Newsletters

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NIHR newsletters

The information on this page relates to the six corporate NIHR bulletins.

There is a sign-up form on the NIHR website for all newsletters (except Be Part of Research, which has a separate sign up form).

Recent editions can be found in the NIHR shared MailChimp archive.

News and Research

  • Audience: General public, patients. Some researchers and healthcare professionals also sign up but they aren't the primary audience
  • Frequency: Monthly (last Thursday of the month)
  • Content examples: Content should be suitable for a public audience. eg:
    • research news
    • NIHR corporate news
    • events
    • blogs and podcasts
    • impact case studies
    • evidence alerts

Evidence

  • Audience: All evidence users, including public, patients/service users/carers, clinicians/practitioners, researchers, commissioners, policy makers and planners and managers of health, public health and social care services, organisations that represent and/or advocate for these types of people
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Content examples: 
    • evidence products (eg Evidence alerts)
    • case studies of where NIHR evidence has influenced or changed healthcare policy or practice

Funding alerts

  • Audience: Researchers, healthcare professionals, social care workforce
  • Frequency: weekly (Fridays)
  • Content examples: short summary of links to newly opened funding calls.

Funding and Support

  • Audience: Researchers, healthcare professionals, social care workforce
  • Frequency: monthly (first Thursday of the month)
  • Content examples: Content should focus on funding opportunitiesandotherareaswhereNIHR offers research or career support.  eg:
    • new funding calls
    • NIHR Academy awards and support
    • research Excellence Awards
    • tips and advice for obtaining funding
    • information about NIHR support through functions like CRN and RDS
    • learning resources

 Be Part of Research

  • Audience: Patients, carers, service users and members of the public who have an interest in being part of research
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Content examples: Content should focus on or have a relevance to, participation and  involvement in research. There should be a clear call to action and reason for them to read. eg:
    • case studies and person-centred stories;
    • opportunities to get involved in research - signposting to Be Part of Research and People in Research;
    • blogs, podcasts, videos and interesting articles on research,
    • learning resources, events and courses;
    • news and information relating to NIHR's participation and involvement agenda

Life Sciences Industry

  • Audience: Small / medium enterprises, life sciences industry
  • Frequency: every 2-3 months
  • Content examples: Content should focus on relevant funding and support for the life sciences sector. eg:
    • funding calls open to SMEs / industry
    • relevant news / events
    • case studies
    • new opportunities for support

Global Health

  • Audience: Global health research award holders, applicants, UK global stakeholders and those in lower / middle income countries, networks and influencers
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • Content examples:
    • news on NIHR Global Health initiative
    • resources
    • funding calls
    • partnership opportunities
    • significant research news / findings
    • publications
    • case studies
    • other content that fosters a sense of NIHR Global Health Research community

 

Newsletter editors and their responsibilities

Newsletter editors sit within the NIHR social media group. They have overall responsibility to ensure that the mailing lists for each newsletter are used appropriately and in accordance with the planned activity schedule. Editors are responsible for ensuring that content is pulled together through agreed existing mechanisms, notifying coordinating centre communications teams of content deadlines in advance of each issue, testing emails, seeking approvals, and ensuring communications go out on time.

Responsibilities

  • Update and follow publishing schedule, ensuring no clashes, bombardment, or inappropriate use of data.
  • Maintain the content exchange spreadsheet for planning the schedule and content for each newsletter. Ensure that the relevant tab/worksheet for each newsletter is populated and updated with: frequency of newsletter, content deadline and publication dates (for the next issue).
  • For each issue, notify coordinating centre (CC) communication colleagues of the content deadline and publication date by email, ideally 1-2 weeks before the content deadline. Any nominated CC communications leads will then be responsible for notifying their teams to invite content submissions through the content exchange.
  • Creating the newsletter based on the content exchange as well as content that has performed well on equivalent social media channels that month.
  • Liaise with colleagues on prioritising content, and any scheduling issues that may arise.
  • Ensure email communications go out to the correct list segment.
  • Ensure that RSS feeds (funding alerts) are properly set up and working.
  • Filing (ensure drafts are saved and images are tagged).
  • Ensure quality checks - proofreading, checking links and attention to detail.
  • Coordinate approval for any new content or announcements as required.
  • Ensure the email is on-brand and follows good practice.
  • Carry out A/B tests to optimise response.
  • Escalate any issues via the social media group and notify other editors, liaising as necessary if delays mean that two newsletters could potentially be sent at the same time.
  • Ensure that newsletters are promptly tweeted through appropriate NIHR Twitter channels.
  • One week after the mailing, capture metrics and top performing post on social media group's current metrics dashboard and top performing post sheet.
  • Ensure there are plenty of credits for next mailings, escalating to Social media group chair and CPB lead if necessary

Newsletter editors

NIHR News and Research

  • Social Media Delivery Group 1 has responsibility for this newsletter.
  • Nell Barrie is responsible from the social media group, working with Becky Rainford on day-to-day delivery.

