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Ten fun things to put in a newsletter

Denise CoxDenise Cox·
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No matter what product and/or service your company offers, your email newsletter can provide the information your readers want AND offer a little spice and fun that makes it a pleasure to read. If it’s a pleasure to read, they’ll probably open it again.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. A friendly voice – Create a tone for your newsletter a sort of a virtual warm yet business-like handshake. Even the stodgiest of stodgy corporate newsletters can open with a pleasant (and sincere) welcome, while still providing the necessary facts and figures.

2. Personal experience – You can make your newsletter come to life by giving the content a personal spin. For example, reflections by the CEO, or thought leader at the company, about a recent speaking engagement – or an event they attended that they want to share with readers. Also, case studies featuring people who have successfully used your products and services. Consider photographs chronicling events. These should feature fun and candid (but not unflattering or compromising) shots of customers and employees at a business event, or doing something for charity. You could even include people using your products and or services in a fun or serious context.

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3. Clarity and brevity – Show your respect to us, your time-starved readers, by sending concisely written information that has been checked for spelling and grammar. Get to the point quickly. Practice brevity at every turn.

4. Cartoons and puzzles – Cartoons are always popular and it’s no coincidence that the comic section of newspapers are highly read. If you can find cartoons that relate to your industry or business sector, and you get permission to use them – include them. For example, Mark Brownlow of Email-Marketing-Reports created cartoons about email marketing. Also, crossword and other types of puzzles are always popular. A crossword puzzle built around industry buzzwords could be cool. A small prize to the first correct submission could be offered. (see #6).

5. Humour – Good, funny, short, clean jokes make for a nice sprinkle of spice in a newsletter. You can invite readers to submit them. BUT::::: Warning! Warning! Humour can’t be of a sexual nature, sexist, racist or considered offensive in any way. That’s your huge challenge – but one worth meeting, as many people will forward a good joke (and it’ll be wrapped up in your newsletter).

6. Competitions – People do like to enter competitions – if they’re not too difficult, the company doesn’t require too much information, and the prize is attractive. It doesn’t have to be an expensive incentive either – something clever and fun. Perhaps something within your products and services range.

7. Inspiring and Motivational Quotes – I love inspirational quotes. And I’m not alone in this either. Quote websites are extremely popular – just Google and you’ll see what I mean. (Mark Twain is my personal favorite sound bite guy.) If you can find industry-specific quotes, or quotes from high-profile figures within your industry, so much the better. Here’s something for an internal newsletter:

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” Mahatma Gandhi

8. Interactivity – Giving people a chance to interact directly with what you’ve sent them is good. Blogs have given us the expectation of being able to make immediate posts.

9. Unexpected goodies – Something completely unexpected. Something silly, fun or a bit useful. Perhaps nothing to do with your products or services. A free memory stick, a downloadable calculator relevant to your industry, a print-off-and-use coupon for a local restaurant, a baseball cap, a pen (or pencils.. I love pencils!) or something for the key ring – such as a bottle opener, screwdriver or mini-flashlight.

10. Anything other than the written word – Give people a choice as to how they want to absorb your content such as by a podcast or video. Or offer the articles in a format they can take away – such as a print-and-go edition.


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