Business OverviewThe newsletter is one of the hottest marketing vehicles around. It's a terrific way for businesses and professionals to keep themselves in their clients' minds and promote new business. It's also a great way for the word-wise entrepreneur to develop a subscription publication with far less cost than a full-fledged magazine or newspaper would entail. If you've got a flair for the written word and a talent for turning out new material in a specific field on a regular basis, then you can shine as a newsletter publisher. You can write custom-tailored newsletters for clients to send to their current and potential customers. You can develop a boilerplate newsletter for a particular set of clients such as dentists to send to their patients--you change the masthead and add in a few personalized tidbits for each dentist. Or you can design, write and publish your own newsletter on any area of interest that appeals to you and enough readers to make it pay. The advantages to this business are that you can immerse yourself in the subjects that interest you and write about them to a built-in audience (once you've sold your subscriptions). And once you've developed a name as a newsletter publisher/expert, you can go on to publish audiotapes and videotapes, books and special reports, and conduct seminars and workshops. If you plan to publish your own newsletter, you'll need an insider's knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, your area of interest. If you'll publish newsletters for others, you'll want a working familiarity with the subject matter and the same enthusiasm. You should have a copywriter's talents including top-notch writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. In addition to all of this, you'll need to be a desktop publishing demon with the graphic skills to design a visually appealing and readable composition.
The MarketYour clients will be the businesses and professionals for whom you develop newsletters or, if you develop your own concept, businesses or individuals who subscribe. If you plan to publish for others, for instance dentists, send direct-mail pieces, perhaps in the form of sample issues, soliciting work. Network among associations for whom you want to write newsletters, and establish relationships with printers who can refer their customers to you. The best--and by the far the least expensive--way to develop a subscriber base for your own newsletter is to make up a sample issue and a really good press release. Send this press kit to editors at every publication that touches on your specialty. From the ensuing articles, you'll get scads of people requesting sample issues, a fair number of whom will become subscribers. Be sure to require a nominal fee--$1 to $3--for your sample as insurance against 'looky-loos' who just want to get a freebie in the mail.
Needed EquipmentYou'll need a computer, a laser printer, a color printer, a scanner, and a fax machine. You should have top-notch word-processing software, a desktop-publishing package, a few clip-art programs, and a database program for maintaining your mailing list.