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Business Writing Articles: Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Newsletters

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Newsletters

Regardless of your product or service, and whether you are a giant corporation, a small business, or a not for profit group, your newsletter is just about your most powerful tool for engaging readers and building member or customer loyalty.
Whether you are still mailing a hard copy newsletter, or have switched to e-newsletters, there are five mistakes you want to be careful to avoid, in order to ensure that your newsletter is a success:

Mistake #1: Avoid inconsistency in mailing

If you promise your readers that they can expect to hear from you on the first of each month, but instead send your news mid-month, or every other month, they will get a sense that you may not be quite reliable. If you can’t stick to your own schedule, they may wonder how you handle schedules for client projects.

Mistake #2: Avoid too much time between newsletter mailings

There is a good case to be made for sending an e-newsletter at least monthly. E-newsletters are ephemeral—they are gone with a flick of the mouse, and easily forgotten, so if you wait longer than a month you may lose the connection with clients and members that you want to maintain. Furthermore, if you suddenly send an e-mail message after several months, your readers may just unsubscribe. If you are still using hard copy newsletters, of course, monthly mailings will almost certainly be too costly—a good argument for supplementing them with email.

Mistake #3: Avoid pages that are crowded with words

If your newsletter is densely written articles and little else, your reader is very likely to drift away—or never begin. Especially with e-newsletters, it’s a mistake to crowd the screen. There is research that shows people read monitor screens differently than hard copy—the eye moves around, and more quickly.

Instead of trying to cram a whole article into your enewsletter, give the first few lines, followed by a link to your website for the rest. This gets readers to your site (always a good idea) and increases the chances that they will actually learn from what you have to say-and remember you.
Instead of lines and lines of text, use plenty of white space, along with graphics, boxes and sidebars. Newsletters are work best when they are designed to invite the reader to skip around-to look for favorite columns, to scan longer articles for later reading, to see what's new.

Mistake #4: Avoid writing for someone other than your audience

Don't write for a vague audience. Remember who your readers are and write to them. The less your tone and style is matched to that of your readers, the less they will enjoy your content or be persuaded that you care about them.

Mistake #5:Avoid typos and grammatical errors

Even with software that checks for both grammar and spelling, you yourself need to check your content.  You don't need a brilliant style, but you do need to show that you are paying attention. Well-written content demonstrates that you take responsibility for all your work—including the work you do for your clients. Avoid typos and grammatical errors by setting your work aside for a few hours before coming back to check it, or, even better, find someone else willing to read over your copy.

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