Newsletter Dos and Don’ts

Newsletters are a great way to engage with your audience and to share information that is of interest to them. However, it’s important to have a strategy for your newsletter and to keep that strategy in mind when compiling content, formatting the messaging, and disseminating the information. Below are some best practices to consider when generating a newsletter.

The Dos


Keep your audience in mind

The key to good communication is knowing your audience. If you’re not appealing to their interests, you’ll lose them and it’s extremely difficult to get them back once that happens. Be sure to keep their interests in mind when developing your newsletter. Are you sending information you want to send, or information they want to receive? There’s a big difference. If you’re unsure what content is of interest to them, ask them!


Ask yourself if are you sending content you want to push, or content the recipient wants to receive

To help you determine what content is newsletter-worthy, research what others are doing in your industry and other popular newsletters that people subscribe to. What types of content are in them? Are they long or short? What is the overall experience like when reading it? What’s the focus of each article? If you’re finding some consistencies, chances are those are some good rules of thumb to follow.


Play the “why” game

Remember when you were a kid and you kept asking “why” after your parents would give you an answer to something? That’s what you should do when determining why you’re sending a newsletter and what content should be included. Make sure your content aligns with your overall goals. Otherwise, why are you sending it?


Keep it short!

A few short sentences to introduce your story is all that’s needed to hook the reader. If you include everything in the newsletter, it becomes lengthy and provides a poor experience for the reader (especially those that are reading on mobile devices!).


Use your own images

While stock photography is needed at times, it’s better to include your own images. The reader may recognize a familiar face enticing them to click to read more. Just make sure you have the subject’s permission prior to sharing the image.


Get a second set of eyes on it

It’s always a good idea to have someone proofread your newsletter prior to sending. Despite your best efforts, they may catch something you didn’t notice!


Make sure you have recipient permission

No one likes to be spammed, and why send something to people who don’t care anyway? To increase readership and decrease the number of unsubscribes, be sure you’re sending your message to those who want to see it. And be sure to check that you have permission to email the recipient list.



The Don’ts

Include everything!

It’s easy to make this mistake, but don’t include every word of every article. Just the visual of so many words on the page make it daunting for the reader. All you need to include for each story are a couple of short sentences to hook the reader along with a button encouraging them to “read more.” This gives the reader a taste of what each story is about without exhausting them by the first one.

Helpful hint: This also allows you to see what types of content people are clicking on so you know to include more of it in future editions.


Bury the leed

It seems counter-intuitive, but the hook for each story should be the final result. Much like a newspaper article, you want your stories to read like an upside-down pyramid: the most important information should be at the beginning, followed by less prevalent details. This way, if the reader doesn’t read the whole story, they at least got the most important bits.


Hesitate to ask for help

The PHHP marketing and communications team is well-trained for these things. Believe it or not, it’s what we do for a living! So if you have question on content, creating, formatting, or sending your newsletter, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at and a member of our team can help.