Why will your readers want a newsletter from a Christian Site ? What is it that makes them want to read? Understand these questions and you’ll understand what to put in the newsletter and how it can help you achieve what you want from the newsletter. In the other articles in particular Newsletters for Christian Sites we looked at how to understand your reader. This understanding is important to your success.
Hopefully you’ll have thought about all the characteristics of your readers, age, kids, job, friends etc and will have a good picture of your reader in your mind. Now with that in mind you need to start to think about what it is they want to read and why. If you have a Christian site then clearly you’re expecting them to have a Christian interest. However that doesn’t have to be the whole purpose of the newsletter. Think for a minute about the people and what you’ve learnt. Do the magazines and papers they read solely talk about God and the type of thing you might expect on a Christian Site or do they cover other topics?
Other topics are often overlooked by Christian Site owners. People are people, they are not saints, they are flawed and don’t have a focus all the time on God. Instead they care about music, are, the local community, politics, pets, schools and so on. There is nothing worse than the same prayer letter in many different guises. Instead you need to write about what interests the readers. Sure they’ll expect you to give a Christian twist and more, perhaps something to challenge them but making it related to something day to day.
A good place to start to find interesting topics is by looking at what people are watching on the TV. Shows like X-Factor have a huge following at certain times of the year and commenting on it from a Christian perspective will make great reading. Don’t fall into the trap of making it a piece that takes a high moral standpoint because your readers won’t find that interesting. They watch these shows for light relief. They know they aren’t perfect, that people say inappropriate and un Godly things but after a hard week they are tired. They don’t want you telling them how bad they are. Lighten up!
Other places to look for good material are in the magazines and papers that people are reading. After all if they are buying the magazine then it’s likely they are interested. Perhaps you can dig out the Christmas lunch making timings or how to pack effectively for that holiday. These things interest people and they always open up opportunity to bring your Christian site perspective.
So a quick checklist to finish, here are some places to look for material to put in a newsletter to make it interesting:
Find the latest high viewer number TV programmes you can find the latest figures on the BARB – Broadcasters Audience Research Board website
Look at the Magazines for common themes, some of the current best sellers are :
|What’s on TV||IPC||1,421,645||-5.8%|
|TV Choice||H Bauer||1,390,376||+8.1%|
|Take a Break||H Bauer||1,009,795||-5.9%|
|Reader’s Digest||Reader’s Digest||709,152||-4.7%|
|Saga (mainly subs)||Saga||657,264||+17.8%|
You can find more information on sites like Mag forum (note the TV interest).
You can find the top selling books at Amazon by simply Googling “top selling non fiction” and then clicking on the results link.
You can find trends in YouTube which shows you the current views.
Similarly you can watch what’s trending on Twitter. It’s worth noting though that with YouTube and Twitter you should not pick things that’ll date too easily since these trends tend to be “of the moment”
Finally you can look at news sites like the BBC. They have lists at the side in the news section showing the most popular stories.
There are lots of other ways to find interesting content, e.g. Google publishes trends for the year, but the key thing is to thing about what will work coming from a Christian site. A review of FHM (a lads mag) is probably not what you would expect or want from a Christian site but some thoughts on X Factor and perhaps holding a Christian vote on the winner might be just the thing!