I had lunch the other week with a new entrepreneur. She thought a newsletter would help one of her clients in the not-for-profit sector to communicate with its donors.
A good idea.
But she was daunted by the prospect of having to create one - designing it, finding pictures, writing headlines, making sure everything lined up and looked pretty. And that's not to mention the actual writing of the articles.
So, understandably, she'd procrastinated.
This is what I told her:
It's not about the form, it's what you say that counts.
The best newsletters are authentic communications between a business owner (or charity director) and readers.
They're about sharing information and, most importantly, sharing the passion that brought the two of them together in the first place.
If she could write a heartfelt letter from the charity's directors, telling donors about how their support had changed the lives of the children who benefited, and if they could illustrate that with stories from the children themselves, then she would have a newsletter.
Today I received a draft of the newsletter, written on 2 pages of letter-sized paper in Arial font.
It was a triumph. It succeeded in sharing the charity directors' passion and enthusiasm for their work. It was an authentic, honest communication.
It was a successful newsletter.
Do you agree? Does a newsletter need to look like a newsletter?