Some of these will be more unpopular than others
1) Remove all the images. Most browsers block these now. They also take up valuable space. Test it for yourself, your click rate will be higher once they’re removed.
2) Limited yourself to 3 – 5 stories. If you don’t have 3 really interesting things that have happened in the community that week, don’t send it (instead spend the time initiating interesting things in the community).
3) Make every story something members can click on in the community to participate. The goal of the newspaper is to provoke action. People should click to participate in something that's happening in the community.
4) Mention the names of members in every story. People will open it to see if they or people they know have been featured.
5) Only write about things that have happened in the community. Anything else is boring.
6) Keep it very short. If your community newsletter is longer than 250 words - that's too long.
7) Remove one word in every three. You can do this. Trust me.
8) Change the subject line every week. Don’t make it repetitive. Don’t train your audience to ignore it.
9) Send it from a named person. Don't send it from the community name. not the community name. We’re used to ignoring e-mails from organizations.
10) Benchmark the open rates (people interested enough to open the e-mail) and (click-through rates). Open rates tells you whether the ‘from’ and ‘subject line’ were good enough (and whether previous e-mails didn’t disappoint). Click-through rates tells you whether the stories were relevant enough. Tweak and test. Use A/B testing.
11) Encourage replies. At the end of the e-mail, encourage members to ‘reply’ and submit their favorite stories for next week’s edition.
Community newsletters is an area with a lot of scope for improvement.