How to Create a Newsletter

January 24, 2011

Whether you want to keep up with your online community, promote your sales or increase your brand awareness, newsletters are a great way of interacting with your demographic.  By ‘opting in’ to your mailing list they have already confirmed that they would like to know more, it is now your job to deliver an informative, quality document containing information that you yourself would want to know if you was one of your customers. 

I will go into further detail in upcoming blogs but for now, an overview:

  • Make it stand out: Make your email subject line memorable; this is the first thing your readers will see. Most people receive tons of emails everyday, so it is really hard to get their attention. Speak to their heart and curiosity as if you were their friend, not their supplier.
  • Make it readable: If you use HTML in your emails, use a smooth and big font type to make sure that your newsletter is clearly readable, especially for those who are not teenagers anymore.
  • Make it scannable: Nobody likes lengthy documents to read, especially where the text is all crowded together. Be sure to space the paragraphs and sections of your newsletter properly and also provide short indexes and visual “anchors” that readers can use to quickly skim through the text.
  • Make it intimate: Avoid the press-release-like writing style favoring instead a more confidential and direct tone to create a true “conversation” with your readers. Ask questions openly and try to understand what your audience really needs.
  • Make it relevant: Only send your newsletter when you have something to say. Do not send out newsletters that are just full of your latest offers and suggestions to buy. Give first something really useful and relevant to your subscribers and use the newsletter to build intimacy, confidence and trust instead of using it as an offer-firing-cannon that only broadcasts and never listens.
  • Make it light: Do not use videos, sounds, heavy images or attachments. If you want to provide such content, link back to it on your web site.
  • Privacy and Disclosure: Establish a clear and comprehensive privacy policy and then stick to it. Reassure your readers that their email addresses will not be given to third-parties without their consent and make sure you have a visible and easy to click “unsubscribe” button at the end of your newsletter. If your policy changes, do notify readers about that.
  • Don’t fancy up your newsletter with cool layouts and graphics: Those things, impactful-looking layouts and images are the trademarks of companies communicating via newsletter in the “old” way. In fact, if you pay attention, you will see that those very newsletters are the ones you read less and trash more. Why? Because they smell fake a mile away. The ones that work are the ones written as if a friend was writing to you, and as such these are normally written in plain text, with minimal formatting and no graphics at all. For now these are the traits of intimate, confidential and trustable. Use them.
In this PDF the Congressional Management Foundation shares some useful tips to create and manage an effective newsletter. Keep your newsletter scannable, have always something to say, get readers’ attention, etc. You will also learn how to build your own email newsletter distribution list.

by CMF Editors – Congressional Management Foundation

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