Publications & Enewsletters

Solving the mystery: who killed our newsletter?

newsletter killed mystery

Remember when we started it? It was so exciting. The company was finally going to let customers know everything that was important. Each department had to contribute something. Management agonized for hours over the name. Sales came up with key customers to profile. The graphic designer presented a breathtaking layout. Finally, 20,000 emails arrived on … Read more

Copyrights don’t give you a right to copy

copyrights confuse many

I was surprised to see a favorite non-profit had committed an illegal act. On the third page of a recent newsletter, they reprinted an item from Reader’s Digest. It was germane to their mission, and they kindly included a credit line. Still, they broke the law. Which law? Copyright law. Unless they formally obtained permission from … Read more

9 tricks for better proofreading

proofreading can be hard

Is proofreading important? Have you noticed the dramatic increase in the number of typos and other mistakes in materials produced by companies and organizations? I suspect it results from three factors: emphasizing haste over quality, relying on software spellcheckers, and unfamiliarity with spelling and language. Granted, the mistake someone at your company makes may not … Read more

Bullet points rarely hit the target

bullet points

When creating a website, a brochure, or an ad, many people believe the only thing that matters is the raw facts. “Nobody has time for fluff,” they insist. Given their insistence on using fact-based material, they choose to use brief bullet points instead of sentences and paragraphs. I won’t argue that bullet points are certainly … Read more

Talking to yourself is useless

One of my most successful projects began when I received an assignment to rescue a doomed newsletter for companies providing towing services to a motor club’s members. The newsletter wasn’t being read and the motor club didn’t understand why. It was full of valuable and important information, but nobody seemed to be paying attention, and … Read more

Copying without permission is theft

You’re responsible for your organization’s newsletter, and the other day, you read a great item in a magazine. It’s perfect for your organization’s audience, so you reprint it in your newsletter. If you didn’t get permission to do so, you’ve just broken the law. “Wait!” you protest. “I put the name of the magazine under … Read more


I miss the days when newspapers and other media wouldn’t publish a story until it had been edited and edited again. Sadly, expediency has supplanted accuracy, and shrinking budgets have eliminated the copy editors who dispatched typos and other errors from their writers’ dispatches. These days, the only thing protecting writers from themselves is their … Read more


One of the lessons I learned during my ad agency days was the value of a good “swipe” file. A swipe file is simply a file (or box) where you throw ads, articles, brochures – anything you like or think is particularly effective. When you were given a tough assignment, you’d sift through the swipe … Read more


What is a brochure? An ad? A radio commercial? A website? You get 5 points if you said they’re all marketing communications channels. But they’re also something more. You can’t be everywhere, and that includes everywhere your prospective customers are. So you develop materials such as ads and brochures to stand in for you. In … Read more


I once received an assignment to rescue a doomed newsletter for companies providing towing services to a motor club’s members. The motor club didn’t understand why it was failing. So we conducted a random survey of towing operators. What we heard was enlightening.  “I don’t read that rag. It’s nothing but PR for your company … Read more