According to Dictionary.com, a newsletter is “a written report, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject.”
In other words, newsletter are a controlled way of getting the news out to customers, clients, employees, and anyone who signs up to receive them. Newsletters are distributed in print or online. Some software companies have specialized templates to help you create the perfect newsletter. There are fancy fonts, colors, and images, too.
What makes a newsletter interesting is the news that’s in it.
No one wants to read about company gossip or how much better this product is without substantiation and comparison studies. Newsletters are created to give current news to readers, who have signed up to receive these updates. Employee promotions, new hires, company product information, description of services offered, new products, discounts, special member discounts or promotions, and product comparisons are what drives readers to keep reading the newsletters.
So what is the difference between a blog and a newsletter?
According to a Penn State article, “A blog (A contraction of the term “web log”) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.”
Blogs originally had a negative effect, because people believed a blog was only one person’s opinion about a topic. This has changed greatly in the past several years. Blogging is done at the whim of the blog owner and is usually connected to a website for a specific purpose.
Newsletters are produced on a more rigid schedule. If you believe your product is the best, you need to back it up with updates and new information at regular intervals. If your company talks about warrantees and guarantees, but can’t produce a newsletter on time and on schedule, it does little to help the brand.
Newsletters also set the tone for the business or product. For example, if you run a yoga practice or meditation business, the tone of your newsletter will be soft, warm, calming, and soothing. If you want to sell in mass volume, your words should shout throughout the newsletter. Hype should definitely be used along with fear and timing to propel your customers to buy the product.
For most of us, a newsletter keeps us informed about topics or products we’re interested in. We learn from new information presented to us and in some cases, we become “ambassadors” for the product or service. The newsletter makes us experts about the company or product. We form a connection with them.
Newsletters are not advertisements, direct-sales letters, or a copy of a website. They are meant to give the readers new information, comparison studies, new features, warn of possible issues, and provide content that the reader wants and needs to know. If a newsletter fails to do that, then readership will fall off or disappear. Using images, info graphs, Pinterest, Instagram, or graphs to create visuals is a good way to break up the words and reaches those readers, who prefer visuals over text.
Newsletters do not solicit comments or suggestions, but blog post do. Blogs can be an open forum, so some software enables comments to be approved before being posted. In that way, the blogger can control any negative comments.
As virtual assistant at Virtual Colleague, LLC, I specialize in writing projects and newsletters is one of the services I offer.
The next time you read a newsletter, ask yourself:
- Why are you reading it?
- What does it offer you? and
- How does it make the information interesting?
If you or anyone you know needs the service of a virtual assistance, I can be reached at 401-595-0087 or 401-384-0257