Ready To Create Your Company Newsletter?

Online newsletters (also called ezines) have become easier to create with the availability of templates and tools such as Constant Contact. All you have to do is add your text to the template and send it to your readers.
Though there is a lot of discussion about blogs vs. newsletters, you can have both. Usually with blogs, readers have to come to your site to read your content. You can have your blog delivered to readers via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, for instance. However, you’ll have to regularly update your blog, or you won’t build your readership.
Why have a newsletter?
Marketing – send out information about your company’s products and services
Promotion – promote your books or speaking engagements
Touch base – keep in touch with friends and family
Share information – send out informative articles and tips
How often should you send your newsletter?
It depends on your objective – and your readership. For example, a marketing newsletter may go out once a week, but a newsletter sent to the family may go out once a quarter. If you’re an author promoting a book, you might send out information on book signings and tours a few times a month. A company looking to use a newsletter to build relationships with clients may opt for once a month. Whatever the frequency, try to stick to a schedule so that your readers will look forward to receiving your newsletter on a regular basis.
Online newsletter articles should be of varying lengths — 250 words or less. Reading online is different than reading a hard copy. People tend to scan instead of reading every word. Use lots of white space and bulleted lists. Stay away from large blocks of text. Add “clip art” to create visual interest.
Marketing tools such as Constant Contact provide templates for newsletters and announcements. The formatting work is done for you; all you have to do is add the copy. Use MS Excel or a text file to import your list of readers, then schedule your newsletter to go out.
If it’s a company newsletter, you can add interviews of employees or clients. You can also write articles about topics that relate to your industry. If you have a website, having content will help your site rank higher with the search engines. You can repurpose the content from your newsletter by posting it on your site and submitting it to other publications.
Article Directories
If you don’t have time to write, consider using free content from an article directory. Be sure to include the author’s byline and their personal information. When using someone else’s work, the author retains the rights. Do not put your byline on their work unless you have a “work for hire” arrangement. That means that the author sells you the rights to their work.
Article directories are also a way for business owners to market their services. Having articles on the web helps build traffic for their sites. If you’re looking to market your products and services, consider posting your own content on a directory.
First of all, decide on a headline for your article. It should engage the reader right away and give them a taste of what they’ll be reading.
Here are some headline formats:
Ask a question: “Do you know how to write a headline?”
Give a command: “Write that article today”
Show how to: “How to write an article in 30 minutes”
Highlight a benefit: “Boost your business with a newsletter”
Use numbers: “Five quick article tips” (Odd numbers are supposed to have better results. Test it for yourself!)
When you create your own articles it’s a good idea to include helpful links for your readers to get more information. You can have the articles start in your newsletter, then have the reader click through to finish reading on your site.
Keep your article focused on one specific topic or premise. You’ll lose your readers if you ramble and try to cover too many points. Not sure how to come up with topics? Write down a few keywords and make a list of whatever comes to mind. Don’t be afraid to branch out to different ideas — each one can lead to another article.
You can also include short, paragraph-sized “blurbs” of information in addition to articles. The most important thing is to give your readers informative content.
Creating a newsletter is much easier than you may think. You have your pick of templates and marketing tools. Just add content and you’re on your way!
Copyright © 2008 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A. Bailey is a professional writer and owner of Writing Services Central, LLC. Her company provides communications coaching and editing services to small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to boost their marketing communications. She publishes a free monthly ezine called, “The Writing Resource.” Learn more now and sign up for your free communications toolkit at Writing Services

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