Newsletter Content: The 5 Crucial Rules

Foreword By The Author

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Rule number one for just about every newsletter is that it ought to contain up-to-date material. In other words, it should show news, for that's what makes it a NEWSletter. The second and third rules are that every newsletter must be easy to read, and furthermore, comprise practical information of value to the reader. Number four: the most important information must be countered against different, probably less important information, so as to make the entire publication properly balanced. Fifth, it needs to contain a strong level of reader appeal. What is meant by this is that the features the newsletter contains should be of the type that the reader expects, or perhaps hopes, to get from it. Next, I'll deal with each of these points individually.
Mike Alexander
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Topicality

Every newsletter, just as each and every newspaper, should be completely topical and contain the very latest news to justify itself as a newsletter. The person in charge of supplying copy for a newsletter should therefore have a system to keep clippings and reminders that may be useful when arranging upcoming editions. A correctly kept and maintained portfolio of notes and reminders will assist in ensuring that he or she never runs out of ideas or topics to compose or comment on for forthcoming editions and that they are always timely.

Readability

At all times keep in mind the readers and write to them in a conversational style if you possibly can. This is often better than a more formal approach, particularly when you have a 'wide spectrum' readership. It's mostly a matter of getting to know your readers. Employing a spellchecker is also crucial if you happen to be a bad speller, as is using correct language rules to accurately express what you want to say. As well as sending out a feeling of professionalism and reliability, an easy-to-read newsletter has a greater chance of being read thoroughly, rather than being  just 'skimmed'.

Information

Useful information has to be top of the list of specifications for any newsletter. This can take the form of advice for new people, an historical background narrative about some convention or other, a 'How To' item like how to apply for this, or how to get that, and similar matters. The entire point of the publication, from the reader's standpoint, is to offer useful facts and information. If it does, it will be perceived as having a high intrinsic value.

Balancing

Trying to achieve equilibrium is not invariably easy, especially for beginners. To put it in simple terms, any heavy or grave content should be balanced (wherever possible) by light- hearted or trivial material. As far as the visual content of the newsletter is concerned, significant areas of wording ought to be balanced by the generous use of white space whenever possible, or by inserts such as 'pullquote' additions, subheadings and the like. Some people might feel the balancing undertaking a bit difficult initially but it usually improves with practice.

Reader Appeal

How do you make your newsletter engrossing? By including newsletter content that's irresistible to your reader; in other words, the things that they're all occupied with. You must understand your readers. The more you understand about your readers, the more relevant you can make the content and the more compelling your newsletter. Don't forget how compelling it is for folks to read about themselves, either! Even better is seeing a photograph of themselves or one that includes them or their party. What about a regular feature such as 'Volunteer (Worker, Committee Member, Customer and so on) of the Month' or randomly picking somebody in your club for a 'Focus on a Member' spot?

Summary

These five rules must be applied to every newsletter regardless of its readership. They should also be applied whether your newsletter is for a commercial concern or a non-profit organization. Look into your newsletter today ascertain if it complies. If you are new to newsletters you will discover a noticeable improvement in your reader's assessment of the superiority of the publication if you always utilize them. It means it will possess unmistakable reader appeal and as a result become a medium of communication with no match.

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