmail, etc.), and also amid a lot of distractions. Understand the purpose of the content Who is your audience? What’s in it for them? How will your e-newsletter help your reader? Do the articles celebrate successes?

6 Designing your e-newsletter Document setup The page dimensions really depend on what your end product will be – print to pdf, code (html) format, etc. Establish a hierarchy (applies to both print and digital) Put your most important information first. Remind your readers what is happening in the next few days. Keep it simple (applies to both print and digital) Less is more. Keep design and copy minimal. Keep it short and engaging. Good email writing is conversational, less formal, and RELEVANT.

7 Designing Keep it legible (applies to both print and digital) Avoid placing light text on a light background or dark text on a dark background. Use the correct font size. Provide adequate spacing (applies to both print and digital) Use margins, padding around your elements, creating negative space. Align your elements (applies to both print and digital) Keep your margins the same width or spacing between lines the same height, etc. Coordinate your colors (applies to both print and digital) Again, determine the reaction you want your content to elicit. Warm colors=energetic. Cool colors= calm. Avoid using Word Art or generic clip art!

8 Designing Don’t overuse drop shadows Strive for consistency Use a responsive design (important for digital formats, not for print) Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a Web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience. RWD adapts the view for the mobile device. Appealing images But not too many. Reduce image sizes for Web use. (applies to digital format)

9 Incorporate your Facebook page into your e-newsletter. You have to promote the page to get new fans. Most new fans come from mentioning the page in e-mail newsletters and asking people to become fans. Designing

10 Anatomy of an email newsletter Both print-to-pdf and coded newsletters should use this layout. Address To: Receiver’s name. From: Your name. 73% of emails are judged as SPAM by looking at the “From” line. Subject: 35% of email users open a message because of the subject line content. Preheader Placed at the top of the newsletter. Header Contains your logo, navigation links, social media icons.

11 Anatomy Primary message One paragraph at the maximum. Use a bold title, one paragraph of text, and a call to action. Top left corner is the most important area. Secondary messages Set on the right side or below primary message. Adds value, may have an image, a call to action, and short description. Index This is your newsletter table of contents. Footer Gives additional chances to click through to other material.

12 Preheader Header Primary message Secondary messages Index Footer Sample e-newsletter =

13 How to avoid SPAM filters Spam filters calculate a “spam score” to detect junk mail. To determine whether an e-mail is spam, most filters consider a number of different attributes, such as content, length, percentage of text, use of images, number of recipients, headers, etc.

14 SPAM Subscriptions ONLY Confirm that your newsletter was received. You must have permission to send to every single one of your recipients. CAN-SPAM rules comprise best practices for email for any organization. Avoid attachments Keep your sender’s name and email consistent For example, if you use “From: “ always use that in future Motivate your users to add your email to their whitelists within their email client.

15 SPAM Follow-up with U.S. Mail If possible, follow-up on your newsletter e-mail with a “snail mail” version sent to your readers’ postal addresses. Send e-newsletters regularly Your subscribers will come to “expect” your email to arrive in their inbox on the same day, at the same time.

16 SPAM Always insert the current date in the content. Text-to-Image Ratio (for digital format) The percentage of text should be higher than the percentage of HTML or images. Use CSS sparingly (for digital formats, coded) Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. Avoid graphics and complex HTML elements (for digital formats, coded) Many readers use software (e.g. Outlook) that automatically blocks images.

17 SPAM Test your newsletters before sending them out. You can check the “spam score” of your newsletters with Lyris ContentChecker for email.

18 SPAM-prevention guidelines A few “don’ts”: go crazy with exclamation points!!!!!! USE ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT'S LIKE YELLING IN AN EMAIL code sloppy HTML use color fonts -- bright red or green use the word "test" in the subject line create an HTML email that’s nothing but one big image, with little or no text

19 Resources Color palette sites for ideas Photo editing Google Picasa ( PDF creators SourceForge Pdfforge

20 Resources Articles from the Oklahoma United Methodist Contact ( - Conference Publications – News Archive) United Methodist News Service Sign up to receive the Daily or Weekly email news digest complied by UMNS. Go to – Our World – Observe copyright laws An item appearing on the Web does not confer free use. And claiming “anonymous” will not protect your church from costly litigation.

21 Email Marketing Services We are not endorsing these companies. You need to do your own research and decide what is best for your church. MailChimp Constant Contact http://www.constantcontact.com JangoMail Emma Vertical Response (10,000 emails per month free ) GraphicMail (10,000 emails per month free)

22 Email Marketing Services We are not endorsing these companies. You need to do your own research and decide what is best for your church. (fee-based) Graphic Mail (fee-based) MyNewsletterBuilder

23 Thank you for coming today. Let us know how we can help. Department of Communications 1501 N.W. 24 th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73106-3635

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