I love my proof-reading company, I really do. It does an excellent job with my customer newsletters.
It also sends out a monthly newsletter. Good on 'em.
But you know what? I don't read it.
Here's why: it's almost solely about grammar and proof-reading. And, to be frank, I'm not all that interested in grammar and proof-reading.
That's why I use a proof-reading service! So I don't have to bother with it.
This company probably thinks that the newsletter has to be about grammar and proof-reading because that's its business – it needs to prove it knows all there is to know about grammar and spelling.
Yes, it's important to include something that shows your expertise, but remember rule #1: write about what your readers are interested in.
If I were editing this newsletter, I would do the following:
Think about who my typical reader is. Maybe it's a busy person in the communications department of a medium-sized company who is responsible for reports, letters, brochures and the like. She is probably very busy but is looking for ways to do her job better. She'd like to find shortcuts and ways to make her documents read better and look better. She'd like her life to be easier – and her boss to be happier.
So what kind of information would make her life better? Maybe…
- Reviews and links to sources of high-quality, reasonably priced images
- Information about which fonts look great in an annual report
- How to make a graph really quickly in Excel
- How to construct a document that is easy to read
- How to write headlines that attract readers
- How the proof-reading company is able to turn documents around so quickly (a view under the hood)
- How the proof-readers are able to find errors in a document that nobody else can find
- Tips from other customers about writing and editing documents
A lot of these articles still relate to proofreading. But they also provide useful information that helps the reader do her job better.
They make her life easier.
This newsletter would be a lot more readable than one that's mainly about the difference between "may" and "might" and the correct use of the apostrophe.