I write a monthly newsletter for a local Brighton social enterprise. It’s one of the favourite parts of my job as it’s as much about journalism as copywriting.

Each month, I meet the team to discuss what stories they think are relevant for their customers. It’s been a great process over the last year. They really know their clients and what they care about. They’ve been able to advise me on what sort of stories to write.

In return, I’ve been able to help them with suggestions on how to turn an unformed idea into a solid story, timing and how to present the content.

Share don’t tell

We aim to keep a balance between outright promotion and providing a useful service to the people who subscribe. We’ve discovered over time by studying the stats subscribers really don’t respond to being told about the latest ‘great’ bit of work the company have completed.

Instead the most popular posts are always those which offer a solution to a client’s problems.  So now, when we discuss the company’s excellent work, we describe how each project had a particular issue or difficulty and how they solved it. It’s a subtle difference but makes it more about sharing information than selling your company, a key message for all marketing these days.

We’ve also discovered by studying the page stats, how certain subjects always attract the biggest hits. As the newsletter editor, I have now signed up for a variety of websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts so I can capture the latest news on these subjects. As a journalist, I’m skilled at research and investigating new subjects, so that’s another part of writing newsletters which I love.

Don’t ditch your newsletter yet

Newsletters remain a useful way to keep in contact with your customers and an excellent way to market your company. Everyone who receives your newsletter will have subscribed to it, so you can be confident they want to hear from you.

They are delivered direct to your customer’s inbox and so is less likely to be missed than a Facebook post or Tweet. Many will save it to an inbox to read at a later date.

Be sure to inject some personality into your newsletter with a good mix of work related news and some personal stories about the people who work with you. Don’t be afraid to add some humour and images. It’s good to think of your newsletter subscribers as your biggest fans. Keep them that way with lots of useful information, behind-the-scenes info and a few special offers along the way.