Business technology

How to get ideas for your newsletter

- September 15, 2007 2 MIN READ

For the most part, while we all love the idea of newsletters, they can be really hard work. They need constant attention, a scrupulous eye for detail and they need to have a tight vision to have any lasting impact. Great newsletter ideas don’t always come at writing time and with all the distractions you are faced with every day, keeping your newsletter focussed without a mad scramble at production time is critical.

I have come up with a system to help my clients put their newsletter together. I start by giving them what I call the ‘Jess Tray’ – an off the shelf document tray which I then brand with my logo, email and mobile, nice and pretty and BIG.

I tell my clients to keep it somewhere convenient and throw into it anything that inspires them for their newsletter. That tray represents their communication solution, the thing I will make happen, the detail devil I will make go away. Each time we’re ready for the next edition, I pay a visit, empty the tray and have a chat with my client about what’s going in the next edition. For clients that are further away, we talk it through on the phone.

This approach can work wonders for your business by giving you a way to stay organised and keep track of your newsletter ideas. Here’s what to do:

Want more articles like this? Check out the email newsletters section.

1. Get yourself a tray

Stick onto it something inspirational so that whenever you look at it, you feel good. Throw the serviette, used envelope, sticky note, print out, photocopy and message-to-self into the tray as soon as they come to hand.

2. Replicate the desk tray on your computer

Create a newsletter inbox in your email. Copy any emails that inspire an article into the box.

3. Pass it forward

When it’s newsletter time, sort the tray and inbox and work out what’s in the next edition. Think about themes and groupings of information. Any leftovers go back into the tray/inbox or are trashed. This keeps some good ideas in the mix until you’re ready to publish them.

4. Consider ways to re-use the material

Serialise it on your website by selecting your best articles as a rolling blog or news section. Pick the how-to style items and put them on your website as a subscribe service. Consider collating all the best articles into a self-published booklet and give it to clients as a present.

In no time, you’ll feel that your newsletter ideas are being carried forward and that you’re in control of the content. This means a better quality, more valuable product for your readers and something that can often be a chore becomes more fun.