up-close of a video camera

A video newsletter can make your emails more engaging

As com­mu­nic­a­tions teams at­tempt to cut through the noise of so­cial me­dia to reach their audi­ences, the U.S. Travel Association act­ively en­gages their mem­bers by com­bin­ing two di­git­al me­dia trends — video and email newsletters. Though both tac­tics are com­monly used by com­mu­nic­a­tions teams to reach audi­ences through so­cial me­dia or their in­boxes, U.S. Travel’s “video news­let­ter” ap­proach ad­apts the strengths of each to cre­ate a rel­ev­ant, fre­quent com­mu­nic­a­tion chan­nel that is also en­ga­ging and easy to con­sume.

In an in­ter­view with Na­tion­al Journ­al Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, U.S. Travel’s team dis­cussed their ap­proach for im­prov­ing news­let­ter en­gage­ment with video and shared les­sons for oth­er or­gan­iz­a­tions in­ter­ested in try­ing the same approach with their mem­bers.

How It Works

U.S. Travel consolidated its email com­mu­nic­a­tions to mem­bers in­to a near-weekly, three-minute video that cov­ers top le­gis­lat­ive activ­it­ies and big news mo­ments of the week. The use of video — brought to life with a com­pel­ling ex­ec­ut­ive voice and a struc­tured timeline and pro­cess — raises aware­ness for top is­sues im­pact­ing the in­dustry and ac­tions taken by or­gan­iz­a­tions on be­half of their mem­bers. Not only are the videos short­er and more en­ga­ging than a lengthy, writ­ten news­let­ter, but the U.S. Travel team has re­fined the pro­duc­tion pro­cess over time so that it is also now faster to pro­duce.

Sev­er­al de­cisions were crit­ic­al to U.S. Travel’s suc­cess with a video newsletter:

  1. Us­ing a com­pel­ling ex­ec­ut­ive spokes­per­son com­mit­ted to the video concept: An en­thu­si­ast­ic and know­ledge­able lead­er (or set of lead­ers) will­ing to be the face of the video helps en­sure top­ics are clearly rep­res­en­ted and relevant.
  2. Pro­du­cing only need-to-know in­form­a­tion: Committing to a short video length helps en­sure that only the most rel­ev­ant or in­ter­est­ing con­tent is shared.
  3. Craft­ing a routine pro­duc­tion pro­cess and timeline: Clear roles and an understanding of when key steps need to be com­pleted pro­mote clean exchanges between team mem­bers and min­im­al dis­rup­tion to oth­er work re­spons­ib­il­it­ies.

U.S. Travel’s Production Calendar 

U.S. Travel created a regimented production calendar for their video newsletter that includes when tasks should be completed and by whom.

Building Closer Connections with Members

As U.S. Travel has ob­served, a video news­let­ter brings mem­bers into closer con­tact with an or­gan­iz­a­tion work­ing on their be­half. It in­creases mem­ber en­gage­ment, im­proves mem­ber know­ledge of core in­dustry is­sues, and contributes to aware­ness of what an or­gan­iz­a­tion is do­ing in Wash­ing­ton. Also, mem­bers can now put names to faces with­in the or­gan­iz­a­tion, becoming more fa­mil­i­ar with the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s staff and the work they do on be­half of the mem­ber­ship.

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