Even if you’ve already drafted your ultimate organizational newsletter blueprint, it’s a sound idea to generate email newsletter campaigns that break away from the mold by offering something different. Member-generated email marketing content is a great way to do that – and it’s something that can be done by a variety of businesses.

The type of organizations that are best-suited for member-generated email marketing content are non-profits, religious institutions, schools, and other types of collective groups. Yet, it can also work really well for companies that are open about their client pool and want to generate value out of it. In this case, your clients might have something of value to share. They might benefit from the trade of thoughts, ideas and experiences – and you’re the company to make that happen, which in turn makes you more valuable to them.

However you decide to approach it, member generated content is resource intensive. Sure, you’re not paying for creating content, but you will be investing time in pitching ideas to members, seeing if they’re interested, guiding their hand through the process until they’re comfortable doing it on their own, generating back up contributors because people will always back out, fail to deliver or not be repeat contributors, and editing. Expect lots of editing. That said, with all the drawbacks, the pros still outweigh the cons. Just keep the cons in mind when planning out your member generated content. Make this type of newsletter something you do quarterly and work out 3 months in advance to give yourself enough time to pull it together and to respect other people’s time too. Also, know that the first run will be very awkward – it’ll be about you learning best practices and how to run a smoother operation next time. Once you’re past all the hurdles, you shouldn’t have the same hiccups and drawbacks the next time around.

If you’re still interested, the next question is: what type of content would a member or participate generate? There are a few different ways to approach this too and the best way forward is to offer a variety of content types so your newsletter is diversified.

One section could host member announcements while another would feature members in the news. It’s also a wonderful idea to include member-written op-eds on top hitting issues that affect and matter to your organization. And you can also connect members to each other professionally by letting them know of their needs or businesses. And of course, there’s always the easy one that just about anyone can do: photo contributions.

What sections you decided to include, and how you plan out each section, needs to be something that’s very careful considered before you even approach a member, participant or client. You want to prime yourself for success by managing who will contribute and how. To do that, you have to really think about who you can reach out to based on their strengths and availability. For example, don’t encourage member photos from someone you know either (a) doesn’t have the opportunity to take great photos, and/or (b) doesn’t know how to take one. Likewise, don’t encourage op-eds from individuals who would fail at it or would make it to personal or require far too much hand-holding. Not factoring in personalities and strengths when approaching others for a member-generated newsletter will only work against you.