The main task of a newsletter publisher is to select and package quality content of direct, practical relevance to its specific readership audience.
This might sound quick and easy, but it is not.
Publishing a quality newsletter is more than just cutting and pasting quality content into your newsletter. A quality newsletter is more than just the sum of its parts. The more the different sections in a newsletter support each other, the more benefits subscribers can get from it.
A quality newsletter makes sense out of the Internet chaos. A good newsletter editor understands the Internet big picture and is able to pick out relevant information which is packaged into one newsletter issue in a way that makes sense for its readers.
A poor quality newsletter is easily produced in less than 15 minutes of cutting and pasting quality content text. One issue of a good quality newsletter takes one day to produce - it might also select from the same content pool as the poor quality newsletter - but it takes more time in selecting the right combination of available free content for each issue.
Extremely high quality content, randomly aggregated into a newsletter makes a poor quality newsletter. Somewhat lower quality content, expertly packaged and organized make a high quality newsletter. Your editorial note (that introduces each newsletter issue), shows how much understanding and effort you put into this critically important step.
Publishing a quality newsletter is a creative process. It does not involve following three easy steps. Good editors will find this article packed with value, others will consider this article as utterly useless.
Quality newsletters gets edited by the most senior, experienced people in an organization, not on a rotational basis by anyone with some free time on their hands.
The following are some concepts that help a good newsletter editor in his or her task:
Integration: combine the value content of several experts in their fields into one newsletter issue. Each of these experts can only contribute expertise on their topics. However, when these standalone expert contributions are combined into one newsletter issue, all their contributions grow in value because it is part of a larger solution. Your newsletter subscribers can possibly get all your newsletter content easily elsewhere, but come to you because of the way you package and present it to them.
Position: by publishing a newsletter, you position yourself as the central point where they go to get quality Internet content, nicely packaged to address their exact needs.
Team: your newsletter will be more valuable if its content is produced by a team of people. This team of people consists of: guest article authors, contributors of tips, subscribers that provide questions and software products authors that ask you to review their software.
Benefits: your newsletter is only about providing benefits to its subscribers. The more value content you have the more benefits your subscribers get from you. Value content like: feature articles, guest articles, questions and answers, link to value resources, product reviews, your editorial comments, tips.
To summarize: you, as newsletter editor and publisher, use your newsletter to combine the content of your team of contributors into a logically-arranged, benefit-rich newsletter for your subscribers.
Your newsletter is benefit-rich when it is packed with useful, practical content that is directly relevant to the needs of your readers.
A newsletter is not benefit-rich only if it contains detailed, step-by-step articles.
A newsletter that helps its readers understand the bigger-picture meanings and implications of the Internet on a more philosophical level also has benefits. Such a newsletter should focus on educating its readership on how to apply their insight practically and on a daily basis to their business.
A newsletter that focus exclusively on step-by-step articles makes its readers work harder.
A newsletter that focus exclusively on philosophical, Internet bigger-picture visions make its readers think harder.
In my opinion, a combination of these approaches is best. Such a combination will make your readers work hard - smarter.
There are two main (opposite) approaches to packaging a quality content newsletter:
Your write all the content yourself ... very time-consuming.
You select and package content created by others ... the more practical and realistic approach.
Most editors choose a middle road where they contribute some original content and get the remainder of their content from other contributors.
If a good newsletter editor's main task is packaging value content, a good newsletter subscriber's task is to read, understand and ACT based on the insight the gain from this content. A good newsletter is your personalized to-do list for the week.