It is now 6 months since I started writing and distributing my newsletter Bright Business Bulletin and I have certainly learned a lot along the way.
I came up with the idea of producing a monthly printed newsletter at the Entrepreneur’s Convention back in September. Two clear messages of the Convention were that doing what every on else was doing was not a sensible way to stand out in business, and that if you have an idea you should act on it quickly. A perfect idea which is not put into action is worthless. However, an imperfect but relevant idea that comes to fruition will move you forward.
I have always liked the idea of producing a newsletter with genuinely useful information. I felt that sending out an e-newsletter would not be the best use of my time as most people receive many emailed newsletters but few actually get read.
So I decided that my newsletter had to be printed and sent out the old fashioned way by Royal Mail – in red envelopes of course! I would send it out to 80 people I thought would be interested and who I wanted to keep in touch with – clients, strategic introducers, business partners etc. (I have since made the newsletter available to download from my website).
For the October newsletter I had only 3 days to design my newsletter format, write the content, source envelopes, get it printed, stuffed in envelopes and posted (as well as doing the day job!), because I was due to go on holiday. It was tight but I did it!
Having just sent out my 6th newsletter I certainly feel a sense of achievement.
The feedback I have had has been really gratifying. People are clearly reading the newsletters and engaged enough to comment back to me about what they like, to thank me if I have featured their business, and take part in the competition I ran.
So what have I learned so far?
Firstly, and most importantly, have a format that is easy to follow each month, so you are not confronted by a blank sheet of paper. I have clear smallish sections that are easy to think about in isolation. For example, I have my Pooh quote of the month, Ask Jenny (my financial agony aunt column), featured business and partner, Michael’s minutes and dates for your diary, as standard columns.
Secondly, it may seem like a big commitment to do a newsletter monthly but, like blog writing, once you get into the habit it is relatively easy. It is difficult to get into a habit if you only do an activity irregularly or quarterly.
Finally, having sections about other people and their businesses is a great idea, because it is easier to write about others than ourselves, and readers love the fact that someone else is interested enough in them to write about them.
Now I am not worried about what I will write about each month but actually enjoy the challenge of creating something interesting.
So, if you are thinking about creating a newsletter don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it – just do it!