Quite frankly most newsletters, print or online, are rubbish. A waste of money and time. They don't achieve the return on investment they should or could.

Why? Because 999 out of 1000 are a mere reflection of the business, the association, the organisation; with a gorilla sized "me, me, me" mentality. The title newsletter is in fact a misnomer for most. They contain no news or items of real relevance. Rather, buy from us; look at our achievements; why you must have our service or product. Our staff. Over and over and over again in every issue. I can imagine you nodding your head in agreement.

The "me" strategy will appeal to a tiny fraction of readers that have a need at that time. Or because they are loyal fans. But for the vast majority, it's a "so, who cares? Why waste my time reading this?"

That's the problem. Time. In today's business environment, people are too busy, too overloaded. Texts. Emails. Facebook. LinkedIn. Minds and inboxes - both virtual and physical - are way toooooo crowded.

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Are you thinking "So what should we be doing? What is the main ingredient for success?"

I started one of the first online newsletters in New Zealand. Have a look at the current issue.

It has been running for nine years. Circulation has increased from the original 100 to over 20,000, primarily from word of mouth. Based on my experience there are several key facets to producing a newsletter that people will read, act upon and share. Brevity. Targeting. The correct format. Design.

However the single most important element of success is something that goes against the grain for most. I mean, why do people put out newsletters? It's mainly to get more business, Add goodwill and value to doing business with the company perhaps a second goal. Therefore it's hard not to toot your own horn continuously.

The answer to success - well you've heard it one thousand times before. It's about them. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. When commissioning or writing content, be one of your customers or prospects. What would you be interested in reading? Before penning my Business Quick Tips, I always pass my ideas through this filter: 1) Will it make them more successful in their life? 2) Will it be interesting to them personally? 3) Is it too much of a "me, me"? In other words how many articles or calls to action in one newsletter do I have about my company.

Think of the person as a whole, not simply a consumer of your goods or services. Do you have and use what industry they are in, what their position is. Their home, family, community life?

One of the most successful issues of our newsletter was when I included an article and a link to our children's rotating job chart.

It generated the most click throughs and new subscribers ever. You might think what is a business newsletter doing with this? I put it in because almost every person has some involvement with children and the business tie-in was the suggestion that it can be adapted easily to the business environment. Now I don't mean you should go running and throw recipes in your business newsletter all the time - but again think outside the square.