Newsletters – keep it short and keep it punchy

7 April, 2021

During a recent Clubhouse conversation I was able to discuss the pros and cons of newsletters.

This seemingly archaic form of communication in a world dominated by fast-paced social media platforms still has the ability to cut through the noise and help support the development of business relationships.

In lockdown newsletters have proved to be particularly resilient, kickstarting useful conversations with potential clients and collaborators – a point made by Amos Goldreich on the Clubhouse discussion – with no marginal cost.

The following tips come from a range of individuals who took part and shared their years of experience with this particular type of marketing.

Audience

Newsletters should be written with a particular audience in mind as they are a very direct form of communication. Focus on delivering value to them. You could potentially damage your reputation if you demonstrate a lack of awareness about your own contacts and what they want to know about your business.

The RCKa newsletter is brightly coloured and nicely laid out. A simple scroll takes you through a series of announcements and there’s usually something about the team at the end. The content seems to have been created for a carefully cultivated audience but the information is extremely accessible and jargon-free.

Identity

It is important to think about the types of projects you want to promote. There is no point drawing attention to work that you are no longer interested in doing.

You can also use newsletters to communicate the office culture and provide a sense of personality behind the business but don’t overdo this – no one is interested in every picnic/ quiz/ studio visit.

shedKM has opted to send out a short and punchy newsletter, which is always topped by their signature yellow branding. They offer just one item to consume, with links back to their website if you want to read more. It’s extremely effective.

Knowledge

Having the confidence to ‘give away’ knowledge and industry insight is a great way to strengthen the perception that you are an expert in particular sectors. It also can often prompt follow-up conversations if people would like to discuss potential solutions to shared issues.

This can take the form of a micro-opinion piece within the body of the newsletter, or as a brief overview that links back to a longer article on you own website.

Matter Architecture used to send out short opinion pieces that gave a real sense of what the practice is up to. This has mantle has been taken up recently by Archio, who impart nuggets of wisdom about the UK housing scene.

Timings 

Senior members of the team can sometimes fret that certain projects and news items are too old for a newsletter and have already been viewed a lot.

These fears are often unwarranted – in reality, people won’t find information until you direct them to it – and the newsletter provides an opportunity to curate information as a mini digital publication where you have complete editorial freedom.

It’s also a good idea to have a regular schedule for releasing newsletters but remember that your external audience is not monitoring these exact timings. It is better to delay certain editions if it means that there is some really interesting content available. Don’t fall into the trap of producing boring newsletters just to suit internal deadlines.

 

Rob Fiehn is a London-based freelance communications consultant, dedicated to professional and cultural activities within the architectural community.