Post on writing newsletters/sharing information

Why do you publish newsletters, bulletins and other information for your clients and contacts?

The answer should be to build the perception that you and your firm are knowledgeable on issues that are important to your clients and contacts. Publications should form a part of your marketing through image building.

Yet often this tactic fails badly because it is simply too hard to read your publications.

This post is full of ideas on how to make your publications sing.

The Readers

You must realise that a knowledge sharing publication is not a university assignment. Your readers, in many cases, are not other professionals in your field. They are more often line and senior managers with a heavy workload. They have limited time to read your publications, so your publications must SING!

The first step in writing content that will be read is to consider your audience. What is their level of sophistication in the subject of your publication?

How much of your technical knowledge should you share? The answer is to focus on outlining how the information is important to the readers. How will they use the information, or importantly, why will they contact you for advice on the content?

For example, you might alert them to a new piece of legislation; but rather than analyse the legislation, tell them the impact that this new Act may have on their business.

That is what they care about. Not the esoteric nature of the Act.

Writing Style

Next, consider how you write for publications. There are a few golden rules to improve the readability:

Be conversational. Relax your style a little, but not too much. The publication should sound engaging, not challenging. If you can have a virtual conversation with your reader, they are more likely to seek your advice. Cut down on jargon and cliches – we hear too many of these every day.

Use short sentences. Don’t make your readers take a deep breath half way through a sentence. Longer sentences sound boring and robotic – was this written by a human? Shorter sentences give your writing more punch and helps the reader understand the key messages.

Tell a short story. Everybody loves a story so structure your publication around a story format. Begin with what is happening or what to watch for. Then talk about why this is important. Then finish with the best actions to take as a result – and this leads to you. But leave them wanting more.

How Big?

Finally, don’t forget that you want readers to act upon the publication, so don’t publish a huge tome in which they can find everything they need. Then they don’t need to contact you for more information – and we want them to contact you.

A publication is not a medium for you to demonstrate all that you know about a subject. It is meant as an enticement.

So keep it simple, conversational and interesting. You can explain all the rest of the subject when a reader becomes a client and pays you for the information you hold.

Ray Hartley

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