When you think of newsletters what comes to mind? Is it that annoying letter that comes in the mail just to irritate you, that school newsletter reminding you about parent teacher interviews or is it something that is informative and entertaining that you ACTUALLY enjoy to read? Newsletters, as drab as they may seem, are an exceedingly powerful tool to connect with your target audience, stakeholders and broader community – if done well.
By creating a punchy, clear, informative and aesthetically attractive newsletter, organisations can build brand awareness, increase visibility, engage with, and more importantly, maintain their audience. The trick is to find the balance.
Through a newsletter, you can literally give your organisation a voice. Newsletters provide a platform to speak to, and almost converse with, an audience you might otherwise not meet in person, for example, the CEO can have a feature in which they introduce themselves and acknowledge the hard work of staff and the importance of the supporting community, etc. Sharing tips, reviews, announcements, profiles and feature articles broadens and personalises the audience’s experience of the company.
When it comes to establishing and sustaining a rapport with your target audience, distributing newsletters at regular intervals and ensuring an overall style is retained in text and imagery is a great way to create trust with your clients. Consistency says reliability and trustworthiness.
Though Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms are talk of the town, you must remember who you are trying to engage and what is their preferred communication channel. For the elderly, Twitter might not be the best way to connect with your organisation. The real advantage of newsletter writing is that the content (articles and imagery) you create can be easily re-purposed for social media channels and websites. An investment that keeps giving!
If you have been inspired to create a newsletter, follow our Top Five Tips for crafting a quality newsletter:
1) Create a catchy title.
Experiment with titles that employ basic persuasive English techniques such as alliteration, puns, homonyms, metaphors and wordplay. Also make an effort to inject humour where you can because you’ll find it a fail-proof way to attract attention.
2) Fine tune for your target your audience.
Though this concept was drilled to all of us during English class, it is an easy one to forget. Absorb and embrace the question ‘who is your audience?’ When contemplating the answer, it is important to avoid taking for granted the tone of your articles. It is also important to keep the tone relatively consistent: it cannot swing from professional and formal to colloquial, from article to article. Also, make sure that you don’t use vocabulary that is either too complex or too condescendingly simple for your audience.
It is really important to set up a comprehensive layout. Don’t overkill the written content, you don’t want the newsletter to look like an essay because, believe it or not, most people don’t like to read essays! Feature high definition imagery with lots of colour and vibrancy. Never underestimate how attractive colour is to the eye!
4) Us and them.
Most of the time we are trying to make a connection with our audience. Use language that is embracing. ‘We’, ‘us’ but not ‘them’ and ‘their’.
Research is paramount to effective communication. Practice your interviewing techniques. Even the most boring person has something worth saying, they may not have achieved a lot but they will have an experience and an idea worth sharing. The web is your friend but never forget to check your sources.
6) Tell a story.
Get out the newspaper and notice how good journalists open an article with a metaphor, analogy or powerful statement. You are hooked, and even though the crux of the piece is buried paragraphs down, you will read on. Most of the time the body content is sandwiched between this opening attention grabber and a final refrain which references it. Clever, and not too hard to achieve.
A great newsletter writer can make the most boring of topics readable. Just ask the OH&S Manager!