Case Study for Email Newsletter Improvements – Council on Foreign Relations

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Not long ago, I was asked to take a survey from an online newsletter, and I am sure you get these all the time – this one like most stated that it would only take a little bit of my time. Guess what, it actually took very little time, what a refreshing reality a survey which respects your time and really cares about customer service. Okay so, let’s talk about this, because 5-short questions probably aren’t enough to really get the proper feedback, but good for analytical assessment I suppose.

The newsletter is quite good and quite famous, it’s from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and it is meant to give information happening around the globe. So, in this case study, here are some changes I would make to upgrade it further. Read through these ideas, as perhaps they might serve in upgrading your organization newsletter as well.

Indeed, I believe this email newsletter CFR sends out to be decent. Perhaps, I’d add a “things to watch” or future risks section discussing up-coming challenges. This new category shouldn’t be used for scare tactics to serve the political will of CFR but rather as worthy tool for those engaged in business travel, expansion, foreign investments, etc. – now then it might occasionally be used by high-profile subscribers to modify current trajectories in foreign policy and diplomacy, which is good, as long as it isn’t abused by the CFR team.

It would be my view that such an addition could assist CFR’s voice and therefore a larger subscriber base would be a positive, as it would help also in attracting those who view CFR as a socialist or even communist leaning group – so they might realize the value of what’s going on with email newsletter communications.

Next, I believe CFR should add “Google Plus” to their web pages, as it takes time to copy the title of a given article into the Google search engine for those who wish to share it. Google+ has a higher level of folks as they started it with a more intellectual techie types, much better value to CFR than merely pandering to the Facebook’ers, as that’s a lot like some of the populist push going on with the current administration which is totally unhealthy for our nation – we must stop this rich versus poor stuff, before the second WW Germany did that and well, it didn’t turn out so well in the end, why even start or go a third of the way. CFR must lead, not pander, so how CFR deals with its social networking foray and experiment does matter, very much so.

I’d also recommend that CFR take its reports online, the comprehensive ones, where they are chronicle’zed and have the pages formatted into PDF to download for tablets so executives and others can read them while traveling, with nice bullet points. I’d also take the CFR YouTube videos, the transcripts, offering them for $.99 on Amazon with audio enabled for Kindle Fire and iPads, so also at the Apple Store, Android Store, and anywhere else CFR can get them. CFR might also follow some notes from RAND on their news alerts by category.

Indeed, I hope you’ve also gained from this assessment and these recommendations. An email newsletter is a terrible thing to waste, make everyone count. Please consider all this and think on it.

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