One of the tasks, that may keep you from starting an online newsletter, is gathering materials and writing a regular article. Whether you plan to send your newsletter quarterly, monthly or weekly, there is that looming task of finding an article topic and writing about it.
The task will be easier if you keep in mind that your article does not have to be a long, complete research work. In fact, longer articles are not as likely to be read. If your article will be much longer than 750 words, you may be trying to cover too much material. Break it up into two articles, which will take care of your next newsletter too!
Other items for your newsletter, such as ads for your product, can suggest an article topic. Your welcome comments at the beginning of your newsletter could also lead to an article, or vice versa, your article might lead you to make some interesting comments. Questions or comments from customers are also good article topics.
You can set up your newsletter in many ways. To get ideas, go to other websites and sign up for their newsletters. Here are some examples of possible topic combinations for a newsletter to get your creative juices flowing!
FOR A WOOD INTERIOR DESIGN PRODUCT
Scenario: you create a product from trees that have been damaged or killed by disease, which creates very interesting wood shapes and colors. This keeps this wood from being burned in a slash pile or sent to a landfill.
Newsletter Theme: what is beetle killed wood?
Since an important part of your market lives in cities and areas where beetle kill (especially mountain pine beetle) isn’t a common sight, this could be a very interesting topic.
Welcome Comments: describe the visual devastation of the forest in many communities.
Newsletter Article: write about the life cycle of the mountain pine beetle and how it affects specific types of trees. Provide stats on the beetle kill areas and a photo of a mountainside with red trees.
Newsletter Ad: show photos of one or two of your products created specifically from a beetle-killed tree. Offer a special discount on these specific products from anyone who mentions the newsletter.
FOR A HOTEL (OR OTHER HOSPITALITY BUSINESS)
Scenario: you own a small hotel or resort.
Newsletter Theme: an upcoming event, such as a community event, like the International Choral Festival in Missoula, Montana or a natural event like a salmon run.
Newsletter Welcome: show pride in your community. Discuss how many people participated in the activity last year or some other statistics or anecdote about the event. Welcome your readers to attend and that you hope they will stop by and say hello, even if they aren’t staying at your hotel.
Newsletter Article: Write an article about the history of the event or the importance of the natural phenomenon. If your business has historical ties to the event, write about that. Or, if some expert in your community has already written an excellent article, ask them if you can send it out in your newsletter, and say something nice about that person in your comments. Every year, you can use a new angle for your article about that event.
Newsletter Ad: offer free cookies or an hour later checkout or something to anyone who registers by a certain time before the event, and who mentions the newsletter.
FOR AN ARTIST
Scenario: you are an artist or photographer, a highly competitive field, where exposure for each piece is important.
Newsletter Theme: feature a particular piece. If you have accumulated a lot of work, you have a lot of potential articles. You could think of each newsletter as a mini-show.
Newsletter Welcome: mention a show where this work is or was featured. If another organization is producing the show, say something nice about them. (Make sure you get “good guy” points by sending a copy of your newsletter to the principles in that organization.)
Newsletter Article: discuss a particular piece that is in the show. If there is a good story connected with the piece, tell it. Or, discuss a technique you use in that piece and what prompted you to use that technique. Or, you could write about the show or venue, if that will help your cause! For example, if you are donating a piece for charity, weave your piece into a story about the charitable event.
Newsletter Ad: offer reproductions of the piece to your readers. Make a signed copy of the newsletter part of the package.
If you have a weekly newsletter, you will have to come up with 52 topics. If you start a list of topics, and add to it every time you think of a new idea, you can pull those ideas out when your mind goes blank. I frequently send myself an email when an idea occurs to me. That way, my work isn’t interrupted, but I don’t lose the idea. I have found that the more newsletters and articles I write, the more ideas I get. Over time, you will find your newsletter taking its own style and content.
This article is based on a discussion topic from the Social Networking for Business course at Dickinson Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana.