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Newsletters – Winning the Continuing Battle

By Claire Cunninghamj
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004

Tips on how to keep a newsletter going
Did you know the ratio of first newsletter issues to second issues is 20:1*? Starting a newsletter is difficult. Maintaining a schedule is even tougher. Just ask any newsletter editor.

Of course, a newsletter isn’t right for everyone. If you can’t answer yes to both of the following questions, DO NOT start a newsletter. Do you have a small (about 3,000 names or less,) clearly-defined, homogeneous audience? Will they be interested in the content?

Let’s say you’ve identified your audience and have content they’ll clamor for. You’ve started your newsletter. Now, how do you keep it going?

1)Plan ahead: A one-issue-at-a-time approach is almost guaranteed to lead to second issue paralysis. Plan content at least one-half year at a time. You can always make last minute adjustments, but planning means you won’t be stumped at deadline time. HINT: If you can’t identify content to fill out half a year, you probably don’t have a newsletter. Maybe you need to send out a bulletin or two.

2)Simplify: Keep your newsletter easy to put together so production will be quick and low cost. You want it to be read, so keep copy short and use visuals whenever possible.

3)Run a tight ship: Think of deadlines as your best friends. Use them! This means exercising self-discipline and riding herd on contributing writers. If you consistently have trouble with a writer not adhering to deadlines, consider “ghost writing” articles for their byline – or fill the slot with someone else.

*Okay. You caught me. I made up this statistic. The message is true, though.

About the Author
Claire Cunningham has over 20 years experience helping companies maximize their return on their investment in marketing communications,


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