At some point in time every organization, community or company that I've worked for has decided they needed a monthly newsletter. While they've all started out with lofty goals, they often fall short for a variety of reasons.
Here are some tips to make sure your next newsletter actually gets read:
- Keep it short - no one has time to read epic newsletters any more. In the age of 140 character tweets and text messages, very few people have time to sit through pages of boring community updates or a list of awards your company won. Break up your text into smaller paragraphs, use bullets, throw in call out boxes. Keeping your newsletter short, well-designed and easy to scan ensures that people will actually read it.
- Keep it focused - stay away from boilerplate content that you might be tempted to copy and paste from somewhere else. People are already inundated with hundreds of soup recipes and ideas for recycling. Make it relevant and community-based by featuring the name and photo of the person in your association that contributed that recipe and let them tell a story about why it's their favorite one. Feature local stores or farmer's markets that are running specials or offering coupons. If your newsletter is an online one that goes out to thousands of people around the world, then focus it on the specific niche that directly relates to your subscribers' interests ("top ten places to find free graphics for newsletters" for example)
- Keep it useful - strike a balance between 'generic news' and 'news that people can use'. Some newsletters try to fill up space by including 'fun facts' or 'jokes'. Unless those fun facts relate directly to the results of a poll your subscribers took or a genuinely funny incident that happened in your community, no one wants to feel like they're reading 'fluff.' If your'e going to put out a newsletter, you might as well pack it with useful information. Here's a question to think about, if you're not quite sure what to put in there, then maybe you don't really need to send one out that often?
So the next time you're trying to come up with content for your newsletter, think about your audience, think about what they'd like to read about and think of ways that you can help them. Keeping these tips in mind, will create a newsletter your members will look forward to receiving month after month.