Before addressing the subject of starting corporate newsletter business it’s important to understand the basics.
The most basic of these is the question of what is a newsletter. A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication generally about one main topic that is of interest to its subscribers. Newspapers and leaflets are types of newsletters. Many newsletters are published by clubs, churches, societies, associations, and businesses, especially companies, to provide information of interest to their members or employees. Some newsletters are created as money-making ventures and sold directly to subscribers. General attributes of newsletters include news and upcoming events of the related organization, as well as contact information for general inquiries.
So in order to get into the business there are several things that need to be known by you. First of all, you need not be an accomplished writer. However, you need to keep the following three things in mind.
1. A subject that is not being covered by other newsletters, or is not being covered thoroughly enough.
2. A specific market for your subject material. Unlike a magazine or newspaper which may require a circulation of 10,000 to over a million readers to achieve success, a newsletter can produce a nice profit with as few as 500 subscribers.
3. A continuing supply of material that you can draw from to provide readers with news, facts & feature articles, ideas, supply sources and other bits of information to round out each issue.
These are the basics. Naturally, you should be an authority on the subject on which you intend to report through your newsletter. You can draw from your knowledge and experience, of course, but in addition to this you should be a member of associations, clubs organizations in your field, subscribe to several magazines, newspapers (possibly other newsletters) and other material, all of which will help to provide you with an on-going stream of information for your own newsletter.
With regard to publishing the newsletter, there crops up the question of how frequently the newsletter needs to be published. Some newsletters are published monthly; a few are issued on a weekly basis. But until you work out the "bugs" and get yourself established in your particular field, it is advisable that you plan a QUARTERLY newsletter, publishing every 3 months. Thus, your newsletter will carry issue dates such as Jan-April-July & Oct. This will give you nearly three months between issues to gather material, write and layout the next issue. It is about three months because you'll have to allow at least two weeks (maybe longer) at the printer.
Coming down to the important aspect of valuing your newsletter material, there exist few points that should be given importance. When we talk about worth, we're referring to the value to a subscriber. It is surprising to learn that some subscribers pay $300 to $400 a year to get their hot little hands on vital information that keeps them abreast of current trends and shifts in their respective fields. In order to avoid the risk of either pricing your newsletter too high or too low, it’s best to, right from the start to set $24 a year as your bare minimum price. As time goes on, you might try $36--$48 or even $64 a year - but remember not to go to the higher extremes until you can establish some kind of projections on the next year's edition.
Finally, with regard to what should be in the newsletter, well, it’s up to you, it’s your newsletter, you can have anything as long as those material is moral, legal, ethical and useful to readers, just so it pertains to the subject and market for which it is intended. Few examples are given below,
EDITOR'S PAGE - Here's the place for your own opinions, viewpoints, and editorial comments about your subject or field. Say what you like or dislike about what's going on, what changes should be made, what the competition is doing, what happened at a seminar your recently attended. Also, ask readers for their opinions about what you are providing in your newsletter; what would they like to see covered; tell who's doing what. This is YOUR page. Make the best of it.
LETTERS FROM READERS - Eventually you'll be getting letters from subscribers, some congratulating you on your progress, others complaining about you or somebody else in the field. A few might ask questions or be looking for additional help and information that you haven't yet provided in your newsletter. These can be printed as-is (with the subscriber's permission) or edited to fit your space. They also give you needed input for additional features in future issues.
BOOK REVIEWS--NEW PRODUCTS - Aside from your newsletters, there are probably many other publications out there offering information in your specific field: new books, magazines, newspapers, directories, courses, audio/visual tapes and, yes, maybe other newsletters. Buy some. Subscribe, read, evaluate, digest and report on them in this spot. Include a special invitation to solicit additional publications to be featured in future issues. All publishers, manufactures and distributors want and need publicity for their wares, and this gives them a good outlet.
WHAT'S NEW--WHAT'S HAPPENING - This is where you report on the NEWS that makes your newsletter what it is. Include the latest innovations, changes in the law, new companies in the field, new ideas, new people, or anything that will help readers accomplish more in their field of interest.
GUEST WRITERS - If you see articles or columns in other publications by prominent people in the field, you can write to them and ask if you may reprint a particular article in your newsletters, naturally giving the author full attribution for their work. Some may grant permission if you allow them a plug for a book or service they provide.
USE YOUR IMAGINATION Use your initiative to include whatever you think readers want to know. Be concise, keeping all information brief and to the point as you make every issue informative, interesting, helpful and valuable so subscribers will want to file all issues for future reference, and renew their subscription year after year.