Have you ever wondered what happens when your cooperative or agribusiness' newsletter hits farmers’ mailboxes? In the perfect world, they read it cover to cover. More likely, they thumb through it looking for articles that interest them.
So what can you do to beef up your newsletter so farmers take the time to sit down and read it? Following are a few helpful tips to increase your newsletter readership.
1. Talk to farmers about something that is important to them.
Focus on information that’s different or newsworthy. Be specific. Make it worthwhile.
|Instead of this …||Try this…|
|“It’s time to think about spring applications …”||Include a list of the three applications that are especially important this year.|
|“Count on us for all of your energy needs …”||Talk about the financial advantages of fuel contracts or discounts|
|“We’re ready for your grain this harvest …”||Spell out specific steps your co-op is taking to get farmers’ trucks dumped and back to the field faster.|
You get the idea. Remember, printing a newsletter is more than just an obligation you have to fulfill every few months. Rather, it’s an opportunity to communicate something of value to co-op patrons. Here's a list of topics that you can get some ideas from.
2. Include photos … especially photos of people.
When you pick up a newspaper or magazine, your eyes go right to the photos. Same is true with your newsletter. By including new and interesting photos, you draw readers in—increasing the chances they will read the accompanying article. Here are a few ways to make sure your photos get noticed.
- Include people, and identify them in a caption.
- If possible, show people in action rather than staged photos.
- Avoid using mobile phone photos, as they don’t typically have enough data to reproduce well in a printed newsletter. A simple pocket camera retailing for less than $100 will give you far better quality.
3. Use strong headlines.
Like photos, a good headline will draw people in to your story. Use this little exercise to help zero in on the best headline:
Write at least five headlines for your story. Anything goes.
Try a “how to” approach. Use numbers if possible. Be clever if appropriate.
Then walk away … and come back in 30 minutes.
More often than not, the best headline will jump out at you. If not, go back to the keyboard.
4. Mix it up
In today’s world of smart phones and tablets, people are accustomed to short, succinct messages. So if your newsletter looks like a newspaper—with column after column of words—you run the risk of having your content come across as a bunch of gray matter on the page.
Solution? Break up your content with different sorts of information.
- Use bulleted lists like this one. Skimmers are drawn to lists.
- Add infographics, which are visual interpretations of facts or statistics.
- Include sidebars or small, boxed items that provide important bits of information about events, incentives or special offers.
5. Ask your reader to do something.
In marketing terms, this is your “call to action.” At the very least, this can mean ending articles with “call now,” “visit our c-store” or “check with your agronomist.” And when you suggest those actions, include phone numbers or email addresses. Make it easy for the reader to contact your co-op.
In a broader sense, think of your entire newsletter as one big “call to action” … asking farmers to do more business with your cooperative. Make sure each issue of your newsletter demonstrates how your co-op adds value to farmers’ operations.
Looking for help making your newsletter even better? Check out our e-book, 6 Best Practices in Agri-Marketing & Communication. You’ll find great info on page 6, “NEWSLETTERS: Sharing Your News … in a Format That Gets Noticed.”