Today I received an e-newsletter in my email box. The first thing that struck me was that I don't recall signing up for the newsletter. This tells me that someone I met at an event decided to sign me up for his newsletter. So, the first rule of thumb is this - don't sign people up without their permission. When you do, you telegraph that you are more interested in yourself than in them. Marketing should always be permission based. ASK first.
I think people don't ask for two reasons. 1. They think they are putting someone in an uncomfortable position. They might really want to say no but not want to offend. 2. They think the person is going to decline and then they'll feel uncomfortable.
Regardless, ask first; don't assume.
The next rule of thumb has to do with grammar and spelling. If you are going to put out a newsletter, whether in print or online, read it over before you send it. This same email newsletter that I received had multiple grammar issues. Words were left out and tenses were wrong throughout the articles and posts. Now, I'm not talking about the occasional misspelling or incorrect wording. That happens to everyone. I'm talking about repeated errors throughout. It made it almost impossible to read.
While it was hard to read, that wasn't the biggest problem. It showed a lack of attention to detail and no grasp of the English language. The impression it left was really bad. So, take your time, take care, and if you need to, have someone else read it before you send it out. It's worth the time and effort to make a good impression.
That's really what we're talking about here, isn't it? The impression you leave on your audience is really important. The next time you craft your newsletter give it a second look and make sure it represents you in the best light.