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Do’s and Don’ts for Making Your Brand Newsletter Shine
For many years, newsletters have been the bread and butter of public relations – an easy way to communicate with both internal and external audiences. By following a few guidelines, brands can harness the power of newsletters to help tell their stories, increase stakeholder awareness and encourage participation in planned events or other offerings.
Do: Start with a plan and realistic schedule.
As with any communication, when you start (or reimagine) a newsletter for your brand, you should establish clear goals and audiences for the publication. Consider which outcomes you want – increasing participation in events, raising awareness or gathering more donations or sales, for example – and then set a schedule and an outline of content. Be realistic about your internal resources and how long it will take to create the newsletter content before you set a schedule.
Don’t: Arbitrarily skip months or weeks.
It can be tempting to do an “occasional” newsletter or to skip a scheduled newsletter edition because your staff is overwhelmed or content is lacking. One of the successes of newsletters is their regularity. If you provide strong content, your audience comes to expect it and will be disappointed in your brand if you don’t deliver. Consider planning for less frequent newsletters with a lot of content or more frequent ones with fewer features. This will help you manage resources and provide a quality newsletter to your stakeholders.
Do: Multipurpose content.
Use your newsletter to reinforce messages and information from things you have already written, like posts on social media or letters sent to stakeholders or customers. Repurposing this content for your newsletter will save you time and energy.
Don’t: Include long articles.
Regardless of if you’re writing for a printed publication or an email newsletter, avoid articles that are lengthy. People have grown accustomed to shorter content. To increase readership, consider breaking longer articles into distinct pieces with their own headlines. If you’re doing an email newsletter, consider writing short article descriptions and then linking to longer pieces online, allowing users to determine if they want to learn more about a specific topic.
Do: Tailor your content to your audience.
When repurposing content from another medium for your newsletter, don’t just copy and paste text. Take time to rewrite it to match the audience of your newsletter, removing unnecessary information and references they might not understand and adding appropriate opening and closing lines. Dedicating a few minutes to polishing your content before you send your newsletter will ensure the repurposed content makes sense for readers of your newsletter.
Do: Establish a consistent voice and style for the publication.
As part of your planning, think about the kind of voice you want for your newsletter. Do you want to speak in the first person? How formal should your writing be? Adopting a clear voice and a set of style rules for your newsletter will ensure consistency across articles and editions, which makes your brand look professional and organized.
Do: Include images and graphics.
Use well-placed images, illustrations or charts to help tell your story, attract readers or explain concepts. A reader’s eye is naturally drawn to pictures and a newsletter gives your brand a place to share photos from events or other activities.
Don’t: Use all Caps.
All caps can seem like the solution to drawing attention to your content, but many people consider it the typographical version of shouting. Instead of using all caps define ways to emphasize important information like bolded words, italics or using a different text color.
Do: Encourage feedback and two-way communication.
Include a way for people who read your newsletter to get in touch with you, whether it is an email address, a contact form or a call to action. Feedback you receive from people who read your newsletter is important and useful because it can help you improve how you communicate with stakeholders.
Don’t: Be afraid to change.
The most dangerous words for any brand are “But we’ve always done it this way.” Don’t spend your time doing something because it’s “tradition” if it doesn’t help your brand meet the goals it has set.