Your mother might have said, “it’s not only what you say, but how you say it,” but it applies to e-newsletters as well. How you “talk” to your customers via the words in your newsletter’s articles can greatly affect the publication’s success or failure. Even if it’s a technical subject, your words must still speak to the reader, not at them.
The trap most e-newsletters fall into is one of voice. You see your e-newsletter as a representation of your company. Therefore, you want to use grammatically correct, complete sentences and an impressive vocabulary. But NOBODY speaks like that. If somebody does, he/she is in the vast minority. Therefore, you end up with a more “professional” voice, but in reality, you end up talking down to the reader or, worse, boring them.
Write your e-newsletter in a conversational style. Use words you would say if explaining that topic or subject to a person sitting directly across the table from you. As long as your facts are on the money, your e-newsletter will sound “professional.”
Using the word, ‘you’ can help you involve the reader and create this conversational style. That does not mean every sentence requires a ‘you’ reference. Just enough to keep the flow.
Unfortunately, wanting a conversational newsletter and being able to pull it off are two different things. Most non-writers will try to “write” when asked to produce an e-newsletter article. That’s when you get the thesaurus-ridden copy that’s so dry it’s a fire hazard.
As the boss/editor, determine if you have the personnel to create the kind of newsletter you really want or if you need to contract it out. Again, copywriters do not work for nothing, but when you factor in the final product and anticipated results, as well as the man-hours you save on non-writers trying to write, it’s a bargain
MOST IMPORTANTLY, no matter which option you choose, select one person to write your newsletter. Newsletters that contain articles written by several different contributors sound a bit like conversations with two or more people speaking at the same time. Unless you have bylined stories or columns, your newsletter should speak with one voice—whether that’s done in-house or contracted out.
The fix pretty much holds true. One caveat about conversational tone. There are many interpretations of what that might mean. What’s conversational to one person might seem improper to others. For example, emojis might be all the rage on social media, but probably have no place in your company newsletter.
This blog was originally part of Nobody Reads Your e-Newsletter…And How To Fix It.