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Tips on Writing an Effective Newsletter
by Brandon Sheley
31 Dec 2008 06:31

Tips on Writing an Effective Newsletter

I saw a request in the forums for a little tutorial on writing an effective newsletter, so I thought I would give it a shot.
Iíll spend a day or two writing and putting together the pieces our vBulletinSetup Newsletter. Articles are written and rewritten after thought of the whole layout may change with some event or special that we have to get out in the newsletter. I try to remove all spelling and grammatical errors and usually try to get a staff member or two to look over it before posting it live. Our newsletter page is a little out of alignment at the moment, but in the emails they look great. I guess Iíll just start listing off some tips and weíll see how this goes.
  • Always keep your audience in mind: For obvious reasons, all the content in the newsletter is directly related to vBulletin news, vBulletinSetup news. This can work with any niche, if your site is about ford mustangs, then post the latest news in regards to that car.
  • Email newsletters should be simple: If you are pushing out an email newsletter, you should try to keep it as simple as possible. Donít put many images in the email and use all text. Your content should speak for itself, when I do add images, I try to make them very small in compared to the text.
  • Take your time composing the newsletter: As I started above, it takes me a few days to actually put together the newsletter.
  • Only publish the best: This is where Iím lacking a bit. Iím lucky enough to have a wife in advertising and plenty of members that will look over our newsletter. This really should be the #1 goal in a newsletter.
  • The newsletter must be readable: Donít stuff 20 full stories in your newsletters, no one will read past the first sentence before deleting the email. I will post a snippet then link to the full story in the forums.
  • Choose the lead stories carefully: This is your ďfront pageĒ if you are thinking like itís a newspaper. You only want to post the stores that will be attractive to the largest number of people.
  • Build up the newsletter: In the beginning a newsletter will most likely be very simple, a few lead stories , some short news, and then a message from the admin. As your publication grows, you can add some featured stores, banners or columns to split the page up, rss feeds even for other news sites in regards to your niche.
  • Include the source: Our newsletter is full of links back to the stories in the forums.
  • Use catchy captains in the title: This is something I donít take advantage of, but I need to start. This is your first impression on the member reading your newsletter. If the title is boring, it will most likely be deleted.
  • Ask your readers what they think: Ask your readers what they think of your newsletter. They are the reason you post them arenít they? This is a great way to find bugs that you may not see.
  • Offer incentives for newsletter writers: I tossed this in here because this is something we have been doing on our blog. You may have noticed a few more authors other then myself lately. A few members have been helping out with the blog post. This would also work for newsletter, to get a collaborative process for a better product.
  • Donít sacrifice look for readability: You donít want so many banners, tables and columns on the newsletter that it makes it hard to read. Keep it simple.
  • Enjoy the praise: Once we started getting threads of users saying ďgreat newsletterĒ and ďthanks for sendingĒ I knew I was up to something good.
A well written newsletter can generate a great deal of traffic, always try to improve your issues and donít forget to ask for user feedback. Iím trying to think of a few more tips, Iím a bit stumped right now. This should be a good start.
If you have a news letter, Iíd love to see a link to it. Seeing whatís working for other people would really be appreciated.

Cheers
-Brandon


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