Writing Newsletters

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The first and most important trick to writing newsletters, once the planning and market research is out of the way, is actually a two-flank move. On the one hand is building a story list. On the other is not relying on any one primary contributor or on a pool of possible ones, none of whom can or will commit themselves.

Where Story Ideas for Writing Newsletters Come from

Developing a substantial story list is often accomplished in brainstorming sessions with others. Online research is another possibility. You've got both writing resource sites and Google and friends. Imagine yourself sitting in at a street side cafe in Paris or the Algarve, watching the city sweep by on a Thursday afternoon or Saturday night. The ideas will come.

Ideally you'll map out alternative topics for both lead and secondary articles, several or more issues in advance. These won't be time critical, but need to be time sensitive. The list is a critical reserve for the crunch times which, trust me, happen (often). The rest of the material you'll use in writing newsletters usually comes from regular features--the latest kayaking equipment, how-to columns, an interior design spotlight, or a legislative update, to name a few possibilities. Rotating features across every other issue is often very effective. Your readers need to know what to expect, however. Your job is to keep the audience happy.

The back half of these ideas on topics for writing newsletters is getting them written, of course. If you put the entire burden on one set of shoulders, the shoulders will sag, creativity will falter, and writing style and quality probably slip. That's the last thing you want. One doesn't just sit down for an hour and type out a 500-word or 750-word story off the cuff (would that it were that easy). Research comes first, and outlining, and endless drafts. Creativity doesn't appear on command. Don't expect it to.

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