Newsletter critique: Call to action


What I love the most about newsletters is their purpose, to reach readers in their email box and entice them to continue their engagement with us. Each newsletter issue is a chance to do this.

So, let’s dig in.

The theme for this critique is call to action. That’s because that’s what a newsletter is, it’s a call to action. It started with the subject line. It should entice people to open up the email, therefore, it should appeal to a big chunk of people (sound familiar?). For Tuesday July 8, the subject line for the newsletter could be something like, “Everyone Loves a Parade” or “When 29th place feels like first” or “What does Arlington look like by firework light?” All of these tease to stories on the inside while enticing people to click on the email an open it.

A call to action doesn’t end with the subject line, it’s at the end of every preview paragraph. “Read more” or “See this” are calls to action for the reader, meaning you’re telling them what to do. Yes, you are telling the reader what to do. However, the problem with “see more” or “read more” is that the readers see that every day…from everyone else. At this point, they are glossing over it. So, you have to be clever with the call to actions. Instead of “see more parade photos here” try “click to see who had the best view of the parade.” Call to actions do two things.

  • They are specific
  • They tease

By saying “click” you’re giving the reader a direct order, an action that isn’t as passive as “see”. By saying “the best view of the parade”, you’re teasing to specific content on the site, something that they will look for as they click.

Now for content. I love Independence Day as much as the next person, but I don’t love it as much on July 8. So certainly, I don’t love twice on July 8. Both of the stories with the big pictures were from our Independence Day coverage. I know we had other things of interest on the site. What else was on there that people need and would like to read? That’s what I’m looking for as a newsletter reader, things that I may have missed.

Got it? Want more? Check out the full critique on the board in the newsroom. As always if you have questions my door is open.

Onward and upward!


This entry was posted in Training by Icess Fernandez Rojas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Icess Fernandez Rojas

Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope,, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.

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