Newsletters have great appeal—to a limited number of subscribers. But that’s okay. A limited number can be substantial; it can even run into the millions. To gain subscribers, you must focus on their wants and needs. Follow these five steps.
1. Narrow your scope
Newsletters differ from mass market magazines and newspapers in that they appeal to a very specific, narrowly targeted audience. The narrower your focus, the greater your depth. That’s because you provide the specialized information your targeted readers want, need and simply can’t get elsewhere.
2. Create a reader profile
No major magazine gets launched without first creating a profile of its readers, and neither should yours. The reason is obvious: You can’t determine content, attract advertisers or even determine your format (particularly if yours is an off-line publication) without knowing whom your publication appeals to. Accordingly, identify your readers’ gender, age, income/educational level, beliefs, etc.
3. Align your content and language with your readers
Once you’ve created a reader profile, you can create or fine-tune your editorial content. Make a list of all of the topics/issues your readers would be interested in. Choose articles that would appeal to the greatest number of subscribers. Write tight, light and bright, using the everyday language of your readers. Be inclusive, not exclusive. Choose words that all readers understand.
4. Be consistent
Newsletter consistency not only means distributing your publication when you say you will (e.g., the first Friday of the month; every Tuesday) but using words, formatting, and content that’s consistent with the “founding mission” of your publication. It’s this mission that made your readers want to subscribe in the first place. Consistency gives a publication staying power, credibility and professionalism.
5. Choose the right length
Choose a newsletter length that truly meets the needs of your readers and is workable for you. Newsletters, after all, take a lot of time and energy to produce. A general rule: The longer a newsletter, the less frequently it should be published; the shorter, the more frequently.
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