WEB REVIEW: A succinct, smart newsletter emerges from e-clutter

Jim Cota
March 5, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Jim Cota

I get a lot of e-mail. It’s one of the occupational hazards of being in this industry, where everything we do is online in some form or fashion. While we’ve seen a tremendous growth of social media in the past few years, e-mail still reigns as king of business and personal communication. Many of you may decry this as being detrimental to the quality of communication, but the fact remains—for many of us, e-mail has simply become a fact of life.

To no surprise, companies have been using e-mail to communicate with customers and prospects for years. Everything from general correspondence to special events to items triggered by user behavior is standard fare in most marketing communications plans.

For you, these messages look like newsletters, sale and promotional announcements, or any number of other ways to increase engagement. Some may simply be functional, like order and shipping confirmations. At their worst, these messages are poorly written and boring. The best, however, feel like conversation.

I was reminded of this today while reading the Indy Spectator.

Of all the e-mail I receive (and remember, I get a lot!), this is one I make time to read. The Spectator’s aim is to inspire people to “discover new ways to love Indy.” Each message is a succinct mix of things happening in Indianapolis, big and small, important and everyday. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read of something about which I was previously unaware, each time coming away feeling like I know this city and its people just a little better.

To be clear, Indy Spectator is not the place to turn for critical reviews of any given topic. Since it aims to spread the word about great finds in Indy, its articles naturally tend to be positive. (If a writer has a bad experience, he or she simply doesn’t write about it.) The result is an upbeat collection of the best Indy has to offer. It’s well worth opening and reading.

Recent articles covered topics as diverse as the Earth House Collective, the best places in town to train (and treat) your dog, a review and visual tour of the Central Library, and a roundup of coming spring and summer concerts. Sign up on its website (www.indyspectator.com) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/indyspectator), where it has been highlighting “365 Ways to Love Indy.” 

Because it covers such a wide variety of topics, the articles are written by people with experience in individual industries. One cautionary note: You should know that the authors are occasionally involved, either directly or indirectly, with their subjects. The issue about the Earth House Collective, for example, was written by the executive director of that organization.

Still, the overall writing feels like one friend sharing a tip with another and the conversational tone seems to fit the aim of the publication.

There are a couple of marketing lessons here: If you’re not communicating regularly with customers and prospects, you really should be.

And, if you think you don’t have anything to say, you’re wrong. As I explained to someone recently, we all have expertise and unique experience. You know valuable things that you can share, and it’s the combination of expertise and experience that matters. Other people may know about engines or marketing or bird calls or whatever … but no one else has the same combination of knowledge and experience you do. You are unique, so the combination of what you know and what you’ve done is also unique. This is your voice; use it! (And be sure to let me know where I can subscribe!)•


Cota is creative director of Rare Bird Inc., a full-service advertising agency specializing in the use of new technologies. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at jim@rarebirdinc.com.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

  2. When the Indiana GOP was going around the State selling the Voucher bill they were promising people that the vouchers would only be for public charter schools. They lied. As usual.

  3. I am Mr. Morris Ray, a Legitimate And a Reputable money Lender. We lend funds out to individuals in need of financial assistance, we give loan to people that have a bad credit or in need of money to pay bills, to invest on business. Have you been looking for loan? you have not to worry, because you are in the right place i offer loan at low interest rate of 2% so if you are in need of a loan i want you to just contact me via this email Address: morris_ray123@outlook.com

  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.