How to write better for blogging plus…

Have you ever thought just how valuable your blog can be, as the basis for a range of content to promote your business or interest? How to write better for blogging plusNow that more and more social media platforms are not only accepting, but also encouraging much longer posts, you have widely increased opportunities get your message out there.

We were talking about this at meeting a couple of days ago

I was asked to lead a discussion about blogging at a networking event last week and saw a few eyes glance upwards when I mentioned the “B” word. But contrary to the views of some in the room, blogging still hasn’t gone out of fashion. Quite the opposite, in fact. [Read more…]

I know you can’t wait to read my Holiday newsletter…

Do you feel obliged to read distant friends’ and relatives’ lengthy Christmas newsletters about a bunch of people, places and activities about which you know sweet FA? Here’s one that beats them all … and will give you some laughs for a change. Enjoy.

Holiday newsletter from How To Write Better

Well, hello there from your dear friend with the latest news from jolly old England. And what a year it has been! I know you don’t have time to share all the exciting news so here are just the main highlights…

Let’s start back at the beginning, well almost, when I attended a wonderful New Year‘s Eve celebration – a friendly, informal affair thrown by my neighbour Lucy Sludge and her husband Percy. We were having an absolute riot playing charades – the theme was different species of river fish, I recall – and munching away on Lucy’s tasty home-made quinoa shortbread when her eldest son Luke turned up with some friends.

[Read more…]

Why printed newsletters can be modern goldmines

Are printed newsletters relics of a bygone offline age? No way. Partly thanks to the internet, a well-written, well-designed printed business newsletter has regained a new prestige that sells your brand almost better than your online marketing communications. Want to cash in? Here’s how…

A smart printed newsletter, whether the online geeks like it or not, commands more respect and attention than an online communication, no matter how many gadgets and whizzing bow ties the web designers throw at it. An online newsletter can be “disappeared” at a click, but a piece of print is harder to ignore. Psychologically it’s harder for the reader to ignore, too; especially if there are some attention grabbing headlines, attractive, inviting design, and a quality feel to the whole thing.

Whereas reading online newsletters has become something of a chore for business people, reading a printed communication is something they often do to relax over a cup of coffee and give their eyes a break from reading and working on a screen. Particularly if your business is connected in some way with leisure or other personally pleasing activity, a printed newsletter about it will not only be read, but also enjoyed, almost as a treat.

Where it can all go horribly wrong

If we’re not very careful, print newsletters can fall prey to the same self-indulgent and boring content as the misguided, subjective, self-congratulatory press releases so many organisations issue. Only this time, it’s worse.  It’s not just a few paragraphs of self-indulgent drivel; it’s two, four or even eight pages of stuff that’s of tremendous interest to the writers and instigators, but usually of no interest to the readers.

Of course, if the newsletter is directed only to staff or another purely internal group, the fact that there is a certain degree of family indulgence, will help. But do you really want to bore your staff? And here’s another thing to chew over: staff newsletters often find their way into the hands of suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.

So, what’s the key to getting the content, tone and style right? You need to place yourself firmly in the shoes of the audience and ensure that your content is of interest to them.

Information that offers genuine value for readers

Newsletters are of much greater value to the reader if they contain information that is of genuine, generic use to them – information that helps them do their jobs better, or in some other way improves their daily life. Very few people these days are stupid enough to be fooled by the thinly disguised advertising blurb masquerading as “useful” editorial. Yet all too often I see companies spending quite large sums of money on customer newsletters that really do put the “junk” into junk mail.

All it takes to turn a boring, totally subjective newsletter into a useful, interesting one is a little time and imagination, not big bucks.

*A car dealership’s quarterly newsletter can not only announce the latest new model launches and new staff appointments, but also include a seasonal maintenance checklist … how to drive safely in winter conditions … ideas on how to keep the kids entertained on long car trips … security and anti-theft tips … dates of future roadworks/construction that may cause congestion … etc.

*An accountancy firm can send out information on how new legislation affects local or regional businesses, how new tax laws should be interpreted, tips and advice on how to fill out personal tax returns, tips for small businesses and self-employed people on how to record their expenses more efficiently, etc.

*An investment company can send out information to business customers that updates them on the latest corporate issues and how those apply to individual companies, and also include advice on personal investments, pension plans, even advice for readers’ families, e.g. saving for college/university loans and the best savings plans to set up for children, trust funds, etc.

All of the information I’ve described above would not cost much to procure – probably just a matter of a few phone calls, a couple of hours surfing the net, and a day or two of someone’s time putting it all together.  Obviously you need to be careful not to use other organizations’ copyright material without permission, but in my experience most organizations will cheerfully grant you permission provided that you credit them appropriately.

What a difference this type of content makes to an organization’s external newsletter!  You instantly gain the respect or your readers, because you’re giving them something tangible without asking them for anything in return.  And this can only reflect in one way on your business relationship with them. That’s why I firmly believe that high quality printed newsletters, while maybe not “the new black,” are certainly gaining ground as paper goldmines to strengthen your brand, customer loyalty and ultimately, sales.

Now, let’s get your writing right for a successful newsletter:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English