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:
- 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.
- Producing only need-to-know information: Committing to a short video length helps ensure that only the most relevant or interesting content is shared.
- 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
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.