Top 3 "don't do" points for
1. Don't ask your readers what they "like" about
your stories, design, or art.
2. Don't ask your readers what
they want to see in your newsletter. Really.
3. Don't ask people to think about
something they know nothing about.
Always ask your readers questions about YOUR goals for
your newsletter and never ask them to tell you what stories
you should run or what features you should have in the
newsletter. Your readers know nothing about the company's
goals for the newsletter. With rare exceptions, they can't
possibly make any suggestions of value.
If you do ask what they want, you will get answers that
won't be especially helpful such as: recipes, births,
want ads. But none of these work! Recipes are not company
news; management might not like to run births; want ads
are outdated too quickly. In addition, these answers do
not reflect what readers want. Instead they are just reflections
of what readers see in newspapers.
You can also get answers from people who don't understand
the local nature of a company newsletter. Some people
might suggest you write about the newest products from
Microsoft or the latest printers from HP. Those are two
good suggestions IF you are Microsoft and HP. Otherwise,
those stories should be left to media magazines like PCWorld.
In short, your readers have no earthly idea what you
should write about. They have never given it any thought.
Don't ask them.
Instead, ask your readers questions that relate to your
goals for the newsletter. If one of your goals is to get
people to know each other better (maybe to facilitate
inter department cooperation), then ask questions about
how effectively the newsletter covers that department.
Try to find out whether you have told their story in that
department and whether there is anything new that you
should be writing about.
People have no earthly idea about what you should run
in your newsletter. They've never given it any thought.
If you want new ideas for your newsletter, make a list
of communication problems in your company, then think
of how your newsletter can help. Or go back to your statement
of purpose and ask yourself what you can write about to
accomplish these goals.
Remember to include telling the history of your company.