Whether you want to showcase your company, support marketing, inform stakeholders or announce a new product or service, a newsletter – be it digital or in print – is a great way to provide updates to your clients, prospects, employees and other audiences.
A newsletter is vibrant and current. It includes topics, photos and graphics to distinguish your brand and interest your readers. Articles can be short, descriptive briefs to in-depth features, and headlines alone often can tell a story.
Because a newsletter is varied and attractive, it can generate a positive image, distinguishing your company from the competition. For employees, a newsletter educates them about their own company and becomes an interactive communications tool.
Topics Run the Gamut, Appealing to a Variety of Stakeholders
Every business has news to share! Your newsletter can feature a mix of pieces on some of the following topics:
• New products or services
• Industry trends
• How-to and advice columns
• Company and industry events
• Positive company results (this makes everyone happy!)
• Employee updates, such as new hires and promotions
• Features on employees who are experts in their fields and those who have direct contact with your customers and prospects
• Community service
• Even highlighting challenges shows the integrity and honesty of a company and its resilience to address issues and progress.
If you have creative people on staff with design and writing experience, you can do-it-yourself, as long as team members have time and are committed. Newsletters need to be current, so plan timing accordingly – monthly, bi-monthly, weekly briefs or four-page quarterlies. A consultant may help if you decide to go in-house, to get started. Your in-house team will require at least one writer and designer as well as a production coordinator.
Beyond employees’ time to produce the newsletter, disseminating the finished work is paramount, to effectively reach your audience through online tools and/or print distribution channels.
Digital Tools Make Dissemination Easy
Programs like Constant Contact, MailChimp and others enable you to distribute digital newsletters with ease as well as maintain segmented target lists and evaluate the results, including the open rate. In addition, consider posting the newsletter to your website as it will keep your site dynamic.
Outsourcing Content and Design
If you outsource the process, find experts who will spend the time to learn about and understand your organization and the image/brand that needs to be communicated. Newsletter content is most interesting when it includes interviews of individuals and quotes that reflect the energy and inspiration of your team. The designer will develop the look and feel to align with the individual company brand and work with the writer to name the newsletter and prepare the masthead. Writing style and design are critical, as newsletters are complex and unique, unlike any other marketing or collateral project. Fees will vary, depending on length, size, and outside expenses.
The same newsletter created for online dissemination becomes a powerful print piece as well. Newsletters look great on a conference table, in the lobby, at the concierge desk or in the waiting area. They are also attention grabbers when they arrive in the mail.
Once You Start, You Can’t Stop
Once you publish your first newsletter, sometimes even before it’s distributed or printed, you will find yourself thinking about the next one! As you go through your workday, speaking with your staff, clients and prospects, you will find ideas and concepts – messages to convey and trends you observe. Be sure to save them and you are well on your way to the next edition!
Please reach out to me with any newsletter questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-796-7788.
NOTE: The original version of this piece appeared on the Caryl Communications blog in April 2014.