Is Your Newsletter a Snoozeletter?

If you’re publishing a company newsletter in 2015, consider yourself lucky. When I was responsible for the Symitar newsletter in the early 90s, it was an actual printed document. That meant, for one thing, that it was expensive – expensive to produce and expensive to distribute.

Cost isn’t the only thing that stunk about printing a newsletter. You had to worry about ridiculous details like ink color. The official Symitar color was Pantone 202, a burgundy. It was an okay color, but it was apparently a very difficult ink color to mix. More than once, I sent entire print runs back because my newsletter turned out a chocolaty brown instead of a rich burgundy.

And don’t even get me going on chokes and spreads and bleeds.

Today, thank the newsletter gods, we have PDFs, websites and email. With so much time and money saved not producing hard copy, you’d think companies would devote more resources to producing better newsletter content, right? Maybe that’s what you’d think, but my observation is that most company newsletters are still giant snoozeramas.

Don’t get me wrong. No company newsletter will ever win a Pulitzer Prize – nor should it aspire to. However, a company newsletter should be well-written, it should be informative, it should be relevant, and above all, it should support your company’s brand message.

To get the content right, though, you need to understand who your audience is. Here are my three simple rules for company newsletter audiences:

  1. Write it for your existing customers.

  2. Hope that your prospects will read it.

  3. Assume that your competitors will read it.

Let’s examine these more closely.

Writing for your existing customers means being humble. They’re already your customers, so there’s no need for a hard sell. Sure, you’re going to announce a new product now and then, but don’t copy and paste from your product brochure. That would just be lame.

If you’re not selling anything, what’s the point of having prospects read your newsletter? The truth is, you are selling something. You’re selling the experience of being your customer. You want your prospects to read your newsletter and think, yeah, that’s the kind of company I’d like to do business with.

Also, to this point, make sure to avoid any jargon that only your existing customers will understand. Put everything in terms that the uninitiated will easily comprehend.

Lastly, don’t tip your hand too far. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve read more than a few competitor newsletters over the course of my career. Most newsletters are benign, but every once in a while, somebody will let something slip that they might regret later. I have no qualms about capitalizing on someone else’s stupidity.

I’m sure I can write at least one or two more blogs about newsletter content, so I’ll let you go for now. In the meantime, if you want to pump up the news and tamp down the snooze in your corporate communications, drop me an email.

That is all.

#newsletters #contentmarketing

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© 2015 by John F. San Filippo

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