to Write a Weekly Newsletter (Part 1)
Several readers have asked me to explain how I write this
weekly newsletter, since they're thinking of taking the plunge. So here's a
two-part overview: today I focus on the writing part; next week we'll look
at the production and distribution end.
Elaine Floyd, longtime
Working Solo colleague and publishing guru, says to think carefully before
you launch a regular newsletter: It's a commitment. It
can also be fun and personally rewarding. The challenge is to create a system
so that you don't reinvent the wheel each time you sit down to write. Here's
a peek at my system:
1. Keep an idea
I keep a running list of 3-5 ideas that I think would make good newsletter topics.
Some of these arise while I'm coaching soloists, others spring from questions
folks email me, my conversations with colleagues, or issues I encounter in my
own work. When it comes time to write the weekly Minute, I scan the
list and choose a topic. Some ideas are used right away; others may
linger, ultimately to be discarded or inspire related topics. The goal is never
to be sitting with a blank page and an impending deadline.
2. Answer the
"Who Cares?" question.
Newsletter topics must pass one important test: Will you, my readers,
value in spending 60 seconds with me? Sometimes topics will start out one way,
then morph into something else as I realize that the information I want to
share can become more valuable if presented slightly differently.
Ask yourself: How can I best serve my readers?
3. Make it short
I know soloists are crunched for time, so the Working Solo Minute is
structured with short paragraphs, often with action steps. When I'm writing,
I visualize individuals reading the newsletter instead of thousands of email
in-boxes -- it personalizes the writing and makes the task less daunting. And
yes, when it's done, I time it to see how close I've come to my 60-second target.
4. Let it sit before
In all, it may take an hour to write
a complete newsletter. Some are written in one sitting; others come together
in several short blocks of time. I try to allow enough time so the issue can
sit for a while, enabling me to make any final clarifications and edits with
Next week, I'll review what happens when the words are complete and how each
issue makes it to your individual email box.
-- Terri Lonier
How to Write a Weekly Newsletter, Part 2
Solo Minute is published each Wednesday by Working Solo, Inc. and is based on
the work of author and small business expert Terri Lonier. Copyright 1994-2008.
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