According to the McKinsey Global Institute the average person spends 13 hours on email- reading, replying, sorting, deleting (sometimes), etc. It is therefore, critical, that the email receiver be able to discern in a fleeting moment of time whether or not that email warrants being opened.
How does this apply to newsletters? Many of us have moved into the 21st century and are now delivering newsletters via email, but a new medium also deserves a new format. Once which we are guilty of not closely examining.
I’d argue that the two main purposes for publishing a 4-H newsletter are – to inform clientele of upcoming opportunities, and to educate. Can a newsletter serve this purpose? Certainly. If it is being truly received by the receiver. My argument is that a newsletter is a way, but not the only nor best way.
Take a moment to remove your youth development professional hat for a moment. Where do you get your news? How do you find personal development and recreational opportunities you wish to take part in? Buried in a newsletter?
With regard to finding opportunities for their children, in the virtual society of today, people are turning increasingly to online event calendars and blogs to quickly find fulfilling activities from a number of sources and organizations. Fun 4 Gator Kids and Jax 4 Kids are just two examples of the types of sites families are turning to to fill their childrens’ calendars.
Beyond just events and activities, the other main function of a 4-H Youth Development is to educate. Now, lets think back to the previous statement which maintained that the average person spends 13 hours on email a week. Suppose you have six articles in this month’s newsletter. Article # 3 is maybe not as important as article #1, but still vital to be shared. If this information is sent out via email with the subject heading “Clover County 4-H Newsletter,” the busy client sees in the viewing pane an article that doesn’t necessarily apply to them, how likely do you believe it is that they will open the email and read further?
Just let that marinate in your mind for a moment.
So what’s the alternative?