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January, 2008

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Putting Together The Corporate Newsletter
By  Karen Braynard

Corporate newsletters can hone writing skills and help expand your portfolio.
So, you’ve landed a client who’s interested in having you write their company newsletter. Now what? While cinching the deal is often the hardest part for writers, ensuring your newsletter meets your client’s expectations can mean the difference between a long lasting relationship or a whirlwind romance.

There are several things to consider when creating a company newsletter. Things like tone, content, layout, and headlines. Much of this will depend on how much input your client wishes to have. Some managers will give you carte blanche while others will want to write the whole thing, leaving you with simply editing and a pat on their back for their superb writing skills and creativity.

While talking with your client, ask straight out about the tone they’d like their newsletter to have. I like to think of tone as the mood of the company. Is it a formal workplace or casual? Are the employees playful or stuffy? Spending some time at their work center can be a real eye opener and help you establish the tone that works well for everyone. Also, if you’re writing for a small, local company, you might even have a chance to meet many of the employees. Believe it or not, this small investment of your time can pay big dividends when you’re able to really personalize the articles for and about the employees.

Most newsletter content is usually provided by the client. They will have their routine announcements, calendar events, policy information, and other specific things they want their employees to know about. Often, you will be asked to provide an article or two that might relate to a specific theme such as the time of the year or based on the corporate calendar. Some writers will provide their own articles and others will outsource based on their own knowledge base and the desires of the company. If you use material written by someone else, ensure that you have their permission to reprint.

As for layout, you may or may not be involved in this process. The more you can have control over, the more you can charge. If you are also responsible for the appearance of the newsletter, you’ll want to find out what your client feels requires the most important emphasis. Some businesses want to highlight their employees on the first page of the newsletter. This not only makes the employees feel good, it also helps to pull them in and encourages them to keep reading. And that’s what your client needs, a newsletter that gets read. However, some companies would prefer to grab their employees with an interesting article and intersperse the employee highlights towards the end of the newsletter.

Often, important calendar events are highlighted in a sidebar on the first page with routine events listed towards the back of the publication in calendar format or a bulleted list. A short table of contents on the first page is also a nice sidebar to help readers navigate to the things they want to read first (or last!).

Another thing your client might want to discuss with you is the delivery options of their newsletter. While many people like to have a physical newsletter to read at their leisure, many businesses are going to an online email format to get the word out.  If your client opts for an online format, let him know that this doesn’t mean he has to scrimp on graphics or formatting. There are several ways available to help provide a professional looking newsletter that is more than just the e-zine text format of old. One such tool that I have personally used is Constant Contact, which allows you to import your text into templates (that can be changed with ease) along with graphics and links to other online content.

If you are tasked for the whole print project, make sure you’ve partnered with a printer who has experience with newsletters and can also advise you on colors, graphics, paper quality, and size recommendations.

Another thing to remember is to keep to your deadline. Your client will expect your product on time as it is a routine document, and once the layout is determined all you will have to really worry about is the writing.
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Karen Braynard, a corporate writer and journalist, has enjoyed published success in several newspapers and magazines.  Thanks to her growing list of business clientele, she is now developing writing workshops to help her clients learn how to write for themselves, with Impact and Results!™.  Learn more at or email A networker at heart, Karen would love to hear from you.

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Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
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Bald Ego
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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