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Top 7 Newsletter Ailments and How To Cure Them

By Claire Cunningham

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Newsletters can be great communication tools, but they take work. Here’s a quick list of common problems and how to fix them.

  1. The snooze-letter -- a newsletter so boring it puts readers to sleep.

    Cure: Find out what your readers want to know and write about it. Don’t know? Ask!

  2. Broad audience - a newsletter with a broad audience meets no one’s needs very well or meets one group’s needs to the exclusion of all others.

    Cure: Different audiences = different information needs = different newsletters. Your newsletter will be better read if it provides information that’s relevant to the audience.

  3. Too long - Most folks are strapped for time. They won’t tackle a long newsletter.

    Cure: Keep your newsletter short (1-2 pages.)

  4. I have a friend… Everyone has a friend, relative, spouse, you name it who knows something about marketing and/or communication. Doesn’t mean they know anything about newsletters. The result is poor writing, poor design, poor targeting, and the list goes on.

    Cure: Use people with newsletter experience.

  5. Delegatophobia – Fear of delegating has killed many a newsletter, and many entrepreneurs suffer from this disease. If you’ve been accused of being too “controlling,” you’re probably infected. For the sake of your business, it’s time to be healed.

    Cure: Be honest! Do you REALLY have time to write this newsletter? Do you have a writer on staff who can take on this project? If you don’t have the internal resource, hire a project manager and writer.

  6. Published once in a blue moon – Regular publication builds regular readership. Infrequent publication builds a reputation for poor follow-through.

    Cure: Identify the problem. Is it your procrastination? Hire a pro to drive the project. Is it a complicated design? Hire a designer to help you simplify. Keeping your newsletter short will make it easier to publish more frequently.

  7. The disappearing act – One issue followed by…nothing. Maybe that initial issue took more effort than expected. Maybe content wasn’t planned in advance. Whatever the reason, a disappearing act doesn’t say good things about your company.

    Cure: Make the newsletter a top priority. Plan ahead. Stick to your schedule.

Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire’s monthly newsletter, Communique, at Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail: )


Article Submitted On: September 14, 2004