Newsletters, we’ve all seen them. Our inboxes are filled daily with newsletters from just about anyone who claims to be someone.
Without doubt, a well written newsletter grabs attention and generates interest. We click on the links because we want to learn more. We have been captivated.
But what about those newsletters we delete without even opening. What are they doing wrong? And conversely what are the qualitative of a newsletter that makes us pay attention and gets us to act?
Newsletters we’d rather not see in our inbox again have the following characteristics:
- They are boring, boring, boring. Come on folks, a little bit of voice and a bit of humor can go a long way in keeping someone’s attention.
- They display on the screen as a text box with no visual breaks. Solid text is not easy on the eyes. It takes a lot of work to read through. Sometimes it takes so much work that we’d rather not spend the time doing it.
- They have vague titles leaving us with no clue as to what the article is about. Who’s got the time to plow through a pile of articles to find out if anything is in there that might help you?
- The formatting is horrendous with text being cut from the sides of the page.
- It regurgitates information that we can find elsewhere for free, this is especially egregious if we are paying the newsletter.
A well written newsletter on the other hand virtually sings to you. According to an article on Pagesmag.com effective newsletters display:
- Excellent use of full color – again, as raised in the point above, why be boring?
- Clever graphics - a graphic can get the point across faster than reading text. It also acts as a mini vacation for the reader allowing their eyes to rest.
- A great newsletter name – please note there is a difference between great and corny. “Paw-prints” would be a good name for a newsletter aimed at dog owners, “The Bitches Bible” would not.
Other winning characteristics include:
- Each article is written with a descriptive title and a link for more information.
- The articles are written for the net. That means shorter paragraphs. Usually 2 or 3 sentences are enough. Think smaller bites.
- There is a short summary after each article link, usually no more than a few sentences. We need to know what to expect. And just cutting and pasting the first paragraph of the article doesn’t count.
- A feature that is getting lots of points these days is to put the bulleted highlight article points at the beginning like the news networks do. That way the reader can quickly scan the article to get the major points.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly a newsletter must give value to the reader. It’s not just an update of what is going on, it should provide new, interesting, and compelling information in the hopes that you teach your reader something.
“The words how to are pure magic in advertising headlines, magazines articles and book titles. Some copy writers claim if you begin with the words how to, you can’t write a bad headline
They may be right.”