Seven Deadly Newsletter Sins
And How to Cure Them
by Claire Cunningham
Newsletters can be great communication tools, but they take work. Here’s a quick list of common problems newsletters run into and how to fix them.
1. The snooze-letter - a newsletter so boring it puts readers to sleep.
Cure: Find out what your readers want to know and write about it. Keep the tone lively. Don’t know what readers want? Ask!
2. Audience too broad - a newsletter with a broad audience (customers, employees and distributors, for example) may meet no one’s needs very well or might meet one group’s needs while ignoring the others.
Cure: Different audiences = different information needs = different newsletters. Your newsletter will be better read if it provides information that’s relevant to the specific audience.
3. Too long - Most folks are strapped for time. They won’t tackle a long newsletter.
Cure: Keep your newsletter short. (1-2 pages an issue )
4. I have a friend…. - Everyone has a friend, relative, spouse, or whatever who knows something about marketing and/or communication. Doesn’t mean they know anything about newsletters. The results include poor writing, poor design, poor targeting, and poor performance.
Cure: Use people with newsletter experience.
5. Published once in a blue moon – Infrequent publication builds a reputation for poor follow-through. Probably not a good thing for your business.
Cure: Identify the problem. Is it your procrastination? Hire a pro to drive the project. Is it a complicated design? Hire a designer to help you simplify. Keeping your newsletter short will make it easier to publish more frequently.
6. Delegatophobia – Fear of delegating has killed quite a few newsletters, and many business people suffer from this disease. If you’ve been accused of being too “controlling,” you’re probably infected.
Cure: Be honest! Do you REALLY have time to write this newsletter? Do you have a writer on staff who can take on this project? If you don’t have the internal resources, hire a project manager and writer. Then let them do their jobs.
7. The disappearing act – One issue followed by…nothing. Maybe that initial issue took more effort than expected. Maybe content wasn’t planned in advance. Whatever the reason, a disappearing act doesn’t say good things about your company.
Cure: Make the newsletter a top priority. Plan ahead. Stick to your schedule. Hire help if you need it.