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Common problems newsletters run into and how to fix them.
By Claire Cunningham
Newsletters can be great communication tools, but they take work. Here’s a quick list of common problems newsletters run into 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. Keep the tone lively. Don’t know what readers want? Ask!
2. Audience too broad - a newsletter with a broad audience (customers, employees and distributors, for example) may meet no one’s needs very well or might meet one group’s needs while ignoring the others.
Cure: Different audiences = different information needs = different newsletters. Your newsletter will be better read if it provides information that’s relevant to the specific 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 an issue )
4. I have a friend…. - Everyone has a friend, relative, spouse, or whatever who knows something about marketing and/or communication. Doesn’t mean they know anything about newsletters. The results include poor writing, poor design, poor targeting, and poor performance.
Cure: Use people with newsletter experience.
5. Published once in a blue moon – Infrequent publication builds a reputation for poor follow-through. Probably not a good thing for your business.
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.
6. Delegatophobia – Fear of delegating has killed quite a few newsletters, and many business people suffer from this disease. If you’ve been accused of being too “controlling,” you’re probably infected.
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 resources, hire a project manager and writer. Then let them do their jobs.
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. Hire help if you need it.
Copyright 2005 Clairvoyant Communications, Inc.
About the author
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, Communiqué, at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)