What goes into a newsletter?

When you write about a specific subject in your newsletter, the best way is to break it down into its basic components, and explain it simply using everyday language. This exercise is more difficult than it sounds, because the idea is to make it not only interesting, but to appeal to as many readers as possible to gain their trust and form relationships with them. By breaking down a subject, it will then lend itself to a number of other subjects which will become fodder for future articles.

Do a postcard campaign to gain interest and increase your readership. This is cheaper than creating a large quantity of the first edition of your newsletter and potentially losing most of them to an uninterested audience. The postcard campaign would have to be run over a series, as in today’s society not everyone responds immediately to information, they may need to be coerced into your way of thinking, seduced into the benefits of your profession, and stimulated by fascinating facts that they may not have thought of before. Sometimes it can take several goes to gain a follower.

Please don’t bore your readers too much about your business (this may sound unkind, but people are notoriously self-centered, and only think in terms of what is in it for them). You could easily explain the various features of your company through the benefits it offers, by writing about successful case studies, funny stories with good endings, witty and entertaining information articles about certain subjects you want to get across, special offers that cannot be resisted, competitions to raise awareness, ‘try before you buy’ offers to get them across your threshold…

Selecting certain pages for particular subjects is a good idea, because if you are going to make your newsletter a regular feature, people will like to look at a particular page first (like as for the local newspaper the sports section, the horoscopes, the letters page, the classified ads, for example) before reading the remainder of the newsletter. Keeping a consistency will help your readers in gaining confidence, and they will then look forward to the next issue. It’s like a supermarket that always has its basics like milk and bread, but the way there will offer all sorts of more provocative products to entice their interest.

But it is all very well giving them all this wonderful information if you don’t get anything in return. The idea is to get more people to try what your organisation has to offer. Therefore you must provide special offers that have a time dependent call to action. These must be worth the reader’s while, maybe even a lost leader to get them to sample what you have to offer them. Usually if you do a really good job, it will sell itself and you will get more customers. I say time dependent because if you leave it open ended, the lack of urgency will disappear from their busy minds and the opportunity will be lost or forgotten.

Why not create a blog as an archive medium for all the really important or successful features and articles of your newsletter. Because it is a blog, it would be frequently visited by the ‘internet spiders’ compared to that of a website, which can wait weeks for a visitation. The more frequent the postings, the more often the spiders visit. These postings could have links to your website or any other internet based information, which again would raise awareness and click value of your website, because it is not only spiders who roam the web and click on links but people too.

Create a sign-up form on the homepage of your website to increase your newsletter membership. You could have past copies in pdf form on the newsletter page, which readers could download if they’ve lost their original copy, or interested future subscribers to see what it is like. Again the spiders trawl the pdfs, so more info is passed onto the internet, encouraging more visits to your website, blog and sign up forms, especially if you include web links in the newsletter.

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3 thoughts on “What goes into a newsletter?

  1. Hi Alice,
    I am new to all this. As of this moment my website is being created. I have never wrote a blog or a newsletter. On my website I will be selling reuseable shopping/grocery bags. Some other items that I might be introducing later on are eco friendly products (ie: beauty products, drinks, organic foods). I would appreciate any ideas you may have for me to put in my newsletter.

    Thank You!
    Loraine

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  2. When you write newsletters you need to make sure you aren’t trying to force selling tactics down your readers’ throats – it won’t be appreciated.

    Instead you need to provide subjects of interest, relevance, benefits, helpful advice, top tips, educational and entertaining – because you main aim is to try and get your readers to know more about you and trust you and your business. Only then will they go to your website and respond to a selling tactic you have there.

    The first thing you need to do is to build you list – using incentives and reassurance – and then ask you readers to pass on your newsletters to anybody who might be interested and want to sign up. It’s best to do this organically, using paid-for lists will be deemed spamming and you will increasingly get unsubscribes, even if your list is really up to date.

    Then you create a scheduled programme of what you are going to say to your readers, and decide how frequently you will publish your newsletter ( once a month is usually the norm). Don’t write anything to satisfy the schedule you’ve made, wait until something is truly worthwhile and valid – don’t publish stuff that is sub-standard or irrelevant.

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