Before you think about producing a newsletter (for external audiences), you need to determine what its purpose is and whether the effort will justify the reward.
Believe me, there is considerable effort in publishing a professional newsletter that is interesting, attractive, error-free, is actually read, and works on all levels.
While e-newsletters are more typical these days, there is still a place for hard copy newsletters as this PR blog explores.
As part of the planning process, some important questions that you need answers to are:
1. Do you have a database of customers, prospects and other stakeholders or can you create one?
2. Could you buy an opt-in mailing list to add to this list?
3. Do you have someone to manage its production?
4. Can you source enough new information – and photos – for every issue?
5. How often do you want it come out?
6. Have you got a budget for it?
7. Is the web infrastructure in place to allow for feedback?
8. What statistics are required to check its success and is management supporting it?
If all these answers were positive and the reward for a successful newsletter will be beneficial, then you are probably ready to make further investigations.
Other aspects to be part of the planning process include:
* A name of the newsletter.
* A template that complements corporate graphics.
* Someone to research and write articles and edit others.
* Is this person good at catchy subject lines and keyword placement for SEO.
* Sourcing a photo, graph or illustration to go with each story.
* Appointing someone responsible for its production and meeting deadlines.
* Who will do the graphic design/web uploads/hosting?
* What web analytics software will you use?
* Who will be responsible for list hygiene?
I realise there are a lot of questions to be answered, but producing a monthly newsletter is not easy unless you have a reasonable budget and staff with time on their hands. If this isn’t the case you could consider a bi-monthly or quarterly newsletter, which still requires staff time and a financial commitment.
Having hard copy newsletters are great for handing out to customers and prospects, suppliers, new staff, attendees at workshops or seminars, the media and any other stakeholders.
There is a lot more that has to be covered before a newsletter can get off the ground, but these are the basics that need to be addressed first.
Wondering what stories could be included in the newsletter? Here are some ideas:
* new products
* product enhancements/upgrades
* interesting end user applications
* special offers
* exhibitions & trade show participation
* new orders/contracts
* profiles of relevant people/companies
* export successes
* new applications
* survey results
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