Email newsletters have been all the rage over the past 10-15 years. But what about the classic print newsletter? You know – the ones that used to arrive in a crisp envelope in your mailbox. Is it possible that a throwback to more traditional modes of marketing could hold the key to your success moving forward?
What is a Print Newsletter?
A print newsletter is a printed publication that is distributed on a regular basis, usually monthly or bi-monthly. It typically includes a variety of content such as articles, interviews, reviews, and other information of interest to the target audience.
Print newsletters can be focused on a particular topic or industry and can be used as a platform to share information, build a community, and connect with readers. Some of the most successful newsletters are focused on niche topics related to health, wealth, or wisdom.
Print newsletters can range from just a couple of pages all the way up to 40 pages or more. Some are written by a single person and are very personal, while others feature a collection of writers and journalists (similar to a magazine).
The Benefits of Having a Print Newsletter
Your precise reasoning for launching a print newsletter is highly unique to your own business goals and circumstances. However, here are a few of the general benefits most people see:
- Niche audience. A print newsletter lets you reach a specific and targeted audience with your content. This can be especially powerful if your newsletter is focused on a particular topic or industry (which is highly recommended, as general newsletters don’t perform nearly as well).
- Personal connection. If you want to create a tangible connection with your readers, there’s something powerful about putting a physical object into their hands. They can hold it, mark it up with a pen, and even smell it. These are things that are impossible to do with digital newsletters or content.
- Advertising revenue (potentially). While it doesn’t usually start out this way, print newsletters can evolve into a powerful source of advertising revenue. As your readership grows, other businesses and advertisers will gain interest in your newsletter and see it as an opportunity to get in front of your readers. This can lead to lucrative deals that help monetize your efforts.
- Branding: For many entrepreneurs, a print newsletter is nothing more than a vehicle for growing their personal brands. You can think of it as a megaphone for reaching people in a new way. While most brands went online to escape the saturation of direct mail in the early 2000s, savvy entrepreneurs find themselves going offline in today’s world of online saturation.
Designing Your Newsletter
When designing your print newsletter, consider the content you will be including. Will the focus be on text only, or will you also include images, charts and other graphical elements? It’s best to create a balanced newsletter design – one which is text-heavy but with splashes of graphics used sparingly as accents to break up the text and draw readers in.
When laying out each page of your printed newsletter, consider how best to use white space and consider using headings, bullets and varying font choices to draw readers’ eyes towards the most important points. Use professional layout software such as Adobe InDesign for setting up multiple pages.
Using color in your print newsletter provides visual interest and helps create a sense of identity for it – choose a color scheme that is suited to the tone of your publication; use appropriate fonts; do not use too many colors; make sure they are pleasant to look at; ensure there is enough contrast between foreground (text) and background colors.
Finally, printing type fonts also play an important role in engaging readers – large font sizes are usable but smaller ones can be difficult to read, especially on bright paper stock or if someone has vision trouble. Consider larger fonts for headlines followed by smaller-sized type for content boxes and sidebars.
Pointers for Launching a Print Newsletter
There’s no right way to start a print newsletter. In many ways, it’s a process of feeling your way through the dark until you stumble upon the approach that works best for you and your circumstances. Having said that, here are a few thoughts:
- Find the Right Printer
Choosing a printing company is crucial to your success. The right printing company can relieve a lot of stress from your “plate,” while a poor printing company can eat up hours and hours of your schedule with frustration.
A good printing company doesn’t just offer competitive pricing – they also provide high quality materials and reliable shipping. When vetting online booklet printing services, ask about the different binding options, paper choices, proofing processes, and whether or not they offer mailing services.
- Emphasize Quality Content
There’s no replacement for quality content. You can have great branding, a slick opt-in page, and an amazing newsletter name, but if the content doesn’t resonate with your audience, it’s all for nothing.
Your content should be practical, useful, and engaging. But more than anything, it needs to get people excited to read each issue. Try to write content so good that they run to the mailbox when it arrives and read it right away (as opposed to sticking it in the stack of “other mail” on the kitchen counter).
- Prioritize Retention
Subscription businesses are notoriously challenging because of the high churn rate. It’s not uncommon for 15 to 25 percent of subscribers to cancel each month. This means you have to add more than 15 to 25 percent per month in order to grow. Make sure you’re focused on both retention and new subscriber acquisition.
Is a Print Newsletter Right for You?
A print newsletter isn’t a good fit for everyone. Because you’re actually printing and mailing a physical object, it has more moving parts than an email newsletter or digital product. So if you’re looking for something that’s totally hands-off, this isn’t it. However, it can be a lucrative and creatively rewarding option for those who want to do things in a unique way.