Digital media is an essential part of most communications strategies. Whether you’re sending an email, publishing a web page, or drafting a PowerPoint presentation, you’ll want to keep in mind that best practices for designing materials and drafting content for these channels differ from those you would follow for flyers, posters and print materials. On this page, you’ll find templates for PowerPoints, emails and social media. The Website Design and Content page offers guidelines and resources for staff who are responsible for updating web content. As always, writing guidelines apply to text across these channels.
Are you planning to give a presentation? Two PowerPoint templates below are optimized for use on standard or wide screens. Inquire with your venue ahead of time as to which format you should use. Both templates already include essential CTSI funding text. The fonts included in this template are available by default in Microsoft programs. Within the template, you will find tips for using the template.
Once you’ve drafted content for your presentation, you may be able to reuse it on the web, in email newsletters, or other communications. We can also embed your presentation in a page on the CTSI website if it meets criteria.
Email is potentially the most effective channel for your communications. With so many listservs, newsletters and potential recipients within the university alone, it’s hard to know what format to use or where to send your email. Below, you’ll find an overview of various newsletters and listservs that CTSI programs and services have used successfully, along with some helpful templates you can use to avoid the top pitfall of email communications, sending a print flyer as a PDF attachment. If you have a listserv or newsletter to recommend that is not on this list, please contact CTSI Communications so we can add it. This section will focus on audiences internal to UF.
CTSI Quick Links
The CTSI has developed a weekly newsletter called “Quick Links” as a central resource to distribute news, events and funding opportunities. Nearly 900 recipients have opted in to the Quick Links subscriber list because they want to read updates about CTSI programs and services. They are engaged and interested in hearing about your program or event.
If you have an item you would like to include in the Quick Links newsletter, fill out the form here, or contact CTSI Communications directly. Please let us know at least a week in advance so we have time to include your item in our publication schedule. See an example of a typical Quick Links issue here. If you’d like to sign up for Quick Links, you may do so here. Please share the link with colleagues who might be interested.
CTSI Town Hall Quarterly
Another CTSI newsletter, Town Hall Quarterly, provides internal updates to program staff and faculty on a quarterly publication schedule. If you have any items of interest, or would like to be added to the distribution list, please contact CTSI Communications.
Beyond UF: The clinical and translational science community
The CTSI works closely with the national CTSA network, the NIH and NCATS staff to get your message out to the clinical and translational science community at the national level. We can help you navigate the various offices and distribution channels to get your message out. Contact CTSI Communications.
Other newsletters and listservs
Your audience might be smaller than Quick Links, or larger, if the subject is of sufficient interest to a broader audience. Other listservs and newsletters might be a good option. Rather than mass-emailing all the listservs and newsletters you can find, choose the ones that will reach your audience. All listservs have different procedures for submitting content for consideration; some are moderated heavily, some simply pass along most messages immediately. Newsletters generally have deadlines for submissions and are overseen by an editor who determines whether items submitted for consideration meet criteria are of interest to the publication’s audience. The list below represents only a small fraction of the active newsletter and listserv channels at UF.
- UF Health Communications maintains a master list of contact information for listservs targeting the six colleges in the academic health center, along with other communications outlets that may be of interest.
- Important changes to university policies and procedures can go through the UF Administrative Memo (formerly the DDD), if approved by a vice president.
- The Office of Research maintains a dynamic database and email update system for special announcements and funding opportunities.
- Looking to reach an audience of postdocs? They have their own weekly newsletter.
- Some CTSI programs and services run their own listservs and newsletters:
- The Office of Clinical Research publishes the Research Matters newsletter for an audience of teams conducting clinical research.
- The OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium produces Quick Hits twice a year for an audience of researchers and clinicians affiliated with OneFlorida
- HealthStreet publishes a monthly newsletter for community members and researchers.
- Publicizing an opportunity for study coordinators? CTSI Research Navigator Bob Kolb maintains a listserv for this audience.
Starting a new listserv or newsletter
First, ask yourself if the audience you are trying to reach already has an existing newsletter or listserv. Is there a department, staff member or program that might run such a list that you are not yet aware of? Check the list(s) above, and ask around. If you have identified a new audience not already served by an existing newsletter or listserv, does this audience need regular updates, or is this a one-time message? Is anyone else willing to assist you in moderating this listserv? If you set up a tool for sending mass emails, be prepared to maintain your list of subscriber addresses and avoid sending unnecessary messages.
