Newsletter Content Ideas
Foreword By The Author
We all run out of ideas from time to time. Very often, all we need is a nudge in the right direction to get us back on track. If you need a few newsletter content ideas, or are just running out of steam, I hope this article helps by giving you a nudge.
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Where To Look For Ideas
By their nature, newsletters are usually tightly targeted towards a niche market or readership. Very often there is a pre-existing organization such as a club, company or Association to which all or most of the readers belong. The result is that a bond invariably exists between the individuals that make up the target readership; they share a mutual interest or recognize a ‘common good’. If there is not such a bond, then a newsletter is the perfect medium for cultivating one. Every newsletter publisher, therefore, should make their prime objective the cultivation and nurturing of such a bond. Therein lies the key to knowing where to look for newsletter content ideas. A regular journal or newsletter for such a group should consist of a balance of reader-oriented and interest or organization-related features. To achieve this you should have a very clear picture in your mind of who your readers are, what their likes and dislikes are, etc.
Important Questions On Newsletter Content Ideas
When looking for newsletter content ideas, you can use this information to answer two important questions:
1) What information do you want (or need) to impart?
2) What type of material does your reader find compelling?
Answering the first question helps ensure that you stick to the newsletter’s main focus. For a newsletter to be effective this should be every bit as reader-oriented as 2). For example, an employee newsletter’s main objective (from the employer’s perspective) might be to communicate company policy as it impacts employees. Unfortunately, the danger of it evolving into a list of rules is quite high unless the readership is taken sufficiently into account. A better way is to have such ‘rules’ prioritized, broken up into easily digested pieces and placed in readiness for inclusion under the heading ‘information we need to impart’. They can then be balanced with material that the reader is more likely to want to read. One effective way of balancing items in this category is to include an article interpreting the policy that gave rise to such rules. Or one that tells a story illustrating what can happen when such a rule is broken.
What Data Do You Want (Or Need) To Impart?
The following list proposes some items that you might want to consider. Some of these might be meaningless as far as your own newsletter content ideas are concerned but please bear in mind that they are only reminders. Ignore what is inappropriate and add your own suggestions.
- Coming events
- A calendar of regular events
- Project updates, particularly if they have been supported financially or otherwise by readers (include progress graphics like tote boards, charts etc)
- New and mooted projects, personnel involved, objectives, form of assistance sought etc
- Other news from or concerning the organization (assuming there is one)
- Contact information for the organization (as distinct from the newsletter masthead, where contact information regarding the publication appears)
- Update on aspects of the organization (such as news on finances etc)
- News about associated organizations and corporate contributors, sponsors etc
- Notes about sponsor benefits, special discounts to members of the organization (readers) etc
- Calls for volunteers
- Case studies and success stories about the organization and how it functions
What Type Of Content Will Your Readers Find Compelling?
The second question (what type of material readers finds compelling) isn’t quite so simple but offers more scope from the creativity point of view. Compelling reading is, very simply, anything that the average reader would not be able to pass up without, at least, taking a second look. For example, if your newsletter was aimed at the Elvis Presley Fan Club, then anything to do with the club (the organization), or Elvis, would obviously qualify but so would anything on Rock & Roll in general and probably anything to do with popular music of the 50s and 60s, teenagers of the same era, fashion of the time, etc.
Here, then, are a few newsletter content ideas you might want to consider for the second section.
- Stories about people who were helped by the organization (or the newsletter’s readership)
- Miscellaneous articles around the general theme of the group’s main interests
- Statistics of how many people amongst the readership volunteered, helped or contributed
- Lists of current volunteers etc regardless of the value of their contribution
- Profiles of individual volunteers or contributors
- Notice of challenges set by other volunteers or contributors
- Excerpts from articles (found in newspapers, magazines etc) about the organization or the group’s common interest, especially if quirky or amusing
- Features that focus on the operation, success and (particularly) personnel of departments within the organization
- Profiles of celebrities connected to, or who are known to have sympathetic views to, the readers’ common interests
- Stories about the early days of the common interest or organization
- Health news or ill-health prevention tips, safety tips etc
- Inspirational passages, quotations and extracts
- Calls for contributions to the newsletter from amongst the readership
Don’t forget to include in your newsletter content ideas fillers such as jokes or amusing anecdotes whenever they are appropriate. Also, if you can, and especially if it fits your newsletter’s theme, interactive items like quizzes and puzzles. ClipCopy Content Solutions is an excellent source for these types of items and some of the other things mentioned, as well as articles etc covering many subjects.
And a last word of advice: whenever you can, include plenty of faces. People have a never-ending fascination for seeing themselves in print and reading about other people they recognize.
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