I’m working with a new client who wants to introduce a newsletter for his customers, and I thought the discussions we’ve been having might be of interest to other people. So here are just some of the points to ponder if you’re thinking of a newsletter (either print or electronic):

Purpose: What do you want the newsletter to achieve? How will you know it’s effective? Is there any behaviour you want to change or encourage? Why a newsletter over other forms of communication?

Content: What will make your publication really useful to your readers? What will make them look forward to it, open it, read it? What unique perspective or information can you provide that readers can’t get elsewhere? What are you the expert in, or what makes you different? Are there frequently asked questions you can answer, case studies you can share, survey results, conference recaps and so on? Think about your readers and their needs. Make sure your content addresses the reader’s unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?”

Appearance: How important are looks? Do you want something with colour and impact, that could stand up to a magazine in the newsstand? Or do you want to go the other way, more subdued, even bare bones, in keeping with the economy? Or something in between?

Timing: Is there a particular day/week/month you want to be sure to issue your newsletter? This will help you decide when to launch, and help you set up a schedule to make sure you meet your deadline, whether it’s quarterly (the minimum time recommended), monthly, weekly or even daily. And yes, you should work backward from your desired publishing date to figure out when you need to start and finish each issue.

As I say, these are just some of the things to think about. What other suggestions would you share with someone thinking about introducing a newsletter?