Whether printed or electronic, newsletters are a great way to keep your colleagues or customers up-to-date on what’s happening at your company. Of course, content is king. But the logistics of setting up and running a newsletter are also key to success. Here are some golden rules.
Write a charter and share it
As with any communication deliverable, everyone involved in a newsletter should be aware of its goal, its audience and what kind of information is relevant. So write these things down and share it with all involved – and with any interviewees. And it never hurts to remind people by redistributing the charter periodically.
Choose a realistic frequency
How much news do you really have to share? Be honest. To have any kind of impact, a newsletter needs to come out reliably. Missing issues gives the impression that you don’t think the newsletter is important. And if you don’t, why should your readers?
Choose the right publication day…
Think about your audience’s work schedule and publish your newsletter to fit it. For example, many people have a full Inbox on a Monday morning, so if you send an email newsletter out then it will probably get lost in the noise.
… and stick to it
Most people are creatures of habit. So make your newsletter become a habit for them. Once you have decided on when and how often to publish, stick to it. If readers know that your newsletter will appear on a fixed day, they can build time into the schedule to look at it. If its appearance is random, it will get “left for later” – i.e. forgotten.
Start early and plan properly
As mentioned above, deadlines are sacred. The only way to meet them is with effective and sensible planning. Most company newsletters depend on people within the business for their stories – either to provide input or to be interviewed. Remember these are often busy people helping with the newsletter as an aside. Having a multi-issue story plan can help you quickly replace stories that get cancelled or postponed for reasons beyond your control.
Commit to it
A newsletter is a long time relationship. And like any relationship it requires commitment. Stopping a newsletter after a few issues looks bad and means your audience will be less likely to engage with your future communications. So before you start, make sure you have buy in throughout your organization and (unless your newsletter is tied to a specific event) commitment to publish for at least a couple of years.