Break the clutter: Help Me Read Your Newletter

By Amy Mehrez

Six thousand seven hundred and sixty nine: That is the number of unread e-mails in my personal email inbox. Yes I know, sad right? Well, I’m a sucker for the subscribe button. When I check out a site for a brand I like, I just can’t help but click the flashy little thing. However, as you can see, I rarely get to open them. In this hectic busy life we are leading, I mostly check my email on my phone, and although I love all the brands/companies that I subscribe to, unless the email subject is attractive enough, I never check it out. I have some brands newsletters that I have never ever opened, not even to unsubscribe from. That is how important this little sentence in the email subject is important. We literally have like half a second to grab someone’s attention before the page gets scrolled up.

The only two organizations that I follow quite regularly are the UNHCR & Unicef, and a couple of days ago, I received the November issue of UNHCR, and the timing of the newsletter was spot on with the chaotic incidents that happened with the Paris & Lebanon attacks. Now allow me to walk you through why this newsletter was relevant enough for me to stop and click.

The Power of the Header:

“Don’t blame the refugees”

That is the first thing I saw when I was scrolling down on my phone, and immediately I felt like, spot on UNHCR. It grabbed my attention immediately and I wanted to read more to see how they are covering this story. And I definitely was not disappointed.

First sentence:

The newsletter started with a quotation form the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. It got to the point. There was no dancing around the subject and no long introduction to the story.



The Use of Media in Story Telling:

The newsletter consisted of 5 articles, and each article had a featured pictures. Although the leading sentences of some of the articles didn’t really tackle the story behind the piece, the pictures that were chosen spoke plenty.


UNHCR Newsletter

Article Excerpts:

Another common thing that I see in other newsletters is the use of the first sentence of the article as the introductory excerpt. UNHCR, however, chose a completely different approach, which makes the reading more exciting and less repetitive, which is crucial with the attention span we now have.

UNHCR Full Article

Last but definitely not least, while they are representing an amazing cause, throughout the whole newsletter, there only link one to donate that is located at the very end of the newsletter in a super small font. The newsletter is clearly to engage us as followers in the events that is going on around us and not to collect funds or ask for monetary contribution. Once we click on an article however, it takes us to their news section on the site where the call of action is quite clear at the very top of the page in a different color.



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