I’m betting that this Christmas, like me, you got a fair few ’round robin’ newsletters. And I am equally confident that they have a mixed reception in your home. I get the most amazing ones sharing news, photos, the year’s highs and lows. And some which are so sickly sweet they are the postal equivalent of double helpings of Christmas pudding.
As you might expect, I’m all for communication, and actually have taken the plunge with Christmas newsletters for friends for a good few years now – but I stick to the same rules for our own domestic newsletter as I use for client news.
Here are my rules for a newsletter that won’t need a sheepish apology:
- In fact, that’s the first point. Manage expectations. So many that I get begin “After years of fighting the Christmas newsletter, I’m sorry but I decided to write one…” Don’t start with an apology. Your friends will be glad to hear your news.
- Think about your audience. Will your mates from 20 years ago, really be interested in your child’s grade 2 piano exams? Write about the things you would discuss if you were having a chat.
- Try not to be 100% saccharine about your world. Honestly, a degree of modesty (and lets face it, reality) is far more palatable than total smugness.
- Use photos. Lots of them – and of you/ your family where possible. And caption them.
- Be selective about who you send them to. Indiscriminate mailing is unnecessary and can be embarrassing. It’s not right to send them to your neighbours or employees/clients (too much information), or indeed, to your siblings/parents (that’s way too impersonal).
- Send them each year. If you make them interesting, your recipients will look forward to their annual update, especially if they are friends whom you only occasionally see.
- Check punctuation, spelling and sense – preferably, get someone else in your family to check it for you. That ‘sense checking’ will make sure what you have written, comes across as you had hoped.
And finally, I like to handwrite the recipient’s name at the top, and my name with a short personalised message at the end… these might be standard letters, but I want the recipient to know they are very much in my thoughts.
I’d love to know what you think about the Christmas newsletter… do you love them or loathe them?