Top tips

I’m on LinkedIn, the professional network on the internet that allows you to connect and strengthen professional relationships and learn new skills.  You can follow organisations and groups in much the same was a Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites. 

One of the groups that I follow for interest and to support #bellringing activities, rather than work related, is about Public Relations and in particular this group focuses on internal communications.  In fact its called The Institute of Internal Communication. Each week a contributor called Carole Searwert, a copywriter and newsletter writer posts an article called Top Tips Tuesday which gives you some pointers that you might find useful.  Admittedly, most of it relates to the business world rather than the small, social charity, activity type world, but occasionally there’s something that make sense.

This week’s top tips were all about How to Grow Your Newsletter List.  In the #bellringing community, we tend to use newsletters quite a lot to keep in touch with our ringers, let them know what’s going on and what’s been coming up.  We have them at all levels.  Some districts do their own.  Most association’s probably have one.  The Central Council of Church Bellringers (CCCBR) and the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) are currently issuing a joint one on survival and recovery strategies.  ART have two of their own, Tower Talk and ART Works for slightly different audiences. 

Most newsletters are usually quite well done.  Lots of uplifting news and case studies, information that may help, updates on what’s been going on and useful contacts or diary information.  Hopefully they come with lots of bright shiny photos too.  Invariably these days they come in digital format, but some are still produced in paper, and some are both.

I contribute to many a newsletter and have at some time or other been featured in all of the above.  But how do we know whether what we produce gets read?  How can we increase our readership? 

The article offers 10 suggestions, some of which are business orientated, but the things that I picked up that might be useful in a #bellringing newsletter context were:

  • Offering an interesting “lead magnet” as a sign up incentive.  Now, this relates particularly to getting new business sign ups, however, the suggestions offered actually could form part of your regular newsletter offering e.g. “how to tips”, a cheat-sheet (in our case maybe an article that explains a particular method like the way I learned Double Norwich Court Bob Major as first, treble bob, last, near, full, far) accompanied by some diagrams.
  • Include a sign up link in your email signature.  This I thought was interesting mainly from a Central Council perspective and I shall be offering it up to see if it works. 
  • Add a “forward to a friend” button (obviously for digital newsletters).  Again, I’m thinking Central Council and local Association websites News Page at the bottom of every article so that if someone likes it and thinks that a friend ought to read it, they can easily forward the link.
  • Promote your newsletter on your social media to raise awareness.  Sounds a bit obvious but do we actually do it?  Probably not consistently.

A two minute read at lunch time has now just turned into an evening’s work to see if it’s feasible.


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