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What do skywriting and Valentine's Day in Asia have in common? (E-Newsletter Writing).

I was recently interviewed by a writer working for InternetVIZ, a custom publisher and producer of a number of its own online newsletters (with a combined circulation of 250,000!). The reporter, Tamara Halbritter, at one point asked me the difference between print newsletters and online ones. My answer included the observation that online newsletters are "more fleeting" that readers retain much less those reading print newsletters.

I said, "Online newsletters remind me of the old airplane skywriting. Both have pretty short half-lives." I advised that online newsletter writing must be even more succinct than print newsletter writing and that online writing should be concrete, graphic, and gripping.

Halbritter seems to have followed my advice with this very engaging opening of the resulting online article:

"Back in the 1920s, on a partly sunny day, you may have looked into the blue sky and saw the first skywriting message from Major Jack Savage, 'Hello, U.S.A.'

"While most of us are too young to remember the hey-day of skywriting from Jello-O to AC Spark Plug ads, we all have received another form of communication with an equally short half-life, online newsletters."

With a little research, Halbritter was able to craft a graphic scene sure to capture the otherwise fleeting attention of her online readers.

Do Asians Celebrate Valentine's Day?

That's the provocative subject line in an e-mail alert sent out last week by Multicultural Marketing Resources Inc. I admit I had never given the subject any thought, but I found myself drawn in immediately to read the message.

Editor Lisa Skriloff succinctly described how Japan, China, and Korea "have their own holidays for celebrating lovers."

The purpose of the e-mail was to alert readers, who are marketers, about the Asia Link Consulting Group. It concluded by quoting Asia Link president Wanla Cheng:

"Asian Americans are a very diverse ethnic group. They have different traditions and observe different holidays. It is important for marketers to understand and be sensitive to their individual customs and traditions when planning promotions and ad campaigns targeted to each group."

The hook

The point of these two examples is that in both articles the rather mundane advice they. offer comes after a compelling and engaging opening--in the first case a picturesque scene and in the second a provocative subject line and interesting overview of how Asians show their love for each other.

The operative words here--for that fleeting online communication--are engaging, concrete, compelling, provocative, and interesting. Make them the mantra of your online newsletter writing.

And that includes, of course, traditional newsletter writing of "get-right-to-the-point" headlines (or subject heads) and lead sentences proclaiming breakthrough news, analysis, or opinion.
COPYRIGHT 2003 The Newsletter on Newsletters LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Swift, Paul
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Feb 15, 2003
Words:442
Previous Article:Twelve proven newsletter renewal techniques, part 2. (Renewals).
Next Article:Renewal telemarketing can work for newsletters. (DM Notebook).


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