Creating an Effective Newsletter Article

You know a lot about your industry that others would find interesting. You also have your own experiences and stories that bring personality to your knowledge.  This is the foundation for creating a newsletter article.  

You may find it hard to start with a blank screen or piece paper.  That whiteness is intimidating and many people never get past it.  But writing an article is an inexpensive and great way to not only stay in contact with your clients, but also to create clients out of contacts.   

Coming Up With A Topic - A great place to start is to address some of those frequently asked questions.  When you talk about your industry or are at a sales meeting, what questions are you often asked?  What tips or advice can you share with people?  Create a case study of a business that was having an issue that you helped with.  

What information you provide will depend on what your industry is and what you want to accomplish. A car dealer might write about tips to buying a used car, a jeweler may tell people how to care for their fine jewelry, a mortgage broker might list 10 mistakes people make when shopping for a mortgage, or a marketing company may give you hints on writing a newsletter article.  Don’t worry about telling people stuff you think they already know. They may not, or maybe they could use a refresher.  How often have you heard that you should change your smoke detector batteries when Daylight Savings Time changes?  (which by the way is October 30)

Involve Your Readers - Have a way for readers to suggest a topic or ask a question.  This not only involves them, but also helps to give you material for future articles. 

Don’t Worry About Giving Too Much Away - Often when I suggest clients write articles for their website or newsletters, they worry about giving away too much information.  Sometimes you have to give people a "taste" of what you can offer them before they will buy.  Krispy Kreme has a big red light telling people that they have hot donuts ready to try. Jimmy John’s subs has a sign in their window that says "free smells".  In both cases, their sales techniques are unique and memorable... and they work.  Some companies, like insurance brokers, realtors, or consultants, don’t always have a product they can give away.  What they can do is educate people on what sort of coverage they should have, or what to look for when buying a house. Of course, don’t give away trade secrets... but you do want to offer enough information to be helpful, that will position you as an expert, and leave them wanting more.      

Don’t Write A Book - People are busy and don’t have time to sit and read a 2 page article on sharpening knives, no matter how interesting you make it. Keep it short and easy to remember, or break it into two articles.    

Be Yourself - Don’t write a technical manual.  Keep it simple, fun, and interesting.  Look back at articles you have enjoyed reading.  Why did you like them?  Pretend you are talking to someone on the phone or at a sales meeting.  How you would explain the topic to them?

September 1, 2005

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