This is part of a series aimed at improving your outcomes with govDelivery emails. Keep an eye on govCommunity for more helpful and informative ideas.
What do you do when you have too much content, but you need to have that much content? I am asked this same question multiple times each week. Usually someone has been tasked with reworking their too-packed newsletter to make it more engaging — because people have stopped opening the newsletter, or no longer engage with it. Here are some ideas you should consider if you are stuck in the impossible situation of having too much content.
Send More Often
First, and probably the most simple solution, is to send more often. If it is a quarterly newsletter, can you send monthly? If monthly, can you send weekly? There are usually two reasons why you won’t be sending more often: you are already at your bandwidth limit, or you/leadership is afraid that your audience will feel like you send too much. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter to me if I get a newsletter once a week, once a month or once a quarter. If I am not getting it twice a day, it probably isn’t too much. So that leaves bandwidth. If you can possibly send the newsletter more frequently, you should try to do it – this is all about your audience consuming your information, that is why we are all here.
Next, consider spinning off a chunk or two of the huge newsletter into their own send. Just like a TV spinoff, you can reduce the amount of content in your huge newsletter by simply cutting some of it out, and sending that as its own email. For example, if you have a block of Upcoming Events and then a block of Webinars and then a block of Important Deadlines, consider grouping them together in their own email as, for example, Important Upcoming Dates. Send your newsletter one week, and your important dates the next. That way, each story will get that much more time, attention, eye balls. The less content you send, the more clicks each story will get.
Link to Content
Another thing to consider is to reduce the amount of content in your email, and move it to accompanying materials. GovDelivery has a Landing Page feature where you are able to build a dedicated webpage for whatever you may want to put there. You can also upload and link to word doc’s, pdf’s, spreadsheets, powerpoints, and of course external webpages. The point here is to scale back on the content per story, and move that to an accompanying source that you can link to. This will make scanning your email a lot faster and easier, and will also give you much more insight into how your audience is engaging with your content. Offering links enables you to view clicks, and find out click rates on your various stories.
Organize Your Content
The last thing that I will mention is probably the least exciting, but the most common. That is to better organize, arrange, present your content. This is sometimes the most challenging, probably because in general the amount of content that you need to present is so overwhelming. I always like to promote these simple, but effective ideas…
Group content into related categories of content, and give each category a large, clear, simple, meaningful heading. This is going to be a landmark on your map of information that your audience is going to use to navigate it all.
Block out your categories. This can be done with dividers, or with different colored backgrounds. Even a slight color change is enough to give your audience the visual queue that “Now we are moving on to something else”.
Prioritize your content. Most important comes first, and if you follow another best practice I love to offer of “Make your subject line something compelling” then present that compelling thing at the top, so you can fulfill the promise of the subject line right off the bat. The subject line is the promise, the first story is making good on the promise, and will keep your audience reading what comes next.
Give some visual variety to keep it interesting, but keep it simple and clear. In each section, don’t present more that 3 or 4 stories in the same way. If you have for example 6 stories, consider presenting one as a feature, then two as secondary, then three as thumbnail stories.
Be consistent. This is a map, you are providing landmarks for navigation. Establish a visual language for your content, and keep to it. For example, make all story headings the same size, all category headings the same size, all links the same color, etc.
It is generally frowned upon these days to include a Table of Contents, I won’t get too deep into that conversation, but if your newsletter is large, and has some good organization, then a brief table of content can be a useful index of the categories of information you are presenting. If you can keep it brief, I think you should consider either a navigation element at the top, or a table of contents, as an index of what comes below.
There, that was a lot of content in and of itself. Dealing with “Too much content, but we have to send it all” isn’t easy, but there are a number of solutions that can help make it easier for all to find and read your great and useful information. As always, we are happy to help you work through your unique challenges and issues. Get in touch with us here.
About the Author
Huck Tate is a govDelivery expert at Granicus, who spends much of his time helping Granicus customers design beautiful and effective email templates.
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