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How to Write Newsletters

Read Time: 2 min

Many people find it hard to believe that companies hire freelance writers to work on their weekly/monthly newsletter. Over the years I have received just as many offers to write newsletters as almost any other kind of work, excluding web content. At first, like many, I was not sure how this would work out. But over time, I began to enjoy writing newsletters and working one-on-one with the client to make them as effective as possible.

It goes without saying that writing content for newsletters is a bit different than other projects, such as sales letters, features, etc. That being said, they do share some components that should help you along the way.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are interested in writing newsletter content:

  1. Who are you writing for? You need to get with your client and decide who the audience is going to be. Do they send the newsletter to their clients? Do they send it to prospective buyers? Do they send it to others in the industry? Believe it or not, I work for many companies that send out several different newsletters every month. It is very important to know your target market before getting started.
  2. How much space do you have? The size of a newsletter can range from one page to many pages (16 or more in some cases). With a shorter newsletter you will have to condense all the content and avoid longer pieces. If your client doesn’t mind many pages you have more freedom as to what you can write.
  3. What does your client want you to include in the newsletter? This has a lot to do with point number one. Before you can ever discuss the content to be included, you need to decide who you are writing for. Some clients only want me to include basic industry related information. For instance, a travel agency would ask for content on choosing an airline, hotel, etc. On the other hand, there are some who ask for interviews, more in-depth pieces, including quotes, and much more.
  4. What tone are you to use? This may be the most important question that you ask before getting started. Generally speaking, there are two tones that are used in newsletters: sales and informative. Are you trying to sell something to the reader? Or are you simply trying to inform him?

There are many companies that hire freelancers to work on their newsletter. Are you interested in working for them? If so, be sure to become familiar with the four questions above.

4 thoughts on “How to Write Newsletters”

  1. Great advice for writing newsletters. Knowing who the target market is imperative. If you don’t know and understand the audience, your newsletter will be deleted. It’s a great idea to get feedback from readers.

    Reply
  2. I hope you’ll write more on this topic. Specifically I’m wondering if you do the layout for the newsletter. It seems like being a one-stop shop could be good for some clients, but I’m not sure the best publishing program to use nor how much time it’ll take (so it’s hard to make a bid for the full service).

    Reply
  3. Rebecca – I’m glad you enjoyed Chris’ article!

    Brian – I can’t speak for Chris, but I generally work for clients who either have in-house design folks to handle the formatting or I’m subcontracted through their company’s independent designer, so I do just the writing. I’ve found that most clients aren’t looking for one person to do everything (they have their own marketing people involved with the design, a professional photographer when needed, etc.), but some smaller businesses would certainly appreciate it. Time can vary quite a bit depending on the type of content you’re asked to write and how long the newsletters are. If you’re working independently, you could probably use any desktop publishing software you want as long as you can deliver a usable file type to the client. If you’re working in-house they’ll probably have their own software you’ll need to learn (InDesign or Quark for example).

    Reply

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