Everybody says to forget blogging over the US Thanksgiving Holidays, but I have a feeling this is a great time to catch people at their computer! Maybe not, but then some people I know like to catch up on researching how to write better, more effective ezines.
I am a BIG fan of Michael J. Katz of Blue Penguin Development; he always writes with so much personality. I feel like I know his little boy and his Aunt Esther. He brings his family into his ezines, yet there’s always a point to it- and it’s always good stuff about writing better ezines. So while he’s teaching, he is also sharing himself and creating a feeling of humor and familiarity with his readers.
If you’ve got time- (Come on, who doesn’t over the weekend?)- then click over to his piece called Break On Through To The Other Side, published Nov. 19. It’s got a few chuckles about his Aunt Esther.
But if you’re in a hurry, just read this excerpt. It’s about how important it is to get to the point, so here is the excerpt:
From Michael J. Katz:
I’m here to tell you that when it comes to effective communication with an audience, my Aunt Esther had it right — essence matters more than facts.
Many newsletters suffer from the same "good information; poor delivery" syndrome. The facts are there, but the reader is not able to — or not interested in — finding them. With that in mind, I offer some suggestions for being heard and appreciated:
- Pick one idea. I always find it kind of funny that the biggest worry people have about producing a newsletter is "running out of content," and yet the biggest problem I see is "too much content in each issue." You don’t need to explain your entire field of expertise in each issue any more than you need to review everything you know each time you eat lunch with a client. Break it up into little pieces. You’ll have more content to choose from next time and your readers will find it easier to hear your message.
- Boil it down. An E-Newsletter is really just a glorified email, and mixed in with all the jokes, appointment confirmations and pieces of information that fly into our respective in-boxes every day, this is not a medium that lends itself well to lots of detail. Be prepared to edit, simplify and throw out information on your way to getting to the heart of the matter.
- Speak like a human being. I don’t know who started the rumor that business communication must be formal to be valuable, but it seems to have caught on nonetheless — that’s an opportunity for you and me. Your readers will find it a breath of fresh air to "hear" the people behind the newsletter. Nobody is interested in reading one more "critical communication" from a company that claims to be, "the leading provider of cross platform broadband solutions" (or whatever). If you can’t read your newsletter out loud to your spouse without bursting out laughing, you’ve got too much marketing-speak in there.
Bottom Line: You’ve got 800 words of opportunity each month to get your message across. Sure you’ve got to have something useful to give your audience, but remember that these people are busy, tired and often just plain bored. Make your publication the one they wait for and you’ll never again live in fear of the delete key.
All the best,
Michael J. Katz
Founder and Chief Penguin
Blue Penguin Development helps professional service firms and sole proprietors get clients, by showing them how to communicate effectively with the people they already know. We specialize in the development of electronic newsletters.28 West Elm Street, Hopkinton MA 01748