Does your organization publish a monthly or quarterly newsletter? Is it created in a conventional desktop publisher like Microsoft Word or Publisher? Well, it may be time for you to get upgraded!
The creation of desktop publishing tools in the 1990’s made this routine task a lot easier than it used to be, but it’s not ideal. Desktop publishing is time consuming, and you’re usually limited to a certain number of pages. If you overlooked an important article, you have to wait until next time to get it out there.
And then there are the problems with delivery: postage is expensive, and big email attachments are rarely opened.
There’s got to be a better way, right?
A better approach is to start publishing your news in an organizational blog. Why? It’s easier. It’s faster and you’re not bound by the amount of space on a piece of paper.
You can publish your news anytime. You can deliver simple links to your supporters’ inboxes and at the same time make it easy for anyone, anywhere to read about what’s happening with your organization.
Setting It Up
Ready to get started? Here’s one easy way how: If your organization doesn’t already have a blog, check out WordPress.
Once your blog is live, each article from your newsletter should be published as its own blog post. Create a new category for organizational news – the kind of stuff you’d normally publish in your newsletter.
If your newsletter already has a name, you can use that (eg. “Church Connection,” etc. ).
Then, if you want to feature these stories in your menu, use WordPress’ Menu section to add the category to the menu.
When visitors click on the link, they’ll get a nice listing of articles in chronological order, with the most recent articles at the top. When you’re ready to send a monthly or quarterly email update, send links to the individual articles themselves.
Once you’ve started blogging your news instead of desktop publishing it, you won’t want to go back. Then to take things to the next level, check out this free Easy Automatic Newsletter plugin for WordPress.
Making it Happen
One key consideration is convincing management or leadership to make this kind of change. In some ways it represents a fundamental shift in the way that your organization communicates with its members. It’s not something to take lightly, but it’s also not something to fear.
If you or your leadership need more reasons to switch, here are two. First, blogging helps bring more traffic to your website. Posting regular newsletter articles on your blog will help raise the visibility of your organization. Second, blogging can be very interactive. Your members can easily leave comments, post articles to Facebook, and more.
Your membership will also have to get used to this new way of reading your articles. You can help prepare them by taking space in the print edition to let them know about it. You can also overlap for a while, publishing articles both on your blog and in the newsletter hard copy.
Simply copy and paste the text from the newsletter, and then add a few more pictures and a space for comments online. In the hard copy, you can add links with the extra content: “Go to www.example.com/article to see more pictures from this story.”
One final key step is to get feedback. Ask around before implementing the change to see what people think. Once your blog is live, talk with important members to see what they think. Send a couple friendly email reminders asking folks to check it out. And say goodbye to that Word template.
What do you think? Have you seen good examples of organizations switching from desktop publishing to blogging? Let us know in the comments.