Online Publishing Book Review: Every Nonprofit’s Guide to Publishing by Cheryl Woodward

Note: This review is part of our Top 20 Online Publishing Books to Read in 2009 series.

Online Publishing Activity – Ideas for Creative Newsletters

A newsletter website is dedicated to a special interest topic.  Newsletter websites are generally set up for subscribers to a print newsletter with access to back issues in either HTML or PDF form. The site also sells subscriptions to the newsletter.

Writers Block. One challenge for an online publishing company is to constantly create new content.  Where do compelling new story ideas come from?

Every Nonprofit’s Guide to Publishing: Creating Newsletters, Magazines & Websites People Will Read (book with CD-Rom) by Cheryl Woodard offers inspiration for fresh story ideas.  Even though she focuses on nonprofit groups, the advice applies to almost any online publishing company.

  • Hold a meeting to share and bounce stories off a group of people at your nonprofit and massage ideas to make them most compelling for readers.  By brainstorming and inviting skeptical, critical questioning at story meetings, you can refine and elevate average, humdrum ideas into thoughtful, unexpected, and salient stories.
  • Ask your editorial advisory board members for story ideas and trends they are observing.
  • Conduct a focus group of readers about what they’d like to read about but never see in the publication or website.
  • Establish working friendships with other editors through journalism associations and ask them if they’d help you refine story ideas or let you bounce ideas off them.
  • Convene your best freelance writers, or take them out to lunch one on one, and solicit their ideas.  In particular, ask them whether they’ve had any ideas for stories they’d like to write for your publication but did not pitch because they did not think your publication would accept them.
  • Attend conferences, seminars, and meetings in your publication’s field of interest.  You will meet new sources and learn new ideas.

These suggestions should help keep your newsletters fresh and interesting.  Just remember to keep the readers’ perspective in mind.  Is it a story they would be interested in reading, or just you? is a best practice Mequoda newsletter website.


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