By now, most nonprofits publish an e-newsletter of some sort. These range from uninspired re-hashing of print newsletters to original e-pubs that take full advantage of the tools that can make online publications far more dynamic and compelling.

For example, commercial marketers increasingly are enlisting their customers to create and submit content of their own (“consumer-generated-content”), often video material, which is then (once vetted) used in the marketer's e-publication.

As e-pub readers see this happening, the payoff for marketers include:

  • increased open rates for e-newsletters (customers are interested in other customers);
  • higher credibility for the e-pub (especially when companies allow unhappy customers to speak out);
  • boosts in cross-selling (from word-of-mouth recs as customers submit their own product reviews, or simply talk about how they've used the product);and,
  • improved customer loyalty (as companies are seen to be listening and responding).

No reason why nonprofits can't capture some of these same benefits.

Think about content — particularly in the form of video, audio clips, and photos — you might ask your members, donors, and activists to provide. Then use it, not just passively on your website, but actively in the e-pubs and other e-messaging you push at your supporters.

Here's an article from Marketing Sherpa describing how successful commercial marketers are harvesting consumer-generated-content. Their lessons: don't expect it to happen overnight; make it fun; offer incentives … the return is worth it.

The Agitator would be happy to share your experience with our readers.

Roger & Tom

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