Planning A Successful Newsletter Program
Most companies have started a newsletter at one time or another. Some are very successful and continue for many years. Others last for less than a year. The first issue looks great and everyone wants more. Salespeople love newsletters as a leave-behind piece with something new about the company.
But after two or three issues, it seems to take too much effort to get the newsletter published and the program fizzles. Why is that? It's a lot like that new pop band with a fantastic first album. The first issue or two of a newsletter uses the best story ideas - ones that people in your company have already spent some time thinking about - and after that it takes more work to develop new story ideas. Since most employees do not have journalism backgrounds, developing new stories is not their core strength.
Successful company newsletters enhance the relationship between the company and its readers. They are published on schedule and compliment the marketing style of the company. To make each newsletter as powerful and interesting as the first, consider the following factors:
- Audience: Customers, shareholders or employees are interested in different aspects of your company. The stories you choose should address the interests of who you plan to send the newsletter to.
- Content plan: Categorizing story content helps to cover different areas of interest and maintains some consistency from issue to issue.
- Schedule: Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or once a year are all normal choices for publishing newsletters. But once you announce to your subscribers that they will receive a "monthly" newsletter, they will be anticipating its arrival. For most companies a quarterly schedule is appropriate because it maintains frequent contact with your subscriber and allows enough time for new developments to occur that provide new stories.
- Delivery method(s): Traditional print newsletters, email newsletters, blogs or social media deployment are good ways to send newsletter messages. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Consider which is the way people in your audience would prefer to receive your newsletter.
- Subscriber database: We've come a long way from index cards, but it still takes some effort to maintain data hygiene in a subscriber list. Addresses, email accounts and Twitter or other mobile addresses all change frequently and without much thought from their owner in notifying companies of the change.
When planning your company newsletter, the most important aspect is that the readers find the information it provides useful and interesting. When they do, your newsletter program will serve its purpose.