Digital communications for community engagement

case study on engaging and growing an online COMMUNITY through Newsletter design, development, curation and distribution


As a result of the strategic approach in designing and developing the 12 newsletters, we saw an increase in audience engagement from the first newsletter to the latest. Some of the key metrics are listed below.  

Untitled design (5)
Untitled design (6)
Untitled design (7)


Project Phoenix’s team required strategic communication advice during the Strategy development phase to ensure the Project is understood and appreciated by the Australian native seed sector stakeholders. This would also lay the groundwork for future support and buy-in from the sector during the implementation phase of the strategy.

Project Phoenix Horizontal Logo
Project Phoenix logo developed by contentgroup

Effective and regular project communications are critical for the success of Project Phoenix. Communications were needed to help create stakeholder awareness and enlist the essential support required for the implementation of Project activities.

The planning phase for Project Phoenix had been complete, the main priority, was to deliver the 30 Project Outcomes and Reports and the Final Strategy Document (titled: A Strategy for the Australian Native Seed Sector). This had to be achieved while strategically engaging with the sector stakeholders to share findings and enable support for the intended long-term improvement of the Australian native seed sector.

In short, Project Phoenix’s team wanted to keep the industry stakeholders engaged with the Project activities regularly to maximise long-term effectiveness and implementation of the Final Strategy.

The client

Project Phoenix, Greening Australia


Australian Native Seed Sector, Agriculture

duration of the project

February 2021 – December 2021



Strategic Approach

The communications’ priorities were to enhance engagement, broaden awareness, and enlist support from key sector stakeholders for the Project activities and strategy.

contentgroup adopted a strategic and targeted approach following the insights from the 14 design workshops with the sector stakeholders. The preferred channel of communication, as indicated by the workshop participants, was regular communication through email newsletters.

contentgroup drafted a communication and engagement plan for the newsletters. This was step two of five in our evidence-based D2CCE framework. contentgroup would continue to develop fortnightly newsletters and monitor core performance indicators to pivot the approach (design, content, or distribution), as necessary based on feedback and insights from metrics.

contentgroup D2CCE framework snapshot
Snapshot of contentgroup's unique Direct-to-Citizen-Communication Engagement Framework

tactical steps

contentgroup developed a comprehensive and agile communication plan focused on stakeholder engagement.

The newsletter was designed on Mailchimp, built to inform, engage, and provoke interest with key stakeholders. contentgroup created three pieces of regular content (short-form video, and infographics based on sector and project data) and curated content contributed by the sector. This approach provided a broad and shared understanding of the project, its progression, and its ultimate impact.

Each newsletter is comprised of a video from the Project Lead, Samantha Craigie, and one member of the External Steering Committee. These easy consume short-form videos included updates from the Project and the future implications of the Strategy on different stakeholders of the seed supply chain. When necessary, interactive polls were also included in the newsletter to understand the audience expectations and inform Project decisions.

This approach was adapted to build lasting relationships with stakeholders and develop the momentum required to implement the Strategy for the transformation of the Australian native seed sector.

Project Phoenix Newsletter banner
Newsletter Banners designed with Project Phoenix Visual Identity
Project Phoenix Newsletter Infographic
Infographic with data from the Project Phoenix Activity reports, workshops and survey results
Video recording and editing for key Project Updates


The key deliverable was a fortnightly mobile-compatible HTML Email template circulated through MailChimp, which included

  • one video and infographic (per newsletter)
  • curated additional content from the sector
  • curated polls (as required)
  • A monthly metrics report with insights and recommendations to inform necessary improvements.

future implications

The successful delivery of an ongoing communication plan added greatly to the success of the project. The future implications of which are still to be realised as the stakeholders engaged in the project move to the next phase of implementation and monitoring.

"It has been a pleasure to work with contengroups's operational staff who have been highly engaged in the project and importantly, have been able to respond to changing needs throughout the life of the project. They have worked on very tight deadlines and always delivered quality results. The ability to report on project metrics has been a highlight, enhancing decision making and providing assurance on the effectiveness of the campaigns."
Samantha Craigie
Project Phoenix Manager, Greening Australia


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