Weekly Ritual for Better Content

By Jessica Albon

One of the things I really love about writing a weekly newsletter is that it reminds me to stop and reflect on the previous week each Friday. Whether I write about one of my accomplishments (or mishaps) in the feature article or in the Editor’s Note or not, this weekly ritual has made me much more aware of how I’ve spent my time.

Most of the time, at least some portion of my reflection does make its way into this newsletter, and even when it doesn’t, the time is never wasted.

Today I’d like to share the five questions I ask that lead to great newsletter content.

  1. What am I especially happy about learning this week?

    A week is a long time when you’re looking at what you’ve learned, so instead of reviewing everything that could go on that list, I focus on the things that were especially rewarding. Shortcuts, new statistics, new computer programs, the list of potential lessons is endless.

    To apply this to your newsletter, consider which lessons will be of most interest to your readers. If you’ve learned a new shortcut in Word, will that be useful to them? Don’t worry that your readers may already know what you’ve just learned–chances are, even if it’s a review, the information will be useful to them if it was significant in your week.

  2. What question have I been hearing most this week?

    As you talk with your clients and prospects, pay attention to what they ask you. Those questions can be a great jumping off point for article topics.

    If you’re a landscaper, perhaps your clients have been especially concerned about what kind of planning they should do to have a great garden in the spring. Or, if you’re a consultant, perhaps your clients have been really worried about massive team breakdowns and how to prevent them. If you talk to enough people, each week will have its own trends in questions.

  3. What do I really need to learn next week?

    Take a forward look and consider what you could learn that would make life easier or more enjoyable. What do you need to learn to move your business to a new level, improve your performance in a hobby, or get along better with your kids?

    Use your newsletter as an opportunity to explore this new area–interview the experts, conduct the necessary research, practice the new skills. You’ll not only have a great article, but you’ll also have made significant progress in an important area of your life.

  4. What was the biggest client success this week?

    Where have your clients really shined? What have you accomplished for them? What have they accomplished on their own?

    Besides making you feel great, considering the results your clients are getting opens up a world of possibilities for articles. You might explore how they prepared for the great results they got, or what made this attempt to fix the problem different. You could consider what it means for them in the future.

  5. What memory from the last week brings you the greatest sense of peace?

    This isn’t necessarily what you’re proudest of, or what was the most fun, or what brought in the most money. Rather, it’s all about a feeling. Sure, it’s a little bit mushy, but by focusing on what brought the most peace to your life in the last week, you can offer your readers a bit of that feeling, too.

    In their busy, crazy day, offering a tiny slice of ease can make a big difference to your readers. And, by reflecting on that memory, and perhaps sharing it, you’ll be creating more of that feeling in your own life, too.

As you go through this next week, try out these questions for yourself and see what you can do with the answers. Play with it a bit and just see what happens. If nothing else, you’ll have taken a second look back at the week that’s past and that may shine new insights on the week ahead.

I’d love to hear what questions you like to use to review your week and how you might use them to create newsletter content. To share, just post a comment here.