The easiest way to come up with newsletter article ideas, topics
by David Kandler
Editor’s Note: The author of this article, David Kandler, is founder, owner and president of CompanyNewsletters.com, an Internet firm that produces newsletters for companies throughout the United States. Learn more about how his firm can help your company produce printed and electronic newsletters.
One issue that company newsletter editors often struggle with is coming up with enough article ideas to fill the upcoming newsletter issue.
However, there’s a very effective way to organize and plan your newsletter content in advance, which makes it easier to plug in article topics when it’s time to do each new issue. This technique will also help ensure your company newsletter contains a variety of articles that are well balanced by topic, which will help your newsletter attract the widest range of interested readers.
Basically, this technique – which I always recommend to new clients of CompanyNewsletters.com – involves thinking of your newsletter’s contents in terms of regular sections that you want to feature in each issue. For instance, think of how a daily newspaper places its article into regular sections – world and national news, local news, sports, business, etc. – and contains a variety of articles in each issue to fill out each section. Every time you read a daily newspaper, you expect to find articles about these regular topics: national news, local news, sports and others.
Likewise, as editor of your employee or customer newsletter, you should think about what sections you want to include in each issue of your newsletter.
For instance, let’s say you are the editor of a quarterly employee newsletter for a bank that has many branch offices.
You might then come up with these sections for your employee newsletter, and feature at least one article in each issue that falls into each category:
- Headquarters news
- Branch office news
- Employee benefits news
- Sales tips for employees
- Educate employees about a new service we’re offering to customers
- Giving back to the community: volunteering or donations to charities
- Featured employee: Highlight an employee who has done something unique, interesting or admirable, whether on the job or outside of work.
- Employee service anniversaries
Once you have your newsletter’s regular sections figured out, then it’s easy to assign each to someone in your company who is in charge of coming up with an article idea for that section. For instance, the vice president of marketing may be in charge of providing a new sales tip article topic for each issue. The employee benefits manager may be the person who provides a benefits article topic for each issue. The bank’s branch managers may be asked to report the news from their branches for each issue.
Some regular sections may have multiple or rotating sources coming up with article ideas. For instance, headquarters news may be about one department’s news one issue, and another department’s news the next.
Then after compiling the story ideas from all sources within the company, the editor can easily come up with the following article line up for the next issue of the bank’s employee newsletter:
• Headquarters news: The information services and human resources departments want to announce that they will soon be implementing a new online timekeeping system for hourly employees. This article will give an overview of the system, explain the benefits and how it will be rolled out.
• Branch office news: Three branch managers reported news about their locations. The West Cleveland branch is expanding, with construction beginning next month. The University Heights branch recently won the company-wide sales contest to get customers to sign up for overdraft protection. An employee at the Aurora branch recently organized a weight loss challenge among several coworkers and they achieved great results.
• Employee benefits news: Human Resources wants to remind employees that the deadline for signing up for the 401k plan is fast approaching. Also, explain how the plan benefits employees when they reach retirement.
• Sales tips for employees: The marketing dept. wants to remind tellers and loan officers how they should always be suggestive selling when they are working with customers. Also re-emphasize the 4 tips that make suggestive selling easy to do.
• Educate employees about a new service we’re offering to customers: Operations reports that they will soon be offering an innovative new home equity loan program. Educate employees on how this new program works and what the benefits are to customers.
• Giving back to the community: Several headquarters employees volunteer once a month at a local food shelf. Feature these employees and why they enjoy helping others in the community.
• Featured employee: Susan Leach, a teller at the downtown branch, participates in several triathlons each year and recently finished among the top three in her age group.
• Employee service anniversaries: Human Resources will provide the list of 15 employees who are celebrating a milestone service anniversary (5, 10, 15, 20 years, etc.) in the upcoming quarter.
As you can see, the article line up includes a nice variety of articles, from multiple departments and locations, and includes a good mix of article topics that will appeal to employees at all levels.
When it’s time to do the next issue, the editor just simply repeats the process, soliciting story ideas from each person who is responsible for each regular section of the newsletter.
For more ideas on regular sections that you may want to include in your newsletter, see these articles:
To learn more about the author’s firm and how it can produce printed or online newsletters for your company, see http://CompanyNewsletters.com or call 952/892-6943.