Newsletters – To Have Or Not To Have
Newsletters are not inexpensive to produce or buy. A typical newsletter will cost a firm thousands of dollars per year to produce and mail. Make sure you are getting the most bang out of your newsletter buck!
Why have one?
If you have signed onto the newsletter bandwagon because your competitor had one, step back and analyze whether your newsletter is getting results. Do you hear from your customers more after an issue hits the mail? Do you have a fax-back from that allows your clients to easily reply to an article or other non-urgent subject? Also, is your newsletter the medium needed to convey the messages you are sending in it? Would your message be received better in a personal letter or in person?
Have you stated the purpose of your newsletter? Do you know what results you want to get from your newsletter? If not, it is time to go back to square one and decide what the purpose of your newsletter is. Each article should have a specific goal linked to it. Do you want to inform? Do you more business from it?
As accountants, you have honed your financial craft. You know the technical aspects better than anyone else does. The key to an effective newsletter writing style is ensuring you can transfer your technical wisdom to “plain ol’ language” that your clients understand. Remember your audience as you are writing articles. If you can’t get past the technospeak, hire a professional as a ghostwriter. Your primary goal is to convey a message. No one has to know you had help on the writing end!
Stay Out of the Vacuum
If you publish your newsletter from a vacuum called your firm, you may be missing the mark. Ask your audience what they want to know and how they want to hear about it. You aren’t the only one on information overload – your newsletter competes with all the other information pouring into your clients’ lives.
Get a Report Card
If you still aren’t sure, ask a colleague to critique your publication. If you can find a colleague that also shares your target market characteristics – do it.
Answer these questions to get a quick newsletter reality check:
If your newsletter disappeared tomorrow, who would miss it, and why?
What corporate goals does the newsletter fulfill, and how?
Do your clients ever complain about the information contained in or not contained in your newsletter?
If you asked a cross sampling of your clients, would they know and recognize your newsletter?
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.