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Perspectives Blog: Blog Posts

What Makes a Newsletter Relevant

Friday, October 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catherine Roman
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Editor’s Note: In the spirit of a new school year, we will feature articles written by the next generation of public relations professionals. Many of you teach and have already seen the thoughtful insights offered by students. For those of you who haven’t, now’s your chance.


Students, want to learn more about the industry? Reach out to our student relations committee to learn how you can get involved in PRSSA and PRSA. Students involved in PRSSA gain access to professional development opportunities, scholarships, the opportunity to be published and more.


By Rachel Oehlke 


The key to a successful newsletter is avoiding the users junk inbox. Simple, right?

Of course the goal is to have everyone reading your newsletter, but it's not that easy. There are several necessary steps to make a newsletter relevant to readers. The person, company or service sending a newsletter should not assume that everyone wants to read their content. Sorry to say, but not everyone cares about what you're doing.

Reaching the right people

The foremost important part of a newsletter is reaching the appropriate audience. Time and research must be dedicated to finding the target audience and segmentation must be done from there.

Speaking as someone who receives and deletes multiple junk emails per day, don't waste your time or money on a reader that doesn't care. Sending out emails to the wrong audience is like bringing meatloaf to a vegetarian dinner. It's wrong, people will get mad at and you will look ignorant.


Following the rules

The next important part that ties with the importance of reaching the appropriate audience is reaching the audience that signed up to hear from you. Ask permission in some shape or form before you go blasting out emails to users that didn't ask for them. That's how you make people mad and build a bad reputation for your brand.

Share information that matters

In addition to reaching the appropriate audience, you need to make sure your content is relevant. That may sound similar to finding the appropriate audience, but there is a difference. If you're a website that helps people find apartments to rent, then targeting college students would be a good place to start. However, if you send your newsletter out to every student on a campus, that isn't going to work. Commuters, homeowners or people already renting are not going to care.

When content is not relevant to someone, they ignore it. They will ignore it the first time, the second time, and every time after that. Further, if the newsletter becomes one-sided and only talks about the organization, the audience is going to disengage.

Format the right way 

Something that adds to a bad reputation is sending out newsletters that don't open properly. Don't let all of your research and time spent on creating a newsletter go to waste because you didn't format the images or text properly.

Another thing to watch out for is the regulations for email size set in place by email servers. Being clipped means that email servers can't comprehend an email larger than 102 kb, according to 
Liza Darwin and Casey Lewis. Too many pictures or too long of a newsletter sends a message to servers that it may be spam and the newsletter then gets clipped. This affects the open rate and makes it appear as if a significantly lesser portion of the audience is opening your emails.

Don't be clingy

Lastly, frequency and creativity play vital roles. Don't email too often. Email only the necessary amount to avoid annoying the reader. Creativity of the layout may seem like the obvious option to stand out from the crowd and draw attention, but that's not exactly the case. Creativity is important, but content and readability are more important.

This blog post informed by 
Chris Baggott and Ali Sales "Email Marketing By The Numbers." Accessible through the University of Minnesota Library Reserves.

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