NIHR Evidence

NIHR Funding and Support

  • Social Media Delivery Group 3 has responsibility for both the weekly and monthly newsletters.
  • Cilma Underwood is editor until new members join Group 3 from NETS.

Be Part of Research

NIHR Life Science Industry

NIHR Global Health

  • Social Media Delivery Group 4 has responsibility for this newsletter.
  • Karen Wyatt is responsible from the social media group, working with Laura Sore on day-to-day delivery.

 

Content and schedule

 

Content

  • The content exchange spreadsheet is used to gather content from different CCs and provides information on scheduling.
  • Content is mainly driven and sourced through existing processes and, with the exception of some life-science/industry content, is largely already in the public domain.
  • Editors and comms staff must use the content exchange to add pre-approved email-ready content. Content should be submitted at the earliest opportunity and prior to the content deadlines. Content submitted after the deadline will be included in that issue at the editor's discretion
  • Images can be imported and shared in the Mailchimp account. Images should be labelled to avoid duplication, overuse, and mitigate any legal implications.
  • There are specific standard signposting items in each newsletter that shouldn’t be removed except in special circumstances. Content for some of these sections might be auto-generated using Mailchimp html code.
  • Comms staff across the NIHR ensure that lines of communication are open both internally, and cross-NIHR, to maximise opportunities in a timely way and input to email communications.
  • Where there are conflicting priorities and content must be trimmed down, the editor must liaise with contributors, but work with relevant SMG delivery group colleagues to make an overall decision based on NIHR strategic priorities.

Language and acknowledgment nuances

  • Be mindful that some centres use different language. For example, CCF calls are called competitions. And not everyone will understand the word ‘outputs’ or ‘calls’.
  • It’s important that references to programmes are consistent and accurate, for example, EME and MRC acknowledgements.

Regularity and timing

  • Planned communications are added to the relevant activity tabs in the content exchange. For all newsletters, this should include: frequency, content deadline and publication date
  • Regular newsletters are staggered based on audience crossover, and any ad-hoc communications are scheduled in by the relevant editor.

Approvals 

  • Approvals for new content must be sought locally before adding to the content exchange or any communications from the Mailchimp system.
  • There are regular approvers assigned to each newsletter. The approvers will receive a test newsletter via the editor in advance of the issuing date (see content exchange for the schedule). Amends will be made based on feedback and comments received within a stipulated deadline.

Templates and forms 

 

Templates 

  • Pre-approved templates are available in Mailchimp - one for each newsletter, one for ad-hoc emails to each group, and one for a generic NIHR mailing. No other templates should be used to communicate to this list and its groups (with the exception of emails on behalf on the DHSC)
  • NIHR style and branding must be followed at all times.

The subscribe form

  • The subscribe form has been set up and agreed by the project team. It must not be changed without express permission from the Social Media Group or, if needed, the NIHR Comms Programme Board.
  • There is a separate subscribe form for the public newsletter, Be Part of Research.

Good practice and resources 

 

Evaluation

  • Newsletter editors are responsible for adding metrics for each issue of their newsletter into the NIHR metrics dashboard.
  • Metrics for all social media and newsletter channels are reviewed on a quarterly basis but the social media group.  Discussions at these quarterly meetings enable learnings to be shared across newsletter audiences and potential for optimisation.
  • Ad-hoc reports are available for all those with access to the shared NIHR Mailchimp account, at any time.

Using/sharing the lists for irregular purposes

  • Content should, where possible, be fed in via the regular scheduled newsletter route i.e. If there is a larger NIHR story that needs particular prevalence or timeliness, those ad hoc mailings should be agreed by the editor, who will be responsible for checking any impact on the group (i.e. appropriateness, bombardment, etc). 

List and bulletin promotion 

 

Promoting the sign-up form

  • The sign-up form is hosted on the NIHR website (linked from the homepage). This is the marketing link that should be used when promoting the form (unless the form for the public is more appropriate).
  • Newsletters can be forwarded by subscribers to spread the word. There will automatically be a subscribe option for the new reader.
  • ‘Mailchimp Subscribe’ can be used at events to collect subscribers. Their data is automatically pulled through to the Mailchimp list.

Promoting the newsletters once published

  • Twitter - editors should ensure that this happens post-issue
  • Forwarding/cascading to relevant groups
  • Previous analytics suggest there is no benefit to publishing bulletins on the NIHR website.

Account and data 

 

MailChimp Housekeeping

  • Images and filing - folders must be kept tidy and images named and/or labelled to aid in re-use.
  • Drafts - drafts must be clearly labelled and deleted if no longer needed.

GDPR and disclaimers

  • The data (personal info) within the Mailchimp account belongs to the DHSC.
  • Footer: the postal address is for NETSCC Southampton office as it’s the host account holder.

Mailchimp account security

  • User accounts for NIHR centres/editors have been set up with access to the account. The password should only be shared if absolutely necessary, for example to cover staff who are on leave. If centres/editors wish to share the password, the onus is on them to ensure that processes are understood, and staff have relevant expertise.
  • The overall account password is never shared outside of the host institution, and the password protected and regularly updated.