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Responding to the State of the Union

by Thea Schmid, on February 28, 2022


A president’s address is an integral public communication — it can set the policy trajectory for the year. Your office’s response to the State of the Union helps constituents understand your Member's positions on the issues discussed and open up a dialogue around policy points. Be sure to craft your newsletter in a clear, readable, and accessible manner, so wide swaths of your constituency understand how you plan to represent your district. Here are some things to keep in mind!

In the Inbox

Before we dive into the content of your message, let's consider how it lands in the inbox. What raises the likelihood of message openings? 

Campaign Monitor’s study revealed that the open rate for government emails comes in as one of the highest across industries at about 22.6%. By building on this interest in government communications, you can boost your open rate higher with a few tweaks. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Subject line — Make sure your subject line states the content of the email in a clear and engaging way. You can try highlighting a particular issue, if it concerns lots of constituents. Perhaps something like, "Congressman Joe Smith rebuts the President's take on [issue]." 
  • Mailing window — Email send times matter. Campaign Monitor reports that Wednesdays have the highest open rate for government mail, while other research supports that sending mail at peaks times like 10am and 1pm will bump opens. 

A Message That Informs

Once your constituents open your newsletter, you’ll need to capture their attention. Avoid common digital newsletter pitfalls like lengthy text blocks and confusing layouts. Instead, keep these key points in mind:

  • Mobile opens — They account for over 50% of all opens, and the rate soars higher among younger generations. Make sure your platform optimizes digital consumption.
  • Concise messages — A long-winded statement risks turning readers into skimmers.
  • Bulleted lists — If you’re addressing a complex range of issues, use bullets so the information is easier to digest. 
  • Balance empathy with conviction — Make your stances known while connecting with your constituents' concerns.
  • Continue the conversation — An embedded survey gives your constituents agency to respond to your statement. 

An Alternative: Telephone Town Halls 

Do some of your constituents prefer telephone communication?  Telephone town halls can humanize policy conversation through live discourse; they're an effective way to give constituents your take on a presidential address. If you’ve never held a Telephone Town Hall with us before, take a look at our comprehensive guide.

Ensure that your newsletter effectively informs your constituents by spending time on the details. Take a look at how Fireside makes the newsletter process easy with our state-of-the-art newsletter editor!