Newsletter Ideas

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Coming up with conceptual newsletter ideas at the onset is one thing. That's where creativity comes into play. Studying the market--who's already "in press" publishing on the same broad topic you have reason to cover--before you commit yourself to a trial run or a launch, that's critical. A number of online industry resources are particularly valuable--the Newsletters and Electronic Publishers Association, the Publishers Marketing Association, and the Online Publishers Association, for example.

Finding out about the direct competition is one aspect of research. Another is how similar ideas are handled. The more you study what newsletters are established in the marketplace--whether they date from the 1980s when so many of today's newsletters were launched, or from the 1990s at the beginning of the Internet era--the better sense you'll have of what "works" with newsletter ideas and what doesn't. Your own newsletter will be that much better of a publication.

Newsletter Ideas and Electronic Distribution

Just as important as the topical focus of the publication, and intertwined with it, is the prospective audience. One of the critical errors sadly all-too-often made in launching newsletter ideas is assuming that a niche audience is both there and willing to read what you'll produce. Another is misjudging the best way to reach them--whether by direct mail, in newsstands, or electronically.

The fact is, if the idea of producing a newsletter first occurred to you five years ago, and you haven't done much market research since then, you need to. The proliferation of electronic newsletters combined with the migration of junk mail from your post box to your email inbox has changed the market considerably. If your mailing list isn't expecting a broadcast publication from your domain, you're in trouble.

The last thing you want to risk--especially if your newsletter ideas are related to your business--is to be identified, albeit falsely, as spam. This is especially important if you have your own domain name and a dedicated IP address. Research into broadcast email, list management vendors, and related issues are mandatory.


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