In the nearly 10 years Rhudy & Co. has been in business, we’ve managed and produced dozens of print newsletters for a variety of clients. Along the way, we’ve learned some key ingredients that, when mixed properly, bring results.
- Know your business. What is your business about? What makes your business different? What do you want to say? Look at your mission statement, your key messages, your strategic goals and vision. These are the overall messages you want to convey, so convey them with your newsletter.
- Know your audience. Now that you know what you want to say, you need to figure out how to say it. Think like your audience. How would you want to hear these messages? Why would you want to hear them? What do you need to know that you don’t already?
- Know your material. Become an expert on what you are writing. The power of your content directly reflects the value you place in learning about your content. And then present the material in a variety of ways: news, feature, Q&A, graphically, first-person. Mix timely stories with evergreen articles.
- Know when to stop. Don’t overly communicate. Give your audience just the information it needs. Keep it concise and clear. Re-evaluate the length of your newsletter. Are you filling pages just to fill them? Or are you packing so much in that no one can digest that much in that little space?
- Know the right frequency. Just because you’ve always done a quarterly newsletter doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. Always be willing to readjust – just not too often that you are confusing your audience! It’s a monthly. No, wait; it’s a bi-monthly. You get the picture.
- Know your impact. Are you getting results from your printed newsletter? Is your audience suggesting content? Is your workplace becoming more connected and positive? Are you more engaged with your audience or clients? If so, then chances are your newsletter is effective. If not, then ask your newsletter audience for their opinion. Offer an incentive to help get their feedback.
- Connect the offline with the online. Space is tight. Look for opportunities to use drive newsletter readers to your Intranet or Internet site with bonus content: audio slideshows, photos, videos and other editorial goodies. Here's an example: consider using this teaser in print along with a story: “Find Out What Our CEO Really Thinks about Our Future ... Visit Us Online” and posting a short video online.
Rhudy & Co. has many former newspaper professionals on its team. Remember to engage, entertain, tease and inform your readers.We are delighted when clients want to continue communicating via print, especially in our digital age of countless emails, Tweets and updates.
Coming soon ... Part II: Best Practices in Newsletter Visuals. Part III: Best Practices in e-Newsletters.