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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Negative feedback in your newsletter?

If you write a newsletter, or even a blog or magazine, and you include a feedback or testimonials section, do you censor them? You have more control over newsletter content and testimonials than over comments posted in your blog, but how do you best use that control?

If you get a lot of feedback, then it is likely you will only add some of it to your newsletter each time or it would be overwhelming for your readers.

However, if you generally add all feedback into your newsletter or present it in your blog, what do you do with negative feedback?

Negative feedback responses

feedback may be negative

Choosing how to deal with negative feedback

If the feedback is inappropriate, nasty or irrelevant (e.g. feedback from someone who isn’t even a customer or newsletter subscriber), delete it and forget it.

On the other hand, if it is constructive criticism (or at least true information, even if it isn’t presented constructively!) include it in your newsletter with your response – making sure your response shows how you are improving your service/product.

Including and responding to negative feedback (assuming it isn’t the majority of the feedback you publish!) builds trust in your readers as you are being honest – they will trust the positive feedback more, too. It also gives a balanced view to your newsletter.

You may find that the negative comments you include will be small issues that people can happily accept, so you can gain the above advantages without damaging your name at all.

Regardless of the content of the feedback, remember to thank people in your newsletter to encourage further comments and feedback – the more feedback you get, the more opportunity you have for improvement in your business. Feedback can also build a feeling of community and belonging amongst your readers.

Newsletter back issues

Offering an online newsletter is a great way of communicating and staying in touch with potential customers. Although some websites place their newsletter on the same page each time, most websites develop an archive of old newsletters – these previous editions are also called back issues.

What are the advantages of keeping back issues on your site?

  • the information is still available for people to read
  • the content is available for search engines so can help your site rankings
  • people unsure about subscribing to your newsletter can read a back issue or two and decide if it is what they are looking for
  • it develops trust – you aren’t hiding anything
  • it demonstrates your business has been operating for a while
  • it shows how often you send out newsletters – even if you say it is monthly, a visual reminder is useful

How do you present back issues?

It depends on what format your newsletters are in, but you can have an archive section which links to all newsletters or you may just link to a few recent editions on your ‘our newslettter’ page.

If you offer an archive, you may want to limit how far back you go with it, especially if you reuse a lot of information from older newsletters.

As long as the date of each newsletter is clear, it is ok to have newsletters public with expired competitions and special offers.

What not to do with back issues…

I recently came across a site with a free html newsletter that charged for back issues. I was recommended the newsletter, but was dubious about it’s quality based on what I saw on the website itself. For me to subscribe to the newsletter, or trust this person with my email address for that matter, I needed to see a back issue. However, I was not going to pay for one so I left the site without subscribing.

Even if you decide that charging for back issues is a good way to recoup some costs or make some extra income, I strongly suggest having one or two editions available for free to show people what they could get out of your newsletter. However, paying for something out of date that is generally given free will irritate most people and probably won’t bring in a lot of sales anyway.

How to write great newsletters…

I have just read a blog post by Melissa which gave me a recommendation for newsletter tips – thanks Melissa!

Reading her post made me wonder if there is a need for me to give more newsletter related tips, so I thought I’d put the question out for everyone to think about.

Would you be interested in more tips about newsletters, specifically newsletter content? The same thing could be asked for blog content, too. As many of the content issues are the same, tips for one would often be useful for the other anyway!

In the meantime, the following list of newsletter/blog content tips in my blog may help you…

Plus all the general writing tips in my grammar & details and writing categories.

Happy writing!

Business writing ideas newsletter

Online magazine or newsletter?

I’ve had a client swap from online newsletters to paper ones recently and it got me to thinking about the relative benefits of a paper newsletter/magazine over an online version.

So, following on from yesterday’s discussion on blogs vs newsletters, today’s post is about online vs print for newlsetter

What are the benefits of a hard copy newsletter/magazine?

  • it’s easy to read – on screen reading is slower and harder, printing it yourself requires a printer and costs!
  • not everyone is online so a hard copy may expand your readership base, which is particularly important if you want to influence a wider range of people
  • many people find it exciting to get something in the mail, especially something that isn’t a bill!
  • it’s easy to mark your place if you can’t finish reading it in one sitting
  • it’s easy to make notes in the margins or underline specific points of interest
  • it can be stored for later use or handed to friends and colleagues
  • articles tend to be longer and more detailed in a magazine or printed newsletter which is great if you are after information

And how is an online version better?

  • it is very cheap to produce and distribute, and is therefore more likely to be available for free
  • it can be finished just before a publication deadline – hard copies need more planning – so can be more up-to-date
  • it can link to relevant resources, expanded information and the publisher’s website
  • it can be kept very short by just having article excerpts and linking to the main article online
  • the link/pdf/email can be passed onto friends

As a general rule, businesses will pay more to advertise in your magazine than in an online or email newsletter because it is the more conservative and better-known option, and it is more permanent.

Email newsletters become popular very fast because they were cheap to produce and could be sent straight to people’s computers. However, there are now so many email newsletters available that people become overwhelmed and don’t read all the emails they get.  Additionally, there is so much spam flying around that legitimate newsletters and the like are often caught by spam filters and are not read.

So when contemplating what to do for your business, consider your budget, the purpose of your publication, what your market may like and how important it is for your newsletters to be read promptly. Remember, you can always do both or stop one if it truly isn’t working for you and your clients.

Newsletter or blog?

Many small businesses find it challenging to prepare content to fill a monthly (or weekly) newsletter, so adding a blog to their to do list makes them question the value of having both.

Although the value of each will vary with each business according to its client base and product/service range, the following points may help you decide whether a blog, a newsletter or both is the best solution for you.

Newsletter

  • it reaches people’s inbox so they are reminded of you without any extra effort on their part
  • most people know about email but a lot don’t know about or like blogs
  • maintain consistency if you have had a newsletter for some time
  • it can seem more personal and intimate as it is not generally available online; it is a one-to-one relationship between you and many people, especially if you personalise each newsletter with their name
  • can be quite short and link to articles/products/news on your site or in your blog
  • can attract advertising revenue – advertising on blogs is less common (although this is changing)
  • can be passed onto to other people – they may well read a newsletter but may not get around to clicking on a link for a blog

Blog

  • easy to include up-to-date information
  • entries can be very short or as long as you like – variety in length is good but a variety in newsletter length may not be so positive
  • if on your domain name, it can greatly impact on your site’s traffic and ranking
  • people can access older posts easily
  • people can comment and give you feedback; you can build a community
  • individual posts can be linked to by other sites and other pages within your blog/site
  • a younger demographic may relate well to a blog

If you decide to run your own blog and newsletter, you can save yourself some time by

  • using information from one to fill the other – for example, your newsletter can refer to a blog post. However, don’t overdo the repetition as some people will read both
  • using articles from Word Constructions or article directories such as Evan Carmichael (not all Australian)
  • inviting guest bloggers to write for you
  • write things in advance – fill newsletters or pre-date blog posts so that you aren’t faced with thinking of a topic and writing it the day it is due out

December newsletter

My newsletter has been sent out today. It is fairly short this time round – an article on file names, a correction of a bad writing example and a guest article about personalised gifts.

The Word Constructions newlsetter is also available online each month for anyone who wishes to read it but hasn’t subscribed.