A part of
Increase Your Profits:

Business Writing Made Clear

by Jennifer Hicks, CEO, WordsWork

What Good Is a Newsletter?

Not much if you don't know how to create one.

Not much if your writing style verges on the oh-please-don't-make-me-read-that-again.

Not much if you don't want to increase your customer base.

Issue #3

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 1998

"Newsletters create an interest in your organization and demonstrate the benefits of doing business with you."

Statistics show that a newsletter published consistently and coherently increases recognition, improves customer relationships, and generates strong response rates. More than 80% of newsletter readers say newsletters are useful, 90% get an idea from each issue, 75% save issues, and 32% pass along articles to colleagues.

Think about what that means for name recognition.

Newsletters teach and inform. They announce events, new products and services. Newsletters create an interest in your organization and demonstrate the benefits of doing business with you.

Good newsletters present a professional, winning image of you and your company. Consistent publication demonstrates your permanence, consistency, and reliability. And, newsletters allow you to target specific audiences and reach loads of people.

If you're a small organization, you probably don't need an internal newsletter. But you can benefit from a newsletter directed toward your customers. Especially if your newsletter contains information that people will read and save.

But before you jump in head first, once again determine what you want to accomplish. Who will read the newsletter? What will it contain? Who will write it? How will it be distributed and how often? Know all this before you start or you'll do more damage than good.

"Consistent publication demonstrates your permanence, consistency, and reliability."


A newsletter can be valuable marketing tool. But, it is not a sales pitch. Instead, it provides information essential to your clients. It educates your clients about your company's position, your commitment to servicing their needs.

A newsletter puts you in the position of being a business advisor, someone to be looked to for knowledge that will help their business. Doing this well necessitates that you categorize the content. Consider industry news and highlights, tax tips, analysis of economic trends as they affect your clients' businesses, recent projects you've undertaken.

Think also about involving your readers. Interactivity is one of the best things about the Internet. It also works in newsletters. Ask clients to call or write with ideas for pieces they'd like to see in the newsletter. Profile a client once in a while.

Ignore pieces that only serve as filler. Better to have a lean newsletter than one full of fluff that shows you don't value your clients' time.

Excellent newsletters are consistent. Their design is professional and doesn't change issue to issue. Each issue comes out on time and arrives via the same route.

Determine how frequently you can afford to create and publish the newsletter. Once a year does not a newsletter make. Quarterly is really the minimum if you hope to maintain client communication.

Create a template with the help of a newsletter designer. Look at the newsletter as a graphic representation of your business. Spend time (and money) to make it look right. Remember that the front page should offer the reader at least three different ways to get involved in the newsletter. A combination of boxes and articles can achieve this.

Determine the best method of distribution. Will it be surface mail? Email? Web site? If it's surface mail, do it as a self-mailer. Consider using three-hole stock to encourage saving of each newsletter. If it's email, ask that people subscribe rather than just mailing out willy-nilly. No competent business professional wants to be accused of spamming. And, if you choose to publish it on your Web site, do it well. Choose keywords carefully and use Meta tags. Submit the URL to the major search engines.


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Newsletters can grow your business. They can also make you look like a clown. Do it professionally, just as you do the rest of your business.

Want to read more?

Go back to
Issue #2,

ahead to
Issue #4 - The Art of Writing a Press Release

or visit the


Jennifer Hicks is CEO and President of WordsWork, a communications consulting firm that works with clients to provide for their training, writing, editorial, and research and communication strategy needs. Since its start in 1996, the company has experienced tremendous growth and has grown from a one-person show to a staff of more than 25 full- and part-time people. Clients have ranged from start-ups to companies in the Fortune 500. While their trainers, writers, and editors have expertise in a variety of areas including technology, business, education, and medicine, they are renowned specialists in communications for the healthcare industry. For more information, contact info@wordswork.com
Phone: (774) 368-0514
Fax: (508) 374-8389

Text © Jennifer Hicks, 1998. Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.