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Janet Roberts

'Right' Format Might Be Hybrid
By Janet Roberts

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I miss the Industry Standard's email newsletters, produced until early 2002, in part because they had what seemed to be to be an ideal format for a multi-story newsletter.

Each text-format newsletter came in three parts: The lead story, contained entirely within the newsletter, followed by a section listing headlines, story summaries or opening paragraphs and links to several related stories at the Web site and another section listing only headlines and links to stories on other topics, also at the Industry Standard site.

The newsletter crammed a lot of information into a relatively small space without overwhelming the daily reader. It also struck a good balance -- it delivered enough valuable information for readers who didn't have the time, inclination or ability to run to the Web site and gave those who did plenty of reasons to wander onto and around the site.

Another nice feature: This format works well whether you publish in text or HTML, but it's particularly handy in corralling text content.

This format, really a hybrid of the three major newsletter formats discussed in the previous Ezine-Tip, seems like an ideal choice, if such a thing exists:

  • You satisfy both the scanners and the read-it-all-now crowd.

  • You keep them in the newsletter long enough to let any advertising make an impression before sending them to the Web site, giving the advertisers who buy both newsletter and Web ad space extra chances to sell the reader.

Of course, nothing's perfect. You risk losing both the readers who don't want to or can't go to your Web site and the scanners who will find even the limited amount of copy from your main story too much to wade through on a busy day.

Most importantly, the "right" format depends on your unique publishing needs, your content and what your audience needs or wants to do with it.

I'll talk about managing a format change in a future Ezine-Tip. In the meantime, you can review that previous Ezine-Tip here: "3 Newsletter Format Alternatives: Pros, Cons and Considerations"

Ezine-Tips for March 31, 2003

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