Getting your e-newsletter read during the holidays

Christmas in July sales are over. The Labor Day holiday has come and gone. And now, believe it or not, it’s time to start planning for the holiday season. That time of year when everyone is super-busy, and businesses and organizations compete for the attention of the members of your congregation with sales, requests for year-end donations and a whole host of activities.
So how do you make your e-newsletter stand out during the overcrowded-inbox holiday season? What will it take for the members of your congregation to read what you have to say? In this edition of the Presbyterian Communicators Network I give tips on ways to get your newsletter noticed and to cut through the clutter and competition of holiday emails.

1. Develop a plan and schedule now.
It’s never too early to start planning for your holiday e-newsletter schedule. Build that schedule around the traditional holiday services and events at your church. Whether it’s the choir’s Christmas cantata or the children’s Christmas play, informing your congregation of these services in a timely manner can boost attendance.

2. Create a holiday editorial calendar.
Keeping track of all of your congregation’s holiday dates, events and festivities can be overwhelming. However, creating an e-newsletter editorial calendar can help you keep up with all of the activities and help you determine your newsletter’s content.

3. Support your e-newsletter with social media.
Companies send numerous emails during the holiday season. With all of the competition for your members’ attention during this period, individuals don’t always open their emails at optimum times. Help your newsletter stand out by promoting it on your church’s social media platforms.

4. Use good photos.
To ensure your e-newsletter does not get overlooked during the busiest season of the year, great photos are a must! Using great visuals such as photos or videos of last year’s holiday services can stir happy memories and create interest in your congregation’s upcoming activities. If you really want to get creative, try developing a slider for your newsletter with high-quality, high-resolution photos.

5. Create a sense of urgency by referencing dates and times.
By emphasizing the urgency or importance of planning to attend, participating or volunteering now, the more you can influence the congregation to act. Help your members feel a sense of urgency by referencing dates, times or seasons. By emphasizing that the holidays are quickly approaching, or a specific date is nearing, you can motivate your members to take action.

6. Write clear, concise subject lines.
Keep your subject lines short, sweet and relevant to your focal e-newsletter message. Industry best practices suggest that subject lines should be between 35 and 50 characters. While you want your subject line to be creative, you also want to make sure it accurately aligns with the content inside your e-newsletter.

7. Get festive with your design.
It’s the holiday season, so have fun with the design of your e-newsletter. Remember, however, you still want the members of the congregation to recognize that the newsletter is coming from their church. Your header and footer should maintain your church’s look and feel. Consider using a holiday email template, holiday color and relevant Scripture to create energy and excitement around your congregation’s holiday newsletter.

Holidays can be very busy. But take some time now to plan and schedule your e-newsletter, and you’ll be on your way to making your holiday communications a little more manageable. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to schedule your 2020 Communications Workshop.

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