Magazine article Communication World

Stand from the E-Crowd: Your Audience Is Likely Overwhelmed with E-Mail and More, So Make Your Communications a Must-Read

Magazine article Communication World

Stand from the E-Crowd: Your Audience Is Likely Overwhelmed with E-Mail and More, So Make Your Communications a Must-Read

Article excerpt

If you've been reading this magazine for any length of time, you probably know that information overload, especially in the form of e-mail, is a big problem for communicators. About a year ago, IABC surveyed members about e-mail--how much they get, how much they send and how it affects their lives. About two-thirds of the respondents said that a major cause of inbox overflow is external news sources and professional subscriptions. (For more on this survey, see "Too Much E-Mail!" in the November-December 2006 issue.)

I can agree with that sentiment, even though I've made a point of unsubscribing to almost everything I think I can do without. I used to receive daily news feeds and words of the day, and e-newsletters about the media, language, grammar and the like--some of which I recalled signing up for, some I did not. On top of that, there were e-mails about hot spots in New York City and Los Angeles (not that I live there), from trendy boutiques where I can't afford to shop and from airlines I've flown exactly once. When I went on an extended trip, I canceled almost all of them so they wouldn't clog up my inbox, planning full well to resubscribe upon my return.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I bet you can guess what happened. I didn't miss most of them, and I resubscribed to only a few.

So what makes an e-newsletter a must-read?

You probably know the basics. Make it easy to scan, with clear headlines. If there are lengthy articles, include a link to the full piece rather than putting it all in the e-mail. Don't overload it with slow-to-download images. Most of all, make sure that you've targeted the recipient accordingly and included information that he or she wants to know.

But there's more. Here are seven tips for making your e-newsletter even more appealing to readers.

1 Create an editorial calendar. Think about the topics you want to cover on a regular basis, and then consider whether it makes sense to have themed e-newsletters (covering a single topic with several articles in one issue) or include one or two stories on several topics. Having an editorial calendar ensures that you cover key issues regularly, even if it's only a brief mention.

2 Think of the subject line as a headline. …

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