For most people, producing a newsletter is not your main job description. Many people find it a fun and creative way to spend some of their workday. For others, it is often far down the list of those things to do each month. In fact, for some people, it can be quite a chore. Either way, it is often a challenge to find the time to put out a great looking and interesting newsletter.
And there is something that makes it different from some of those other monthly tasks—this one has a deadline! If you are finding that this deadline is looming and you are wondering how to get it all done in time, consider some of these ideas to make it easier each month.
Set a Realistic Deadline
You know when your newsletter has to go out—generally at the beginning of each month. Take a hard and critical look at how long it takes you to produce your newsletter. Of course, you have to tackle such tasks as writing content, laying out your newsletter, and printing. But don’t forget the other, sometimes time consuming tasks like proofreading, ad creation, verifying information, and delivery time. Use a checklist like the following to plan out how much time you’ll need:
|Solicitation of advertising
|Approval by others
|Total Hours Needed
Once you have your total, decide how many hours each day you can devote to working on your newsletter. You can then figure how many days you will need. The following examples illustrate this:
Total time needed in hours: 20 hours
Total time available each day for newsletter work: 4 hours
Total days needed: 20 divided by 4 = 5 days needed
Total time needed in hours: 12 hours
Total time available each day for newsletter work: 1.5 hours
Total days needed: 12 divided by 1.5 = 8 days needed
Since this is not the only task you will be handling in the last couple of weeks of each month, be sure to factor in extra time for interruptions, delays, and emergencies that will require your attention elsewhere. You might even want to add in a few hours to your total at the end, to ensure that you will really have the time you need to complete your newsletter on time.
Everyone’s total will be different. For example, if you write much of the content yourself, this will increase the time you need. If you use mostly articles written by NewsletterFillers.com, you will cut your production time. Printing or copying your newsletter yourself versus using a commercial printing service will affect the time you need.
Once you have figured out how much time you will need each month to prepare and distribute your newsletter, again add a buffer. For example, if you have figured out that you will need approximately 10 hours to complete your newsletter, and you will have about one and a half hours each day to work on it, you will need about 7 days to get your newsletter done. Then add three to five days as a buffer, depending on your situation and how flexible your time is. That way, if any situation arises that prevents you from getting to your newsletter, you will still be able to complete it in time.
Mark Your CalendarOnce you have a number of days figured out, you have a way to successfully schedule your newsletter production. Take out your planning calendar and mark each month with your newsletter production schedule. For example, if you have figured that you need 13 days to get your newsletter done, for a month with 30 days, you will mark the 18th as the day you will want to start your newsletter work.
Go through each month to the end of the year, and mark your calendar prominently. This can be a great motivational tool and a handy reminder to give yourself enough time to get your newsletter done.
Give Yourself a BreakWhat if you find that you never have enough time to fit it all in? It may be time to evaluate all of your responsibilities and see where your newsletter production fits in. If you never get your newsletter out on time, consider switching to a bi-monthly or quarterly newsletter. You may find that just taking some of the monthly pressure off helps.
You may also need more help. Is it possible to spread some of the work out? Using the services of a newsletter production company may be the key to freeing you up to do all of your other important tasks. This way, you will not spend those hours doing the actual design and layout work, and can instead focus on the other parts of newsletter production that are not so time consuming, like editing, writing, and distribution.
Using a filler article service, like that provided by NewsletterFillers.com, can cut your production time dramatically. It is incredibly time consuming to research, write, and edit articles. By using this service, you will be able to spend your valuable time on other tasks.
If you are mailing your newsletter to a large number of readers, consider outsourcing some or all of the mailing work. Mail preparation companies and many printers can fold, sort, label, stamp, and mail your newsletter for a fee.
Finally, look around you! You may find all the help you need in your work environment or home. By dividing up the task among several people, you can all do the jobs you like best and get it done in a fraction of the time. For example, you could have one person gather content, another do the layout, design, and printing, and yet another person could handle all the distribution or mailing to your readers. If you produce your newsletter from your home, often you can enlist the help of a family member. Children especially love to fold, sort, and stamp piles of newsletters. Or you may be able to find someone who is willing to work on an as-needed basis, whenever you find you really need the help of another person.