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How to give your newsletter (or leaflet) a winning personal touch - and why it needs it (22 Mar 08)

If you send out any message to individuals without making it as personal as possible you are making a big mistake

They all benefit from a strong personal element … a “me to you” feeling, because people like to deal with people, individual people, not organisations. You don’t go into your bank and deal with “the branch”; you deal with individual cashiers.

Every printed message you send out is a just a substitute for the most powerful form of communication: one person talking to another. So don’t let your newsletters and leaflets be impersonal.

Your leaflet may not be like a letter, addressed to an individual person. It may not be from someone in particular. But you must do everything you can to add the personal touch – with chatty language and pictures of people.

Newsletters – which are letters, or should be – are unfortunately often just sent out unannounced, unexplained and presumably assuming that people are dying to read them. There is no feeling of talking to and involving the reader, and even less sense that the reader is being given a special inside information because they are part of a community.

A bit like being smacked in the face by a wet fish in fact.

This is ironic considering how so many newsletters purport to be keeping communities informed and involved so they can have a say in local services and projects.

It’s not a difficult thing to give your newsletter a personal touch. All you have to do is have a very prominent message in the form of a letter to your readers that introduces your newsletter’s content - and explains what’s in it that will interest them. The letter can be part of your newsletter, where it can’t be missed – on the front or in the first inside spread. It can be quite separate - a covering letter.

Nor is this expensive to do. Think of the effort and cost that goes into producing and sending a newsletter. You are already paying for them to be delivered, so including a letter in your newsletter or inserting one into the envelope won’t cost the earth.

The truth is, everybody likes to receive a letter. It’s that simple.

It’s a very personal form of communication and people respond to it. And to make it more personal, have the writer’s signature with their photograph.

You can summarise the newsletter’s content for the reader and draw their attention to articles in the newsletter you think will interest them.

Don’t worry that people will see a letter as a sales gimmick. And don’t worry about the length of the letter. The important thing is that you don’t just say, “Enclosed please find your newsletter”. This sounds unenthusiastic and dull.

Do use a handwritten signature and don’t worry about it appearing amateurish. Far too many communications are simply too slick.

So you can see what I mean I am attaching an example of a newsletter, which Kate Arnold of NDC Islington very kindly sent in. As you will see they have a personal message of the type I mean on Page 2>>

Here’s an alternative version for you to have a think about

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