Make it fit to print

At some point, you may get the job of putting out your organization’s newsletter. It doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, a well-done newsletter could become a hot item for your readers. And that would make you a hot writer.

What makes an audience perk up when your newsletter arrives? Let’s look at some tips from CB Insights, which has about 422,000 subscribers to its newsletter.

Here’s what CB says about its publication: “We mine terabytes of data and knowledge contained in patents, venture capital financings, M&A transactions, hiring, startup and investor websites, news sentiment, social media chatter, and more. Our software algorithmically analyzes this data to help our clients see where the world is going tomorrow, today.”

Yeah, it’s that exciting. And yet people can’t wait to sign up. Here’s how CB claims it got so popular:

  • Consistency. The company gets the newsletter out on schedule every time. They don’t make excuses about “computer issues” or getting tied up in meetings.
  • Good subject lines. If the headlines are bland, nobody’s going to get into the meat of the newsletter. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone (and thus putting everyone to sleep), the writers try to come up with something readers will love — or even hate. Just so long as they are not indifferent.
  • Solid content. CB tries to bring facts to areas (tech, trends, venture capital) where people generally BS.
  • No pandering. The CB writers call it as they see it.
  • Write like human beings. No leveraging synergies to transform transformations.
  • One weird trick. Find the things people say in your industry but never say out loud. Every industry has these tribal secrets. “So when a VC or startup talks about ‘changing the world,’ or when corporations talk about ‘open floor plans’ and ‘visiting Silicon Valley to disrupt themselves before a startup does,’ most folks roll their eyes (as they should). We just make fun of that inane BS in our newsletter.”

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