How to keep business news newsy

Posted by Jackie Russell

News flash – most people will delete your newsletter email faster than a pesky mosquito can dodge your ninja-speed hand.

Therefore, before you cause clutter in anyone’s inbox it is essential you respectfully consider what recipients want from you.

Unless you have a product your customers are madly in love with – they will not appreciate one more email that is little more than junk mail.

Organisations must review how the newsletter reflects the company vision and mission statement, which is a great way to assess the relevance of any activity in your daily schedule.

The leadership team should also review what outcomes or KPIs they want to achieve from the newsletter. It should always build your reputation with your readers and could also include direct responses to a call to action, such as “Book your holiday now” or “Contact us now”.

And, as much as people love talking about the weather – try to avoid this as your opening for any newsletter.

Essential checklist for 99 per cent of newsletters

1. Write for the reader
All too often aspiring businesses are excited about their message and they overlook the importance of giving the reader what they want. It’s all about building a relationship and rapport with your audience.

Let’s say your target audience is people who like travelling in self-contained motorhomes because they can stay in remote places. Your newsletter must include information about amazing places they can visit in New Zealand, especially if they are secret spots that only the locals know about.

They want your lead story to create their dream.

Therefore, it may not be appropriate to focus on technical specifications of the on-board toilet as this could well be something that puts them right off hiring a motorhome.

2. Mix it up
One size will not fit all and your newsletter must have content that captures different subsets of your target audience.

Variety is challenging and the best way to stop you from losing momentum through the year is to plan the content.

Annual events and public holidays can provide inspiration for marketing and communication plans.

Chatterbox PR has a template here you can download and use to plan your business newsletter. 

Consider including: 

• A lead story that inspires the dream
• Industry expertise or information
• Special offers or added value for a limited time
• A competition with a prize that is valuable for your target audience
• Staff news that demonstrates you’re human
• Special events happening where your readers are located
• A story about the impact your business has on a not-for profit organisation – if you have such a relationship

3. Be creative with techie tools
Short films are the best way to capture your audience.
You only have about 10 seconds to convey your message, so you’ll have to think smart.

You can use a decent smartphone with a clean camera lens and have fun. Viewers are captivated with ordinary people telling great stories.
Plan what you want to say, film outside if possible and be enthusiastic.

Check for background activity and noise. You don’t want to be upstaged by something hilarious going on behind you – including your own reflection in a window.

4. Quality not quantity
The newsletter needs to be small snapshots of information with hyperlinks to your website if the readers want to know more.
You’ve got about 10 seconds to capture their attention so make every word count.

Also, don’t just send them something to stay in your customers’ faces. It is a costly use of your time and could motivate recipients to unsubscribe el pronto.

5. Track what works
The big media players use click bait to draw readers to their websites and this is not recommended for businesses. These are the sensationalist headlines that tempt readers to investigate further and then they find the story is a frustrating fizzer.

The beauty of sending digital emails is that you can see what your readers are or are not interested in.

Let’s consider those motorhome enthusiasts again.

If 100 readers click on a story about a freedom camping spot surrounded by native bush but 1000 readers click on the link for freedom camping in urban areas – you’ve learnt a little bit about their interests.

However, you can’t assume this will always be the case and then include the same type of information in every newsletter.

6. How often to send a newsletter?
If you are sending a digital newsletter using a system such as MailChimp, use the analytical tools to follow the opening rate. If this is declining, you have overdone the emails or they are not offering any value to readers.

Watch for unsubscribes, too because they can indicate bored, overwhelmed or exhausted recipients. Stay positive though, they may have unsubscribed because they’ve left town, or their circumstances have changed.

7. Style guidelines and housekeeping
Keeping your newsletter in a tidy and consistent format is what separates the pros from the novices.

If you are going to use American or British English – stick with one.

Be careful with capitals or upper case. Many writers use these willy-nilly but they should only be used for proper nouns.
Interestingly, people in professional jobs are most likely to be the biggest offenders of this grammar error, such as lawyers, doctors or accountants.

Beware of organisations’ websites, such as government ministries, universities or businesses as they are highly like to have an original approach to grammar and spelling.

It is useful to Google something if you are uncertain and Grammarly is a good online assistant.

Another set of eyes proof reading your work is recommended.

All communication tools must follow your organisation’s brand guidelines, including the correct use of the logo and colours. No weird stretching of logos or poor quality grainy images.

Have a checklist to ensure you’ve included all the basics such as your address, contact details, hours of operation, social media hyperlinks, website URL and organisation logo.

If your newsletter leaves you staring into the atmosphere and finding a big black hole – contact Chatterbox PR now and let’s talk turkey. 
We love inspired, creative and well-written content and would love to tell your story.