Grab a pen and a piece of paper (we’ll wait). Draw the following: Two large circles side by side, connected with a straight line. Now, draw another circle around the entire thing.
If you’ve done this correctly, you’ve got something in front of you that looks more or less like an old fashioned barbell sitting on top of a pancake. (If you’ve done this incorrectly, you’ve got something that looks like two hippos connected by a rope, trying to swim to shore.)
In any case, and believe it or not, within this simple diagram lies the secret formula (shhhhh) to publishing a successful E-Newsletter. These four elements – two circles, a straight line, and an all-encompassing circle – should be top of mind whenever you sit down to write your newsletter.
Here’s what I mean:
- The right hand circle represents your target audience. These are the people with whom you wish to communicate. Presumably, since the purpose of publishing your newsletter is to attract more clients and more business, the target audience is people who “look like” your ideal client.
Notice that I said ideal client – not vague demographic group or mishmashed compilation of anyone who could theoretically hire you. This is the person who, if the phone were to ring at this very moment and you could decide, would be on the other end of the line. Write for his/her benefit.
- The left hand circle represents the things you know that are valuable to your target audience. Your knowledge from their perspective. Nobody wants more e-mail, and the only way your target audience is going to read your newsletter month after month, is if they view what you’ve got to say as essential; something that helps them do their jobs better or live their lives easier.
If you’re a recruiter, it might be insights into finding and hiring great people. If you’re a plumber, it might be tips and perspective on maintaining the plumbing in a home. You get the idea: Information in your area of expertise that your target audience needs.
- The line between the two circles represents the content of your E-Newsletter. Each time you publish, a little piece of what you know travels from your circle, down the line, to the target audience. Not too much at a time… just enough to help them today and keep them coming back for more.
- The all-encompassing circle represents your voice and personal perspective. This is the piece that is usually missing. And while it’s certainly essential to provide valuable information to the right audience, if that’s all you do, you’ll have trouble ever positioning yourself as an expert with a discernable style.
Certainly, as a professional in your field you need to know the basics. But that’s not what gets you hired, and it’s definitely not what makes people go out of their way to track you down. It’s your authentic voice and “let the chips fall where they may, this is what I think” point of view, wrapped around the useful, on target information, that will have them lining up outside your door.
One last point and then I’ll leave you and your hippos alone. Notice that I haven’t said much about you and your company. Sure, you talk about what you know to a group of people who may one day need your services. And absolutely, you’re only publishing your E-Newsletter for the sake of growing your business. And you betcha (you betcha?), you ought to include your logo, your contact information and a brief statement about what you do in each issue.
But all that said, your readers don’t read because they care about you (yet). They come for the information, they get to know you through your voice and perspective, and one day, when they suddenly recognize a need for what you sell, the light bulb goes off, and you get the call.
I’d be lying if I told you it was anything less than magical.