How to use the MayneNews email list for your event

I've decided to write a how-to checklist for those who are sending me announcements to send out to the list. While still new at this job, I've discovered I need to set out some requirements for those using the list, that clearly states some ground rules.

I consider the email list a community resource and my goal is to make it as useful as possible for everyone. The key to it being useful is to get emails into the inboxes of as many people on Mayne Island or who are friends of Mayne Island as possible. Something I don't want to do is to send out a ton of email to the list. This will turn subscribers off and cause people to ignore the emails that get sent or simply delete them without viewing them and therefore decrease the list's overall effectiveness as a community information tool.

I've decided that no more than 3 email sends per week is a good amount. If there are more event announcements to go out that week I will double or triple them up in the email send. For this reason, make sure your event information is complete and correct. Sending out emergency corrections to the whole list because the info is wrong is something I don't want to do any longer. It doesn't make me look good or the MayneNews email list look good either. In future I won't be sending out any more corrections as separate emails, although I can edit the blog posts. If another email is going out to the list before your event date, I can add a correction to the bottom of that email.

So here's the current checklist. I may edit this as I go along:

Is your information complete and correct?
• Do you have the correct day, time, admission price, venue and other information? 
• Have all the people in your group approved the information? 
• Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes that might reflect badly on your group. Yes, people do notice this stuff, and might think badly of your effort if you have a lot of spelling errors.
• Doing a full send to the list for a correction to your information will not be done, but a correction can be included in an upcoming send if another list send is going out prior to your event.

Is the information provided in a form that Jim can access and the list recipients can access?
• Submit all the event information to me in the form of text in your email. I may not necessarily be able to open and read an attached file that you send to me if it's in some proprietary file format. 
•  I won't send out event information as graphics only, such as a poster, to the list, because those who have images turned off in their email programs won't be able to view that information. A graphic may also not display correctly depending on the type of software the recipient is using. The emails to the list are sent out as HTML emails, which all modern email software can deal with. Their is also a plain text option sent along with it for those who can't. Subscribers to the list can edit their preferences on whether they want HTML, plaintext or mobile formatted email sent to them.
Is there compelling information included in your description that will make people want to come to your event? 
• Just saying "Come to X on September 20th" isn't going to make anyone necessarily interested in attending. You might have to tell them why they might want to come or least provide some interesting details about your event. Some well-written prose might make a big difference.
• For announcements going to the list, the limit is 200 words and 1 included graphic or photo. I can post a longer version to the blog and include 2 or 3 graphics or photos to a blog post, so consider sending a longer version as well. I can also embed YouTube videos in the blog posts.

Did you provide a subject heading for the email to be sent out?
• As I said above, emails to the list might go out separately, or if there are more than 3 announcements per week then they may have to be doubled up or tripled up. A subject heading that describes your event is required. I also want all the subject headings to have the month and day tacked on the end, so the recipients can see at a glance when the event is.
• The subject heading will also be in the body of the email and become the title of the blog post.
Email subject headings should be no longer than 50 characters - including the date, in this form: MMM-DD. For example: Dec 12.

Do you have a contact person for more information? 
• Always include a "for more information contact ..." either by phone or email or both. I can add links to any website you want.

Is there enough time before the event to get this email out and to also make corrections?
• Although it may seem like it to people who know me, I don't spend every waking hour in front of my computer. :-) I sometimes even go several hours or (gasp) a whole day, without checking my email. So you need to get your info to me with enough lead time for me to be able to get it sent out to the list and also to get back to you in case I need to make clarifications. 
• I think a minimum reasonable time is 5 days prior to your event, although more is better. I may be able to help you in less time, but I can't promise anything. I also might need to be working at making my crafts to sustain my income before I get down to working on the MayneNews list. Doing this is strictly volunteer work for me.

Do you want a post on the MayneNews blog as well as an email sent to the list?
• As mentioned above, I can post a longer more detailed version of your announcement to the MayneNews blog. This can include up to 3 photos or graphics and one of these can be an embedded YouTube video. Send me the info to be posted to the blog below the info to be posted to the list if it is different.
• You may want to think about removing private phone numbers, names or email addresses from the blog post, because anything on the blog can be referenced by anyone using a search engine. If you want to avoid spam to an email address something people do is to print it as "Name [at] domain [dot] com" so that automated software can't harvest the email from a web site. It's possible that even that is no longer good protection since the spammer's software might be able to figure that trick out now as well.
Following these rules will greatly help me in making the email list useful for Mayne Island. 


Posted November 2009

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