- You can set up a new listerv through UF’s LISTSERV® software.
- Read through the site’s Notes page for tips on managing your list.
- Unless you’re hoping to prompt group discussion via email, you might want to disable the Reply-All feature: In “list management”, click “configure”, and under “distribution” tab, use the dropdown menu for “reply-to”. Select “sender”.
Email design and content
You’ve identified a target audience and an email channel to reach that audience. Refer to the Writing Content and Style page while drafting your message (the Event section is particularly helpful for a common CTSI email subject, seminars and events). Before you send an email, follow the checklist below:
- Are you sending the email to the correct target audience?
- What is the main action you want them to take? Make sure this is highlighted in the email.
- The most important piece of the email is often the most overlooked: The subject line. A specific, attention-grabbing subject line will increase the likelihood that your audience will open the email. Be sure to check spelling and accuracy of dates/times in the subject line (ie, are you re-sending a reminder that says “event tomorrow” when the event is actually “today”?). Have someone else proof your email with fresh eyes before sending.
- Is your email mobile-friendly? More than half of the CTSI’s email newsletters are opened on smartphones and mobile devices. Consistent with broader trends in email, this percentage is growing. Email yourself a draft to check.
- PDF attachments are not mobile friendly. Even on desktop, they put a barrier of an extra click between your message and the user, and it’s more difficult for a user to interact with a PDF — ie, click through to register for an event.
- Can you use the content (text and photos) in the body of the email?
- A simple text email is fine, and often more effective than a fancy design. Text is generally easy to access and mobile-friendly.
- If you still want something a little jazzier, the templates below are mobile-friendly and easy to use even if you have no experience with graphic design.
Email announcement templates
Through Canva, a free graphic-design tool website, CTSI Communications has provided templates for drafting header images to use in emails that you would draft and send through Outlook. You’ll need to create a Canva username and password to access the templates. If you use an email marketing platform such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or MailPoet, the CTSI Communications team can assist in designing templates for you to use.
The email announcement templates for Outlook consist of two parts.
First, you will find header image templates in Canva. Since Outlook does not automatically download images, we recommend you do not include essential information in the image. The header image is meant to include highlights of the message, with essential items repeated in text later in the email.
Second, you will use your desktop Outlook program create the email announcement using text and links just as you would any other email (see tips below for adding colors and background within Outlook if you’d like to add those elements). The actual content of the email will repeat the highlighted information in the header image. The main reason we urge you to do this is because Outlook does not automatically download images and we want to ensure the user gets all the information needed to attend the event or take an action from your email.
Some tips for optimizing your Outlook template:
- Use a universal font such as Arial for your emails.
- You can change the color of your text to match the template by going to “A” icon > click on “More Colors” > click on “Custom” and insert the RGB numbers.
- You can also change the background color of your emails by going into “Options” in the top menu and “Page Color”.
- We suggest using the “>” symbol when using calls to action such as “Register here >” or “Read more >”.
The screenshot below shows how the Canva header image looks at the top of an email drafted in Outlook.
Maintaining a social media channel requires planning and enough resources to devote to frequent updates (a few times a week, minimum). Launching a channel may not be worthwhile if you are trying to reach a small segment of an internal UF audience, such as specific research teams. A few CTSI programs maintain social-media accounts targeting broader public audiences:
- HealthStreet maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts
- UF Health Personalized Medicine Program has a Twitter account
- The Recruitment Center maintains the UF Studies Facebook page as a central resource for recruitment ads for research studies.
To reach an audience similar to the six college email listservs, you might send social media posts to managers of those accounts for consideration. Before you send a post to UF Health, please consult the CTSI Communications team.
- Social media consultation from UF Health Web Services
- UF Health social media guidelines
- UF Health social media best practices
- All UF social media accounts
- Canva and Adobe Spark for social media graphic templates
You have the option to promote on digital screens throughout the Health Science Center.
McKnight Brain Institute
- Contact: email@example.com
- Image dimensions: 8.5×11 inches
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Image dimensions: 1920×1080 pixels