Sunday, July 02, 2006

Newsletter elements

When you read the newspaper, do you start on the front page and go page-by-page, section to section? If you're like most people, you don't. But, you probably do approach the newspaper the same way every day. You may start with the sports section, then scan the front page headlines, maybe reading one of the articles. At some point you look for your favourite columnist, the horoscopes, the editorials, or maybe the death notices.

My point is, there are likely things you routinely look for in the paper. And, at the risk of making you feel like Pavlov's dog -- there's a reason for this: newspapers put a lot of effort into packaging the information so that, day-after-day, readers can find the topics, items, writers, etc., they find interesting.

A good business newsletter should be constructed the same way, with features and items that readers look for in each issue.

So, when creating a newsletter, think about the types of information you'd like to regularly feature and come up with a name or heading under which to showcase the different types of information. By creating broad sections and features, you're adding structure for the reader and for the writers, while creating possible branding opportunities. An added bonus of having discrete sections is that it imposes discipline, making you think about the news and information you should be getting out there with every issue.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Let's say you plan to feature a comment or letter by a senior executive, information about new products the company sells, and information about what your employees are doing in the community. Given these topics, the newsletter sections might be called:

  • From the Corner Office -- for the commentary by the senior exec(s).
  • New and Nifty (or perhaps: Great Gadgets) -- for new product info.
  • Out and About: Our Employees Making a Difference in the Community -- for info on what employees are doing.

Loyal readers make loyal customers. A well thought-out, carefully crafted business newsletter that offers readers information and ideas is an invaluable communication tool for your business.


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