And… we’re back on agendas. Today we’ll tackle the bigger topic of incorporating larger-scale agendas. As we wrap up our series on agendas, let us start by remembering how we defined the term. From our first post on the subject, we laid out these parameters:
For the sake of clarity, let us define agenda as an underlying plan or goal that drives action. An agenda may be tangible or ideological in nature; what matters is that you recognize that most everyone has one, and it influences everything they do on both a conscious and a subconscious level.
So, what do I mean by global agenda? Is it that I’m suggesting you can use your business to be a force of good in the world? Yes, yes I am. Whatever is important to you, so long as it is appropriate for the ethos of your business, can be brought into the fold as an occasional focus to help shine a light on the world’s issues. Whether you focus on social justice, environmentalism, education or something else, the point is that you have a platform for communicating. That platform (aka your email newsletters) can be carefully leveraged to focus on the greater good. It can also be abused, but let’s pretend that you’re all going to stay on topic and be very well-behaved email marketers, ok?
Before You Begin: Is It Appropriate?
Before you let your thoughts get any further, let’s back up to this really basic and hugely important detail. Whatever agenda you might have in mind, you must first run it through all the following filters to ensure that it is appropriate to include in your content.
Filter 1: Is anybody going to be offended? If the answer is obviously yes, don’t say a word. Just like there are things you don’t discuss at the dinner table with your extended family, not every topic is appropriate to broach with your subscribers. It’s called manners and respecting that we all have the right to differing opinions. If no, then jump ahead! (There’s no guarantee you won’t offend people, just don’t do something obviously stupid like forward PETA missives to cattle farmers or take on highly controversial topics when you know your readership is likely divided on the issue.)
Filter 2: Is there an action attached to your issue? It’s great that you want to save the rainforest or support a fair trade cooperative or stop the use of poisonous chemicals in your industry. However, if you’re going to talk about these things, your money better be where your mouth is. Leading by example is the best way to make a difference. Furthermore, consider what the point is in sharing with your readership. Can they make a difference too? If no, figure out what action you want to prompt. If yes, proceed to the next filter.
Filter 3: Does it make sense to include in your newsletter? This is the hardest to answer. However, relevancy is pretty important considering that you’re looking to uphold the promise of sending the content the reader signed up for. If your agenda is industry related, then it’s relevant, hurrah! If you have a connection via local, business or community ties, that’s a good sign. If you have no relevant reason to bring up the topic, you’re on your own in deciding how important it is to you/the company to address the issue.
Taking Action: Find the Right Time and Space
When is is it the right time? There are plenty of ways to look at this. I’ll let you imagine your own examples for these…
It seems obvious that the best time would be a relevant time. Either you’ve taken action or some greater community or global event is trigger the need for action.
What if there is no relevant time because the action is a constant need in our world? Well, to avoid being annoying, how about your cleverly add something to your footer? A link, for example, or a button inviting others to join you in your cause.
Alternatively, if you partner with another organization in this cause, you can use this partnership to jointly bring attention to your cause. It’s a great opportunity to send out a joint newsletter with a clear call to action that won’t interfere with your regularly scheduled newsletter content.
A great option for those with something ongoing to say is the addition of a series that focuses on this agenda. Letting interested parties opt in gives you full permission to share to your heart’s content on the subject without the risk of alienating readers who don’t feel enthusiastic about your agenda.
Finally, if your email newsletter is the wrong place to do it, remember that social media is a whole world of sharing that’s available to you, and one where championing causes is a normal everyday activity. It might even be an activity that helps build a bond with subscribers who share these interests and agendas. Activating on and sharing these important issues gives customers and readers a bigger idea of who you are and helps to build relationships.