Newsletters need to be professional, informative and accurate. It’s important to plan ahead and this doesn’t just mean choosing content. Before you start editing copy, let’s take a few steps back. Answer these few critical questions before you jump into the actual newsletter elements.
1. Who is your audience? If you have an existing newsletter ask yourself who is reading it. Next think of others who may benefit from receiving it. Also, consider if format changes may help get those who receive it but don’t read it interested in opening it again.
2. What is the purpose of your newsletter? To inform readers of upcoming events, new products, organizational activities or solicit funds or volunteers? Or is your newsletter targeted to employees to inform them on policies, benefits or new procedures?
3. Have you reviewed other newsletters? Is there anything in there you would find interesting, informative or inspiring? Is it newsworthy or just a repeat of information the recipients already know?
4. Is the layout attractive and easy to navigate? Are the fonts easy to read, type size too big or too little? Are there photos and graphics mixed in with the text to add interest?
Now we get to the meat.
Once you have answered the above questions think about how the identified weaknesses can be corrected.
* INCLUDE THEM – get your members, employees or customers involved to inject new life and a fresh perspective. Have them write stories and share successes.
* ENGAGE THEM – stories told in the first person stand out from the dry delivery of composed articles with a reporters tone.
* KEEP ‘EM LAUGHING – A joke, cartoon or humorous story can be a light touch that keeps the reader interested. Be sure to keep it in good taste!
* IMPRESS THEM – Clear, legible fonts with a good mix of professional photos and illustrations in an easy-to-read format attracts more readers.
* ENTERTAIN THEM – Crosswords, games, trivia, give-a-ways and contests get readers involved. If results are posted on the company site you get the added benefit of increased web site traffic.
* HELP THEM – Include a separate section with dates and pertinent information on any events or meetings you want your readers to remember. Including this information within the articles isn’t enough – be sure to make it easy for readers to find and look up. An index is also helpful.
* MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE – With the green initiative and people being in front of their computers more often than not these days consider if an e-newsletter would increase readership with your target audience.
* SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE – If your industry is in the news and there have been articles written which your audience will find beneficial include them in your newsletter. Be sure to get permission for reprint and add the credit of the source of the story.
* GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT: Your readers are your best source for information about what is working or what needs improvement. Ask them for suggestions and ideas.
Good Luck! Contact us if you need help.