Business Newsletters

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Hundreds of thousands of business newsletters are produced across the world today, the oldest being the Kiplinger Washington Newsletter, which was established about 1923. The vast majority in the United States, however, got underway in the 1980s. Many are trade association and union publications.

Just as many, however, represent either general or specialty consumer interests--perhaps alternative medicine, investments, computer technology, or international issues. With the advent of electronic publishing, the venue is an effective low-cost solution for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs. Although the competition today makes breaking into the market more difficult than it was 20 years ago, business newsletters are just as popular for many of the same reasons.

Business newsletters--and let's exclude for this discussion those companies that are exclusively publishers--are a useful tool in many ways. One is as an intra-organization communication channel--employee news, policy changes, company updates and such like. Another is as a marketing tool, whether selling professional services, consumer products, or community outreach. Maybe you've started a landscaping business and are thinking about producing a business newsletter to encourage job referrals.

What It Takes to Get Business Newsletters in Print

The easiest and most affordable approach to start a newsletter is as a cottage industry focusing on local distribution. The more work you can do yourself, the better. This means fewer costs and less of a commitment. Pulling in colleagues in the same field and publishing to a private website, or printing and hand delivering to libraries and shops and the like is a good testing ground. Your first step, though, is to study the industry and the competition. Checking with the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association, for example, might be worthwhile. Also, brush up on your writing skills. The style of your initial publications will be crucial. A web-based writing workshop might be the short and sweet answer.

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