What do People Want to Know?

By Jeff Rubin
The Newsletter Guy

Guess what's the most frequent question I'm asked about publishing newsletters? OK. The second most. After people want to know how much it costs, the question I hear the most is, “what should I put in my newsletter.”

It's a good question. I know because I see a lot of bad newsletters that contain information I'm not interested in and don't pertain to my business.

How do you get the right mix to keep your customers, potential customers and/or employees reading? Here are some of my thoughts.

These are for your customers and potential customers. What are they interested in? Do you think they'd like to hear about who in your company got married, had a baby or celebrated a birthday, or about how your new product or service can save them time and money and make their businesses more efficient?
Give your readers useful information:

A few ideas they can implement immediately.
Updates on trends in your industry which may affect them.
“How to” information so they can do things themselves (you can't expect your customers to buy EVERYTHING from you).
General articles that help them save time and money and make their business and personal lives more meaningful.
A great way to honor a customer is to highlight them in your newsletter. This not only creates good will between you and the customer you're writing about, but shows others that you value your business relationships.

What do employees want to know? A survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators yielded the following results:
Organizational plans for the future — company goals, expansion, etc.
Job advancement opportunities.
Job related “how to” information.
How local, state, world events or changes in the business climate affect their job, their company and their customers.
Productivity improvement.
Human Resources policies and practices.
Staff changes and promotions.
Benefits information.
How we're doing vs. the competition.
Recognition of employees for achievements.
Human interest stories about employees/customers.
Personal news (birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, births, etc.).
News of what's going on in departments/divisions.
Financial results.
How profits are used.
Advertising and promotional plans.
Company's community involvement.


REPRINT POLICY: This article may be reprinted in your publication, company newsletter, etc., provided that you give a by-line (by Jeff Rubin) and print the following credit exactly as written. Please send a tear sheet or electronic copy:

Jeff Rubin, a former newspaper reporter and editor and instructor at The Learning Annex in San Francisco, is The Newsletter Guy, owner of the Pinole, California-based newsletter publishing firm of the same name (www.thenewsletterguy.com). He's written and designed more than 1,600 company newsletters since starting his business in 1981. He may be reached via e-mail at jeff@TheNewsletterGuy.com or by phone at (510) 724-9507.


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