This page explains how community groups using The Urban Rat Project can create and manage Stories - messages specific to their local community that are put into our regular trap check reminders.
Stories must be published by 9am on Friday morning to be included in reminder emails that go out that Friday lunchtime.
Stories are content embeded in our reminder emails. Community groups ('Projects') create their own Stories in our portal, and we embed those Stories in our reminder emails. Since Urban Rat Project users can select a Project to be part of when they use our service, we can send the right Stories to the right users.
Reminder emails only include a short excerpt of the Story - but they're published in full on our ratproject.org website. Story authors get to chose whether the reminder email includes a link to the full story at ratproject.org, or any other website they choose.
Reminder emails only include one Story managed by each Project - the one selected as the 'Current story' for the user's Project.
Viewing your Stories
Log into the portal and look for the Stories section in the menu on the left. You'll see all the Stories belonging to Projects of which you are an administrator, as well as shared Stories provided by The Urban Rat Project.
Create a new Story by clicking Add New at the top of the page.
Each story has six parts to fill in.
- Featured Image - ensure you add a Featured Image, which will be used both in the full Story on ratproject.org, and in the reminder email.
- Content - the main body of the Story. You can use the toolbar above the Story content to add images and to format the Story.
- Excerpt - it's the excerpt which appears under the title in the trap check reminder emails, so it should be a summary of the content and entice the reader to click through to the full Story. The excerpt is limited to 255 characters long.
- Project - select the Project that the Story relates to.
- More information URL - this can be empty, or be a web address pointing to more information about the Story.
If you enter a URL (a web link) in the More information field, then the reminder email will include - below the excerpt - a link to the URL you've given. This could be somewhere on your own website or Facebook, for example. If you don't include a More information URL, the link will be back to the full Story, published at ratproject.org.
Tips for writing great Stories
Keep it short
There isn't much space in an email - keep the title down to 3-4 words and the excerpt to 150 characters if possible.
Choose a nice photo
Use an interesting and photo which will capture the reader's attention. Try unusual camera angles and subjects.
Call to action
Provide a 'call to action' - tell the reader directly what you want them to do, like sign up for a planting day or get their friends involved.
Selecting a Story
Once you've written or updated a Story, you need to select it as the Current story in the Project's settings. Only the Current story will be included in the reminder emails, and it will stay included until you select a different Current story.
As well as your own Stories, you can select from one of the shared Stories provided by The Urban Rat Project, on general conservation and trapping/baiting topics.
If you've written a Story which you think other Projects might want to use, or have improvements about an existing shared Story, please let us know using the contact form.