Stop Newsletters, Start Blogging!

BlogSo your team has decided to publish a quarterly online or email Newsletter for all your target audience? Great idea!

But…unless someone has “Create, Publish and Communicate Quarterly Newsletter” in their Objectives for the next x years, you may want to rethink your decision. Too many Newsletters die after 2 or 3 issues, because the availability of news and writers does not match with the Newsletter’s design.
Some examples which may happen near the Publishing date:

  • Mismatch of content and format: You have 3 Hot Topics, but no “in-depth” story, while your format needs 1 Hot Topic and 1 In-depth story.
  • Time mismatch: Your “Hot News” dates from two months ago, has already been emailed, Yammered and discussed in various ways and is now “Lukewarm” at best.
  • Time restrictions: You are too busy to write the content into a good article, or your editors are too busy to send you content.
  • Space restrictions: You have to fit an article in the space your Newsletter format allows, causing you endless re-writes to make it fit.
  • No content: There is nothing worth communicating about at the time your Newsletter should be completed.

Does this sound familiar? Here is one example of where we made a successful turnaround:
Our Intranet Team used to produce a monthly newsletter. The production process always created a lot of stress, so we replaced its fixed-format Newsletter with a free-style Blog. Since then we have written something whenever we had something to say, and used as little or as many words as we needed. This has reduced stress-levels considerably 😉

Instead of a Blog, you could also use a standard Announcements list in Sharepoint, which is available in every Team Site.

What are the advantages of a free-format news publication tool?

  • Your news is always fresh
  • You create fewer expectations about issue frequency
  • Older content is stored automatically and if you use Tags you can group your content into meaningful batches. This allows re-reading later, by topic and by date. People do not have to open every issue to find that interesting article you published some time ago.
  • Most Blogs have a default notification functionality – they are opt-in
  • Blogs are interactive, and not “top-down broadcasting”
  • Blog have a flexible format in length, subject and time:
    1. You can add a new item when there is something to say
    2. You can make the message as short or long as is necessary
    3. You can write about any subject that is currently actual
  • No need to spend time and money on design. For visual impact, you can use a logo and a good header for the page itself, and you can add one or more pictures with every article.

What are your considerations for using an online or email Newsletter? Please share!

You may also like:

A good executive blog these days is hard to find. 

A cure for “Social Media” allergy.

How NOT to implement a Discussion Forum.

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