Make the photo the story
You don’t have to know me for long to know that the crazy cat lady inside of me is just the tiniest nudge away from getting out. And, were it not for geography, “Sundays at the Shelter” would be that nudge.
“Sundays at the Shelter” is my favorite e-zine. (You can also follow the blog.) I forward it, archive it, respond to its every call to action, review old issues when I’m feeling low. I’ve gone so far as to fail to board with my zone just so I could open it the instant it arrives.
And it’s not just the cats that I love about this e-zine. The format rocks, too — and it’s a format you may be able to steal for your communications.
First, meet the author
Maggie Swanson is an artist so talented that Paper Source prints pieces right out of her sketchbook. You’ll usually find her in her studio, painting her in-demand children’s book and other illustrations. When she’s not working, she might be whipping up samosas on the fly or perfecting a risotto that requires no stirring.
And on Sundays, she heads to PAWS, the local shelter in Norwalk, Conn. There, she cleans the cages, pets the cats and shoots adorable photos. A couple of times a week, she posts one of these photos, along with an amusing headline and caption.
And that’s it. That’s the formula for “Sundays at the Shelter”: headline, photo, caption.
Are you writing about something visual? Could a headline, photo and caption say more about your subject than a million paragraphs?
Low-key calls to action
Once a year, Maggie asks readers to donate to the PAW’s “Bark in the Park” event. Last year, the event earned $44,000.
The shelter doesn’t track the number of cats adopted by people who subscribe to “Sundays at the Shelter” or cats that get adopted right after showing up in the e-zine. But who are we kidding? These cuties sell themselves.
In fact, if I didn’t live 1,250 miles away from Norwalk, Gigi would have a little sister named Sammi. And one named Orion. And Carina. And Hank and Hammie and Mickey and Pepper and Susie and Shadow and Izzy and Bootz and Muffin …