Today I received a newsletter from a small human resources consulting company featuring an excellent article on disengaged workers. Too bad the newsletter sender didn’t make clear what the writer’s relationship to the firm is. The newsletter only included her name — not even a proper byline.
Problems with this approach
A consulting company exists to solve client problems through its expertise and thought leadership. Newsletters should highlight both. This one did neither.
If the writer worked for the firm sending the newsletter it should have said so. If an employee of the firm wrote the article I might have been inclined to recommend her to the next person who complains about their workforce. That would have been a newsletter marketing success story.
After I went to the trouble of searching the sender’s website for the writer’s name and didn’t find it, I wondered if the sender simply lifted the article out of a professional publication — without attribution. That’s not only careless, but also possibly an infringement of copyright law. Piracy. This leads me to the conclusion that this company is unprofessional. Enough said.
The right approach
If you’re going to send a newsletter, you’ve got to write SOMETHING original, even if it’s just an introductory note explaining why the articles were chosen. This demonstrates your professionalism and avoids any question of copyright violation.
Nothing original to say? Fine! Refer to an article written by an outsider in a way that highlights YOUR expertise. In this case, the newsletter sender could have said something like “Clients with disengaged workers are usually making one of these common mistakes…” or “We recently helped a transportation company avert a work stoppage by…”
Call to action
Close your newsletter with a distinct call to action. In this case, the company could have said, “Download this case study on how we helped a manufacturing firm improve absenteeism rates and productivity,” or “Join us for our quarterly roundtable discussion on getting more out of your existing workforce.” Heck, even something simple like this will do: “Call us if you see signs that your employees are disengaged…”
Your mom was right — sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. If you can’t produce a newsletter that reflects well upon you, don’t produce a newsletter at all.