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May 19, 2008

Why TV executives are wrong, wrong, wrong…

Posted in: Uncategorized

(At least when it comes to your newsletter!)
Apparently, most TV shows these days don’t do well as reruns in the US (or, at least, that’s what the network executives say). Because reruns don’t get very high ratings, most networks try to avoid them, preferring to produce cheap reality TV shows to fill the gaps left by scripted shows.

It might seem like the same would be true with your newsletter–that your readers won’t be interested in re-reading an article you published previously. But, that’s absolutely not the case!

Sure, some of your readers have kept your newsletter issues (sort of like they record their favorite TV shows) so they can go back and re-read them at any time. For most of your readers, though, they don’t (or, if they do, going back through all of their kept newsletters takes a very, very long time).

That’s where reruns come in. Reprinting articles is a great way to refresh your reader’s memory or bring their attention back to an important topic.

Plus, you’ll have readers who either weren’t on your list the first time, or who didn’t read that issue (maybe they were on vacation, or maybe it bounced).

Of course, reprints are great for you because they’ll save you time and let you get more mileage out of an article you’ve already written.

When you’re reprinting an article, it’s really important you get it right–otherwise, you can absolutely run the risk of chasing off subscribers who think you have nothing new to say.

So, how do you reprint the right way?

  1. Never reprint an article before it’s: a) six months old if you publish weekly; or b) 12 issues old if you publish less often. This helps ensure your readers know you’ve got lots to say that will have value to them.
  2. “Sell” readers on the idea of a reprint. Tell readers why you’re sharing the reprint with them–was this article particularly popular? Do readers frequently request a copy of it? Has it been republished by lots of other publishers?
  3. Don’t reprint the whole issue. Make sure there’s some new content in each issue–perhaps in your editor’s note or the Q&A section. If you don’t have time to write any fresh content for an issue, consider reprinting someone else’s article instead of one of your own because that increases the chances that the feature article will be new to your readers. Some new content is essential to each issue.

Don’t shy away from rerunning your old articles. It’s a great way to refresh reader’s memories, introduce an old topic to new readers, and save yourself a bit of time. Taking these three steps to reprint “right” will ensure your readers get as much value from your reprints as they do from brand new issues.

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