Robert F. Abbott

Article Summary:

Tips on naming your newsletter, with an example.

Naming Your Newsletter

What’s in a name, a newsletter name? When I wrote a plan for my e-mail newsletter, developing a name was a critical part of the planning process.

To develop it, I used a strategic approach. In other words, worked backward from my objectives to produce a newsletter name that would help me achieve those objectives. Of course, you might also consider other methods…

Other Newsletter Name Methods
For example, the two-column menu method. Take a word from Column A, let’s say the company name, and a word from Column B, perhaps one of the standards like Gazette, or Chronicle, or Times. That gives us a utilitarian newsletter name like The Acme Gazette (assuming Acme is the company name).

Then there are reader contests. They work well for employee newsletters and member newsletters because readers get involved, making them feel they’re part of the newsletter.

Or how about the clever method? Using brainstorming and creative thinking; the outcome a clever play on words or concepts.

And, then there’s the benefits approach, a good tactic for customer newsletters. Take the product name plus a word or phrase that describes its most important benefit, and you’ve got a high-potential newsletter name.

The Strategic Newsletter Name Method
I decided, though, to use the strategic approach, which builds on objectives, and that seemed appropriate since this newsletter would explore the strategic side of organizational communication.

The newsletter has three objectives:

1. Supporting sales of my book, A Manager’s Guide to Newsletters, by directing readers to the book’s website,

2. Creating additional streams of revenue by selling ads in the newsletter, and

3. Associating my name (Abbott) with the idea of strategic communication.

Let’s start with an easy one, objective 3, which calls for building an association between my name and the concept of strategic communication. So, my last name, at least, should go into the newsletter name.

Second, every newsletter or e-zine name should include some functional information. That way readers get an immediate idea of its content. Objective 3 refers to communication so the word ‘communication’ should get into the title.

That also helps me connect with objective number 1; as you will have noted, the subtitle of the book is Communicating for Results.

But, should it say communication, or more specifically strategic communication? Obviously the latter describes the content more precisely, but, the newsletter will be distributed by e-mail, so shorter is better. Second, the idea of strategic communication is a relatively uncommon one, and might reduce advertising sales (the second objective).

Focusing on objective 2, it helps if the type of medium (in this case a newsletter) is immediately identifiable. But, should I call it a newsletter, or should I call it an e-zine, which refers to an online newsletter or magazine?

I prefer ‘newsletter’ because my target audience is comprised of managers, who spend a limited amount of time online, and may not know what ‘e-zine’ means.

But, the length of the word ‘newsletter’ is an issue, because we want the name to fit in the subject line of an e-mail reader. So instead of ‘newsletter,’ I went with just ‘letter.’ That also adds a degree of personalization, because letter suggests a one-on-one relationship.

Pulling the pieces together I end up with Abbott’s Communication Letter. I think the name satisfies all the objectives, and aptly describes a newsletter that explores how managers can use communication to help achieve their goals.

When you start looking for a newsletter name, think strategically before making a final decision. Not all newsletter names have the same potential.

Robert F. Abbott offers three free chapters from his book, A Manager’s Guide to Newsletters: Communicating for Results. He also offers free subscriptions to Abbott’s Communication Letter, a free newsletter that helps you enhance your career through improved business communication.

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