To some, the word “newsletter” conjures up images of a badly photocopied, multi-colored paper affair that is often seen at schools or community centers. These things have been around since the dawn of time and as long as there’s a bake sale or a fund raising bingo game, newsletters are not going anywhere. To others, the newsletter has morphed into a way to correspond with clients via email in an easy to read format that can be dangerously dry in tone. Surviving the social media blitz as well as the blogging craze, newsletters are kind of the cockroach of online and traditional marketing. Big companies and corporations (Barnes and Noble, Disney, Amazon to name a few) have all held onto the newsletter format in some shape or form.
I stumbled across this article about seven ways to maximize your newsletter’s content and it got me wondering: is the newsletter an aging dinosaur that should be put out to pasture or has it evolved past retro chic and become vital again? The easy answer is yes on both counts. Yes, it’s a little dated and with the vast resources provided by social media, blogging, and article marketing the newsletter hardly seems necessary anymore. And yes, if done right the newsletter can still be an useful and informative outlet to keep in touch with clients, employees, and even the media.
In addition to the really great ideas mentioned in the article, there are a few other hints that I think can help propel your newsletter into something worth reading and not just deleting.
1. Make sure above anything else that the newsletter is well written. Seriously, it doesn’t matter if you are only sending out a newsletter to parents to let them know that Thursday is fish stick day in the cafeteria, what matters is the quality of the writing. Riddled with typos or beyond boring text, your newsletter is destined for the recycling bin. If your company or organization doesn’t have a great writer on staff, seek outside help. After all, you want them to be read, and great copy will help with that.
2. Spend a little time on design. Especially if your newsletter is being distributed via email, take the extra moments to make it pop and look great. We all like shiny, pretty things and tend to give emails with a distinct layout a second look.
3. Make it gel with the rest of your brand but don’t beat a dead horse. Sure you want your newsletter to reflect your mission statement but change up the wording and tweak the message so that the readers who already follow you on Twitter and read your blog get something different. Having the newsletter devoted to the latest happenings or the month in review seems to be an excellent way to avoid repetition.
Your newsletter, like your articles, blogs, and social media marketing should truly reflect your business’ personality and mission. So have fun with it.