Community Management sometimes is confused with power and Community Managers behave like kings and queens – insurmountable by anything or anyone. These communities do have a future – a doomed one. Members start leaving, the relations get bitter and the traffic goes down. But why are we talking about this in the context of a community newsletter?
Don’t be a monkey – who snatches everything. Although monkeys have a great sense of community but when it comes to being a Community Manager, ‘don’t be a monkey’.
A community newsletter reflects the tone with which a community is managed and how community members are treated. A community newsletter is like an invitation and reflects the emotion of the sender towards the receiver – an invitation to the learning party by the learning party host (thanks Sarah Siegel for this term, I love it). Let’s look at how to make your community newsletter a success:
1. Give personalized attention: The newsletter should be addressed to the individual rather than the group. It’s always necessary to start any conversation with a personalized touch, like ‘Dear Mary’ or ‘Hi Bob’ or ‘Hello Manoj’. This impacts the reader’s mind and he/she feels that the newsletter is sent only to him/her. It takes a simple ‘computed script’ in notes to make that happen if the mail is sent to thousands of addresses.
2. Chisel the stuff: While sharing links or buttons, it’s imperative to add text/statement as to why you want someone to click there. Simply typing the hyper-linked forum heading in a newsletter shows signs of being a shirker. Not all the links should have the preface but the important ones should be placed with some nicely worded statements. A lot of newsletter floating today just dump what their tools vomit to create newsletter: it looks very rough and shows that the community manager sent out the newsletter because it was a task needed to be done.
3. Avoid cognitive overload: Don’t confuse your newsletter with writing a boring book – nobody will read it. The intention might be sometimes to add everything in there but that’s not what audience wants. Try and attract the audience by showing what’s the highlight of the period – something which excites them to 1. Read more and 2. Go to the community to contribute (isn’t that the motive). A lot will distract/dispel the reader and the objective will be lost.
4. Make it aesthetically appealing: A book is judged by its cover and a newsletter is judged by its visuals – there are outliers too but can you take a chance? Why to throw out a great newsletter and not make it look more visually appealing – symmetric readable fonts, correct alignment, subtle use of colors, creative and blended imagery etc. will make the newsletter more widely accepted and received and results in more traffic towards your community.
5. Make an identity: How would one relate to a brand when the logo/appearance keeps changing? A visual identity is very important for a newsletter – your audience will use that to identify you. Ensure that the newsletter does not go a paradigm shift every time else readers will have challenges in looking for information. Imagine going to Facebook and its appearance changes every time – it will be confusing and irritating. A newsletter is not a task – it’s a responsibility, a gesture every community manager should make very personally and gleefully.
A newsletter is not a one way communique but an expression of thoughts by a Community Manager towards community members which results in a continual exchange within the community.
- Are you the one killing the community? (khalidraza9.wordpress.com)
- How do you make a community more active? (khalidraza9.wordpress.com)
Tagged: active-community, Cognitive load, cognitive-overload, communication, community, community-management, community-manager, digital-identity, digital-reputation, don't be a monkey, Facebook, Monkey, newsletter, online-communication, Sense of community