August 13, 2013

How to Send an Error-Free Newsletter


If you want to publish a superior newsletter, you need a quality control process. There are so many ways in which a newsletter can have errors so it’s difficult to create an issue with no mistakes at all. That’s why it’s so important to check everything and assume nothing.

Below is a checklist similar to our own quality control process. I’m sure it will also work for you if you are using a bulk email service provider. If you aren't, you should seriously consider getting one.

Once you've finished assembling your newsletter, save it and make a copy to proof and edit.

Run the spell checker. Edit appropriately, noting if the software uses an American or Canadian dictionary.

Run the spam checker. Again, edit if necessary.

Send a test message to yourself.

When you receive that test email:
  • Scan the formatting and overall look. Is text spaced from borders and images? Are fonts used consistently throughout? Are the colours, images, borders and fills congruent with your brand?
  • Click on every hyperlink, including linked images. Wait till they load fully. Don’t get complacent – check them all even if they repeat from issue to issue.
  • Read and proof all the text for errors, including headlines and sidebar/footer content. Read it all, even the parts you don’t change from issue to issue. We strongly recommend you find someone else to do this step for you.
  • Double check things like dates, addresses and numbers for accuracy. They are so easy to muck up and so embarrassing to correct after the fact.
  • Proof your subject line too. I've seen lots of mistakes in subject lines and am guilty of it myself. An obvious error in your subject line will guarantee that your email gets deleted unopened.
After you have made all your edits, send yourself another test message. Give it a quick scan to proof all the changes you made during editing.

View your test message in different browsers. Sometimes there are differences that may cause formatting to look wonky in one and not others. (A message viewed in Internet Explorer will have small differences from Chrome and Firefox.)

All of this should only take you 15-45 minutes depending on the length and complexity of your newsletter. It’s definitely time well spent, especially following the time you've already invested to assemble the newsletter. People won't notice that it has no mistakes, but they'll sure take note if it does!

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