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Where Are Your Newsletter Weeds Sprouting?

By Jessica Albon

Just like in the garden, weeds in your newsletter take up valuable space that could be replaced with something a lot prettier. The five most common weeds I see in clients’ newsletters are:

  • Jargon. Especially when you’re telling readers just what it is your company does and how you can help them, make sure you use your words wisely. Make every word clearly communicate–don’t drown readers in cryptic jargon. Read your company description out loud–replace anything you trip over or that sounds empty.
  • Too much contact information. Giving readers a choice between emailing you and calling you is great. Giving readers a choice between five phone numbers, eight email addresses, and three physical addresses is not. Consolidate all contact information, and, if possible, give readers information specific to them (the nearest retail location, for instance).
  • Classified ads. Seriously consider whether or not it makes sense to advertise other people’s stuff. In most cases, it makes sense to cut classified ads and focus on your own offerings.
  • Lots of welcomes. There’s really no reason to have a president’s message, editor’s welcome, and publisher’s introduction all in one issue. One welcome will be more than enough. If everyone really must participate (and, sometimes, they must), put all those welcomes at the end of the other content.
  • Lots of small sections. For example, if you have book reviews, movie reviews, music reviews, favorite quotes, and website reviews as supplemental content in an email newsletter, you probably have too many small sections. Consider offering just one review in each issue (and rotate it–this month, you might review a book, next month a website) to keep readers’ attention on your core message.

Just as weeds detract from the most gorgeous garden, weeds in your newsletter clutter up your message and distract your readers. Cull your newsletter down to the essentials–the parts readers enjoy most and the parts you most enjoy writing–and you’ll find each issue leaving a much bigger mark.

I’d love to hear about the weeds you pull out of your newsletter this week! Post a comment and tell me about it.

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