In simple terms, if you decide not to write a newsletter how will people know your opinions, thoughts and experiences? How will you establish yourself as the best person to go to in a field of knowledge or as a thought leader, if nobody knows what your views are? I am not referring to the short headline world of Twitter and Facebook but the world of crafted newsletters – more than a blog but not an eBook. Something that can be read in a few minutes over a coffee, and most importantly, is worth reading.
Which other options are available to share your thoughts with the world? Broadly speaking and in my humble opinion there are the following main options:
Twitter – 144 characters of information plus forwarding others’ information and links;
Facebook – longer thoughts or sharing of information, quite often personal in tone or essence. A great deal of business is passed through Facebook so ignore it at your cost;
Blogs – can be longer than a Facebook post through to a short article, generally opinion pieces either personal or business orientated, designed to stimulate thought and potential interaction;
Articles – 400-900 words that can be placed in a magazine, newspaper or an article website;
White Paper – peer reviewed and potentially academically referenced research and views on a subject. Generally not a quick read over a coffee, designed to share, teach and inform;
eBook – these can range nowadays from as little as 15 to several hundred pages covering all areas of life, business, health and wellbeing.
Of course I could include Pinterest and many others; this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.
So where does a newsletter fit into this plethora of choices? I believe the newsletter is a combination of a Blog and an Article, some thought pieces made relevant according to my experiences, knowledge and research. Personally I like a short summary that draws me in to decide whether I do or do not want to carry on reading, simple journalism 101.
How often should they go out is a debate that will run and run, we are all invaded by email on a daily basis and will delete or ignore 70%+ of the emails that come in. This makes it difficult to decide what the right frequency is for your readers and for you. Try to send out too often and you’ll potentially create a massive headache that you can’t stick to, or struggle to find the right quality information. Not frequently enough and yours might be forgotten – or maybe because it isn’t that often will mean it’s always read because of its quality and your respect of the preciousness of the readers’ time.
What format is a great question? Email is the easiest of course, using database management software for all your subcribers and unsubscribers. It is a legal requirement to give people an option to opt out and unsubscribe. How many physical newsletters do you receive nowadays through the post that you actually want to read and inform you of industry changes? I would guess not that many, most of mine come from professional service firms that are very impersonal and ‘boring’ if I’m totally honest. Creating a physical version involves a commitment to production, design, budget and database but can be extremely successful – you choose which one is best for you.
To conclude, if you are not doing a newsletter you should be, I have written this one for nearly 10 years now and have secured new business, repeat business and many connections and introductions as a result of writing it. No one will read everything you write, but when they have that need for your product or service they will remember you first because they have heard from you recently. One example is a Real Estate agent in Perth, Western Australia where I used to live a few years ago. They calculated that the average length of time someone lives in a house is 4-5 years and with that in mind they would send a quarterly (physical?) newsletter at a cost of $1.50 per time – an investment of $30 over 5 years in each client or prospective house buyer. Not many real estate agents did this. Who do you think was thought of first when people wanted to move?.
Newsletters keep you in the forefront of your clients’, prospects’ and advocates’ minds. Make them different, of value to the reader and unique to you so they are read and remembered. Who knows what they could uncover for you.