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How to build a successful eNewsletter team ...
This is the second in a series of articles that takes you through the process of setting up an e-Marketing program. Last issue, we discussed strategy development and here we take you through the steps of building a working team that will implement your newsletter.
As a publisher, your newsletter strategy will only be effective if you are able to gather a team of contributors around you who are able to turn out your newsletter on a regular, timely basis. You want a team that is knowledge, reliable, and honest about their commitment to you. Here are a few tips, based on our process, for building a team.
1. Define the roles.
Your newsletter will require a group of people that have certain skills and expertise. This may vary from company to company, organisation to organisation, depending on your size and structure, but there are some common roles that most likely will be important to you in the development and distribution of your newsletter. The team players that we found we were going to need were:
An editor/project manager who is tasked to pull the project together, from A to Z. This is the person that creates an editorial list, keeps everyone on track, and makes sure issue after issue gets out the door on a timely basis. At times, it can be a daunting task, but in the hands of the right person, the job will get done.
A designer who, if you're working on your first issue, will create the initial look, feel and navigation of the newsletter in the form of a template. You'll also need someone to load the text of each article into the template after the design is created for the initial issue and for each one thereafter. This could be the designer, or you may wish to use eWrite Support Services. Using the Mail & Contacts facility of your eWrite Essentials any person can be easily be trained to do this task.
Knowledge contributors are the people that have the expertise in the areas you want to cover in your newsletter program. These may change from issue to issue, depending on the topics you wish to cover, or you may have a certain knowledge area that you want to discuss in every issue. If the expertise you want to convey is of the opinion nature, you can create a column and include a byline and/or photograph of the author. The contributors can either write their own articles and submit them to the editor for review, or if they prefer, a writer can interview them. In most cases, you may have both – people who like to write up their information and others who best convey their thoughts through an interview process.
If you can include a writer – or even several writers – on your team, that is great. This could either be an internal resource or a freelance copywriter.
2. Select the people to fill the roles.
Once you determine the roles that are critical to your newsletter production process, its time to find the people that can fill those roles. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself – or those you want to be part of the team. Remember, you're asking them to commit time and energy to help you fulfill your strategy and the project you are ultimately responsible for, so select wisely.
- Who has the knowledge or expertise to execute your strategy?
- Are they good communicators?
- Are they reliable and truly willing to be part of your team?
- Is her/his manager open to them participating?
- Do they actually have the time to contribute?
- Will they take this assignment seriously?
- Are they someone who readily meets – or misses – deadlines?
- Do they communicate well and are they willing to keep you apprised of their progress so you know in advance if a deadline is in jeopardy?
3. Be nimble and flexible.
The last piece of advice we can offer you on building your team is to remain nimble and flexible, because even with the best laid plans, good intentions fall to the wayside, deadlines will be missed, people will start avoid you, and you have to be ready with a Plan B in case you are in a bind. Here are a few tips along these lines to help you keep sane!
Choose your team wisely. If you work with someone who is a great contributor but unreliable with deadlines, you have a couple of options. Give that person their own, much earlier deadline. Talk with them frankly and ask them to tell you whether their too committed to participate. If they continue to miss deadlines, you'll have to politely, but be firm and ask them to leave your team.
You have a deadline to meet and a promise to your readers to fulfill. Don't let others sabotage your marketing program. Have an alternative choice or a backup article waiting in the wings in case someone is suddenly taken ill on the day they were going to turn in your article.
Adjust as necessary. For the next issue, review your team. Find out what worked well and what did'nt and adjust accordingly.