lady looking at laptop

When you create a newsletter the means of delivery matters.  It’s rare for newsletters to be produced as a physical paper production today for all kinds of reasons, not least the environmental impact.  That means most emails are delivered digitally.

The question is do you create a smart pdf document or put the content directly into an email? 

It’s possible to create a pdf document using either Word or a desk-top publishing application.  This can then either be attached to an email and/or loaded onto the website for people to view.

I’m not a fan of pdf newsletters for a number of reasons:

  1. To access them your reader has to actively do something – more clicks required = fewer readers. People are astonishingly lazy!
  2. If they’re on your website, that means even more clicks. Also a pdf does nothing for your SEO as search engines don’t read pdf files.
  3. There’s a danger of laying out a pdf more like a newspaper with articles alongside each other, making it easy for the reader to miss key information as they scroll down whatever they started reading. Also columns don’t work on a screen.  The smaller the screen the harder they are to manage!
  4. When was the last time you tried to read an A4 sized pdf on your smartphone? I rest my case!

The most popular way to deliver newsletters is to subscribe to one of the many email marketing platforms like MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, Mailer Lite, Get Response, or something similar.  Some of these have a free option, but it’s very much a case of you pay for what you get and the paid version has more facilities and tools to use.  If you’re serious about your marketing it’s worth the few dollars (and it usually IS dollars) a month they cost.

The advantages of using these platforms are:

  • They have templates that make your newsletter look professional
  • You can set up a template to reuse over and over so your newsletter has a consistent look and feel
  • It’s usually easy to create a flexible layout to include separate items, snippets, images and forms
  • You don’t risk getting your email address disabled for spam as these platforms are set up to send high volumes of mail (whereas your own email client will quickly get flagged as spamming if you send a multiple recipient list)
  • Your message is instantly visible when someone opens the email so no barriers between your message and your reader.
  • The platform

Some of these providers also have the option to add tags so that, if the reader clicks a specific link in the email they are automatically moved to a different list where they’ll receive more relevant information.

So the moral of this tale is don’t attach your newsletter – deliver it.