TRO is spending this week exploring the possibilities of well-crafted travel agency newsletters. Yesterday, we discussed how your editorial mission would help select and give voice to your content. Quality content is the heart of a newsletter. Good content can make up for poor design, but even the most exquisitely laid out newsletter cannot overcome poor content.
While you may choose to include information on your agency, your clients want information that benefits and educates them. Thus, the person in charge of writing your newsletter or choosing the content must be extraordinarily familiar with your readership. The same person should be in charge of the newsletter each publication date to ensure continuity and a familiarity of voice.
Certainly a client-centric perspective is essential, and so is an authentic voice – the tone and personality of the writing style. Your readers don’t want impersonal, bland writing, no matter how perfectly crafted. They want passion, they want personality and they crave style. Each of these characteristics should flow from your own personal sense of the importance of travel in their lives. The more clearly your true personality is on display, the better you are able to form a genuine relationship with your readers.
Like all relationships, a newsletter should never be one-way communication. From the earliest days of publication, letters to the editor and guest columns appeared as ways of further engaging readership. Speak to your readers in such a way as to invite dialogue. Never talk down with jargon filled prose, but rather talk with your readers, solicit their opinion and keep alive your own sense of inquiry.
A good newsletter will invite feedback. In some instances that feedback will be in the form of comments visible to all readers, such as on a blog. At other times, feedback may involve emails from readers. In either case, the same editor that chooses the content should also be closely involved with the process of addressing reader comments. Feedback is an opportunity to fine-tune the editorial voice and the content selection, making sure that the entire newsletter continually addresses the needs of the readers.
Indeed, you will want your newsletter to be as interactive as possible. Each interaction with a client is an opportunity to better engage that reader in your company’s brand. Inviting your readers to take short, interesting surveys or to submit letters or questions to the editor or experts in your agency is an excellent way of engaging your audience in a newsletter and to create a sense of continuity from edition to edition as you publish answers and results. Your clients will feel a part of the greater community with your agency at the center.
If you are not receiving feedback on your newsletter, there is a good chance that your content is not commanding the attention you desire. Periodically, ask clients for direct feedback on your newsletter. Ask them when you are booking travel or when you are delivering documents if they are receiving the newsletter and whether they find it useful. Do not hesitate to ask what types of articles they would like to see or what information they would find most useful. Again, involving your clients in the process of crafting your communications means a more precisely targeted and effective newsletter will result.
Tomorrow – Tips for a Stronger Newsletter