is for ...

Dear Alun

How often do you eagerly open up a newsletter, tempted by the subject line and start reading through the first section, which is just what you expected ... only to find that things start to drift away from the direction you thought you'd be going in ... to reach the end and find yourself thinking "how did I get here?"

All too often we get carried away in our newsletters. "I'll just add this little bit," we might think. "This bit might be helpful." It isn't! The most helpful newsletters, that leave you feeling like you've arrived, are the ones that stick to the subject. Read on to find out how you can keep the FOCUS in your newsletter.

Best wishes,


F is for ... Focus

Focus is what makes a newsletter get read from start to finish. Focus is what encourages your readers to find the time to read every issue of your newsletter. Ultimately, focus is what persudes your readers to get in touch with you when they need to pay for your help.

How can you keep the focus in your newsletter?

  • Have an objective for your newsletter. When you have an objective in sight, you can check each issue to make sure it meets it and that everything you write is in line with that objective.

  • Give each issue a purpose. As you write each issue of your newsletter, ask yourself why your ideas are relevant to your readers and how the information will benefit them. Ask yourself why anyone will want to read this issue. Be demanding with yourself and you'll find it easier to keep the focus.

  • Stick to your structure. Every good newsletter uses a consistent structure - a certain number of sections, containing certain types of information. You might have a 'theory' section to explain a subject, followed by a 'tips' section where you explain how to put the theory into practice. Sticking to your structure will keep you focused on your objective and the subject for each issue of your newsletter.

Losing focus in your newsletter can be dangerous and can lose you readers. Keep focused on what you're writing and why and you'll be able to build up a loyal following of readers.

F is also for ... Fundraising

Am I losing focus here? No - bear with me!

When I'm not writing newsletters and giving marketing advice, I do a lot of fundraising for a charity called The Brooke - an organisation that helps people in the Third World work themselves out of poverty. I'm always looking for new ways of doing this, so here is this month's idea.

Last year I wrote something called the DIY Guide to Marketing. Part 2 was a workbook all about newsletters - how to plan them, how to write them and how to send them. Because it's last year's edition, it's now available as a PDF for just 7.00, with all the money going to the charity. The workbook is about 50 pages long and full of good advice and ideas, as well as exercises to help you publish a really effective newsletter.

If you'd like a copy, click here to go to my fundraising page and make your donation, which will be sent directly to the charity (which can also collect Gift Aid if you're a UK tax payer). The site will tell me when you've made your donation, I'll e-mail the workbook and then you can learn more about keeping your focus!

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