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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue
Hello there,
I just hit ‘Send’ on a newsletter again. I’ll always have flashbacks to times in my career (yes, there have been several) where I left a typo in my subject line. Once that email is sent, there’s no correcting it. It will arrive in the inbox with a typo, and there it will stay. 
No matter how many times I’ve sent a newsletter, I never feel completely relaxed. But one thing that can help is running through a pre-send checklist to make sure I’ve got all my ducks in a row.
A lot of these elements will have the added bonus of improving your newsletter over time, so it’s a great habit to get into. And if you have any extra routines you go through before hitting send I’d love to hear them — always looking to learn from you! 
Edit yourself
Yes, editing your own work is notoriously hard. So much so that the Poynter Institute is running a course on how to do it. (July’s course is $349, you can check it out here). But if you don’t have the luxury of another pair of eyes, it’s essential that you set aside time to go through your work with a critical hat on before sending it into the world.
Here are some areas to pay close attention to:
  1. Read it out loud. It can help you catch typos or awkward turns of phrase because it forces you to slow down.
  2. Skim the draft. How’s the layout? How’s the length? Are there too many blocks of text? Have you signposted your sections in headings? Broken it up with bullet points and images? Put yourself in the position of your reader, and make their life easy. 
  3. Cut anything repetitive or unfocused. It’s the most painful part of self-editing (I’m about to do exactly this for another draft issue of The Week in Newsletters, and I’m procrastinating…) but it’s also the most essential. Be respectful of your reader’s time.
  4. Send yourself a preview. It’s best to not only look at the online version but send a preview email so you can see how the subject line, pre-header, and sending address look in your inbox. Get the reader’s experience. Check everything has saved as you intended. I also tend to zoom right in on the text so it fills up my whole screen. Try to escape my gaze now, typos! 
It’s always best to get some space from your work if you can — editing while the words are all still whirling around in your head is not an easy feat. 
Easy wins
After all that hard work, let’s grab some low-hanging fruit. These are small things to check and change, but they’ll have an outsize effect on how your work is perceived. 
  • Read your subject line several times, really slowly. A typo there can confuse your reader and ruin your perfectly-crafted phrase or sentence. I once accidentally published the subject line “Kom Jong-un is not a joke”. Yes, that was meant to be Kim Jong-un. And yes, people were confused.
  • Make sure to set a preview/pre-header (We explained how that works for Revue newsletters in this thread). It’s an extra shot at grabbing your reader’s attention as they scroll through their inbox.
  • Upload an image to accompany your newsletter when shared on social media. 
  • Install a spell checker like Grammarly. People recommend this tool all the time, and there’s a good reason. When it comes to spelling, I hate to say it but computers are better than humans at catching errors. 
  • Double-check name spellings. Even Grammarly won’t help you with this one — if you’re name-checking anybody, do them the basic courtesy of spelling their name correctly.
  • Double-check your links. If you have too many links and not enough time, check the really important ones are working properly from a preview (like links to Buy Me a Coffee, if you’re asking for donations). Copy/paste errors and broken links are agonizing to find after hitting send. Save yourself the heartache. 
It’s worth building some extra time into your deadline to make sure you can go through the above without rushing. Maybe you’ll even finish early!
Now, before I go through the list above for this very email, let’s move on to the news from the newsletter industry we’ve been watching.
The week in newsletters
Here’s what’s going on this week:
Bloomberg is launching newsletters centered around two of its top reporters
Veterans of Quartz and the NYT launched a new media company about work
39 simple ways to grow your email list
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Have a great week,
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Anna from Revue
Anna from Revue @revue

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