Business

Newsletters: it’s all about the content

Today just about anyone can produce a newsletter. However, not everyone can do it well.

Publishing your own newsletter is a terrific way of connecting with customers, giving information, building credibility, enhancing your image and of course providing you with an advertising opportunity.

Along with readability, the most important aspect of any newsletter is content, content, content. This is where a great many newsletters fall down. You can however enhance the quality of your newsletter by following a few guidelines.

Whether printed or electronic, a newsletter has to first of all attract attention and secondly be of interest. These are the basic principles of any form of marketing and communication.

Over the years, editors and publishers have learned how important it is to have a real attention getting headline. The great newspaper wars were won or lost by the headlines they were able to generate on a daily basis. Try focusing on conveying a benefit in your headline. Remember that is what you are basically selling. Whatever your product or service it is the 'What’s in it for me?' that counts.

The same holds true with the newsletter you publish. If that headline on the front page or what shows up on a screen does not grab the reader’s attention, then all is lost for that newsletter.

It is not just the headline though. Your copy, the information that you want to convey, must be interesting and above all be relevant to the reader. Needless to say it should also be well written. Use simple language, avoid using jargon, and keep it short and concise.

One of the other things you must consider is frequency of publishing or distribution. If you are going to put out a weekly newsletter, you better have lots of good stories to tell, a wealth of information and lots of time to make it happen. If you are scrambling for content and generating weak information you will quickly lose your audience. Like any media you need to decide whether you can manage weekly, monthly or quarterly publication.

We are all inundated with messaging. Make sure, for example that if you are emailing your newsletter, the recipients have opted in to receive it. You need to build a database of customers and potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer. I get annoyed at the number of daily, unsolicited emails from companies that have no interest to my needs.

Graphics also play an important role in how people will respond to newsletters. Poor use of type, and amateurish looking photos or illustrations will have a huge impact on how people see you. This is no different than how you dress or present yourself in public. If you are not comfortable with design, hire someone who has the expertise to create an image which reflects who and what you are as a business.

If publishing a regular newsletter can be a key element in your marketing strategies, don’t take it lightly. Do some research. There is a wealth of information available on the Internet or just around the corner with a business that has the expertise to point you in the right direction.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached at joesmith@shaw.ca or visit his art website at www.joesmith.ca.

 

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