Monday, September 3, 2007

6 Great Newsletter Ideas--When You're Out of Ideas!

"6 Great Newsletter Article Ideas--When You're Out of Ideas!"

by James Palmer

For marketers, publishing your own electronic newsletter can be challenging. Between project deadlines and other things, you've already got a lot on your plate. Then you also have a newsletter to get out every week, month, or quarter. Then it happens . . .

You've run completely out of ideas.

What do you do?

Well, first of all, don't panic. Panicking will just make it worse. Secondly, follow these five guidelines and you'll find yourself coming up with more fresh ideas than you can fit into a dozen newsletters.

1. Think Timely
Is there something going on the world that you can tie back in to your business? Keep an eye on the local and national news, especially business trends. Is there something there you can use as a springboard for an article about your business?

2. Relate Your Subject to Something Else

Even a subject that has nothing to do with the focus of your newsletter can be fodder for an article. In a recent issue of DM News, copywriter Bob Bly wrote a copywriting article entitled: "Harry Potter and the Irresistible Offer", in which he talks about an interview that J.K. Rowling did recently where she mentioned having written the final chapter of the last Harry Potter book over 15 years ago. That way, she would know how the series ends and be able to tie everything that came before into that final chapter.

Bob deftly tied this into direct mail copywriting, stating how you can follow Rowling's advice by creating the offer first and then writing the other direct mail elements. Genius! Not only is it a great idea, but Bob was able to connect to something from popular culture (and what's more popular right now than Harry Potter?)into an informative, helpful article about direct mail. Now you try!

3. Answer Reader Questions

If you get a lot of questions from your readers, this can make for great articles.

4. "Invite" a "Guest" Author

I did this a couple months back in my own newsletter, when I posted an article by Ezine Queen Alexandria K. Brown. Many ezine writers put permission to reprint at the end of their articles. All you have to do is include their fully intact bio and contact information at the end. It's free, viral marketing for them, and a free article for you. So if you're stumped one month, just look back at the other newsletters you've received. Is there an article that you particularly enjoyed or identified with? Something that would be a good fit for your readers? Grab it and send it out. Just make sure you've gotten permission, or done whatever is required by the author for you to use their work legally.

5. "Classic" Reprints

If your newsletter has been around a while, try reprinting a "classic" article from your archives. New subscribers probably haven't seen it, and your longtime readers would likely enjoy a refresher course. Just don't make a habit of it.

6. Interview an Expert

In your business, you've doubtless made contact with other business people in fields complementary to yours. Why not interview them for your next newsletter article? People love talking about themselves and their businesses, especially if it means free advertising for them! Include their bio and website link at the end. You never know, it could lead to some joint venture opportunities!

I know it may not seem likely, but as any writer will tell you, coming up with ideas is easy, it's the writing that's hard! Ideas are all around us, but sometimes you just have to do a little digging to dredge them up. For example, my lack of ideas gave me the idea for this article! So just look around and take what you need from the world around you. Your next newsletter will go out on time, and will be a killer success!

James Palmer is a freelance copywriter, business journalist, and ghostwriter who creates marketing materials that help large companies, coaches, and entrepreneurs communicate their business in a way that is easily understood by their target audience. He also offers a newsletter creation service for those who understand the power of having their own newsletter but don’t have the time to implement it. For more information, or to sign up for his free monthly newsletter The Write Stuff, please visit his website.

20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating Your Next Newsletter

20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Creating Your Newsletter

by James Palmer

What will my newsletter be used for?
Will my newsletter by delivered in text or HTML format?
Which autoresponder service will I use to deliver my newsletter?
How often do I want to send out my newsletter?
How many words will it be?
What features will I include in my newsletter?
What will my newsletter do for my business?
What will I call my newsletter?
Will I be the only author or will there be guest authors?
Will I offer my products and services in the newsletter?
Will I offer third-party products and services in the newsletter?
Will people pay me to place their ads in my newsletter?
Will my newsletter contain graphics or pictures?
Who is my newsletter’s target audience?
What major benefit does my newsletter give my target audience?
What personal information will I include about myself in the newsletter?
Will I give my target audience permission to reprint and distribute my newsletter articles?
Will I turn my newsletter articles into other information products like videos, audio books, teleseminars, workshops, ebooks, etc.?
Will I write each and every article, or use a ghostwriter?
How many newsletter subscribers do I want?