Treat Your Readers to some Content
by Duncan Johnson
It has probably happened to you before. You signed up for a newsletter, thinking it would contain plenty of valuable information about whatever interests you, but it turned out to be nothing but worthless advertisements similar to this one: “If You Send ME a MERE $999.95, I will Send YOU My Brilliant E-book entitled ‘The Various Aromas Encountered In Livestock Farms’. At This LOW price, You Can Obtain this Excellent Book that will Send Your SALES Skyrocketing! And I’m Giving You a .0005% Discount Plus a Scratch-‘n’-Sniff Sticker Just For Being on This Newsletter!” You could have been doing something far more profitable in the time it took to subscribe, decide you hated it, and unsubscribe.
Many articles have been written about what a great promotional tool a newsletter is; because of this emphasis, some people seem to believe that they merely have to create a newsletter, send sales letters to the list once a week, and watch their bank account fill up. That belief is quite false. In order for your newsletter to be an effective marketing tool, you must use a natural writing style and provide quality content.
Your writing style is extremely important. How you write content for your newsletter reflects your concerns, personality, and trustworthiness. If your writing style scares the reader in any way, it is unlikely they will ever buy from you or even remain subscribed to your newsletter. Also, the very type of content you include in your newsletter can discourage or encourage your readers’ trust and enthusiasm.
Newsletter writing dos and don’ts:
DO NOT SHOUT. Shouting is when you capitalize every letter in a word or sentence. Many marketers believe that shouting is an effective means to emphasize important words; and when used with discretion, that may be true. However, it should not be used often, if at all. It tends to imply a pushy, deceptive personality to the reader.
DO use the underscore [ _ ] and asterisk [ * ]. Enclose your important words with one of these characters, and you will successfully make your point. The underscore is commonly used to replace underlining, and the asterisk to replace bold text. By controlling your writing and sales pitch, you will create a greater sense of trust among your readers.
DO NOT Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Word In The Sentence. This also develops distrust; it is essentially identical to shouting in the image it conveys.
DO use good, old-fashioned English grammar. It worked way back when they wrote on paper, so it probably still works today. By using normal capitalization, you avoid creating the image that you’re a greedy weirdo with sweat and drool all over your necktie; and you show that you are a normal human who can be trusted to deliver as expected.
DO NOT only talk about your wonderful product. When a reader subscribes to your newsletter, they usually expect you to provide useful and interesting content in each issue. You may disappoint your reader if the entire newsletter is about new products, old products, cheap products, expensive products, useless products, useful products, etc. They want information, not a half-hour commercial.
DO provide useful content. Quality content is anything that helps your readers in their daily lives, enriches their life or productivity in some way, or merely interests them. Articles, interviews, facts, and problem solutions are just a few ideas for quality content. Quality content is essential because if your newsletter is without it, readers will unsubscribe.
DO NOT exaggerate your product’s virtues. Deception equals negative reception. In other words, people don’t like it when somebody lies to them. People will buy your product and discover it isn’t nearly as good as you say it is. When they feel you’ve shafted them, they’ll tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends, and on and on and on. As you can see, word-of-mouth advertising isn’t _always_ good.
DO simply describe your product to your readers. You may have been thinking that it was wrong to even mention your products in your newsletter, and that isn’t so. You should describe your products, promote them, and inform your readers of them. Just be sure to do it using proper English and offer some useful, quality content along the way.
So, you’ve seen the dos and don’ts of writing for your newsletter. Hopefully, it’s obvious to you that the style of writing you use and the type of content you include can have a major effect on your readers’ response to your efforts. Therefore, your newsletter will cause one of two results among your readers: it will either cause them to unsubscribe faster than a startled cheetah on steroids, or change them into happy, *buying* customers.
Duncan Johnson has been a web designer for about
two years. His website, DJDonline is
all about his favorite hobby, computer flight
simulation. He has written a newsletter about “flight
simming” since August of 1998. From this experience,
he has drawn much of the background for this article.