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October 2012
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How to Write Newsletters with Valuable Information

In 1996, Bill Gate wrote an essay titled “Content is King.” In it he said: “If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.”

Yes, content is king, and valuable information is the power behind his (or her) throne. One of the best ways a business can become a king in their field is to offer valuable information through their newsletter.

The key is in its focus. First, take the focus off of your company, and put it on your reader. This means you need to get to know your audience. What jobs do they hold? What websites do they visit? Which section of the bookstore would they visit first? What do they do for entertainment? What do they eat? What music do they like? What makes them laugh? What makes them cry?

Then think of your newsletter as a hub of information written especially for this audience. What do they want to know? What would make them not only open your email, but anticipate the next one? It’s your job to deliver.

Here are five idea starters for providing valuable information:

1.    New scientific studies.

Visit websites like Eurekalert and PubMed for the latest research. Then relate this information to your audience.

2.    A common misconception.

People love to read information that is counterintuitive to what they assume to be true. Roll up your sleeves and bust some myths.

3.    Industry news.

Use Google Alerts to get the latest headlines from your field. Then share information as well as how it’s relevant to your reader.

4.    Q&As.

People love to learn about other people; interview a customer or an expert.

5.    Quick tips or lists.

Easy-to-digest information is pleasing to the eye. Consider tips that would make your reader’s life easier. Or create a fun Top-10 list. If it worked for David Letterman, it can work for you.

And don’t overlook your audience as a good source of ideas. One of the best ways to deliver the information your readers want is to ask them what they’d like to see.

The goal is to make your newsletter so full of valuable information that your subscribers share them with their friends and colleagues. Set out to do what Gates suggests. Reward your customers … and they will reward you.

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