Health Newsletter: Why?
A health newsletter or wellness newsletter is part of virtually all wellness programs. You also find that insurance companies, insurance brokers, EAP’s, hospitals and many other organizations seem to offer some form of health newsletter.
The reasons for offering a health newsletter vary widely. Some common reasons for offering a health newsletter include:
- Health education and health promotion
- Safety education
- Marketing, advertising and brand awareness
- To build an individual or company’s reputation as an expert in an industry
- As part of a health promotion or wellness program
- To build a mailing or email list
- Market research
Health Newsletter: Who to Trust?
Just because an organization has a health newsletter does not mean that the information is accurate or trustworthy. So, how can you tell if the information contained in a health newsletter is accurate?
No sign-up required. Why should you be required to sign-up for a newsletter – just to see it? Only one reason – they just want your contact information. My recommendation – find another newsletter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to sign-up for a newsletter IF you’ve been able to review it for accuracy and for interest.
References given. Any trustworthy organization will include and/or make available all reference material found in their health newsletter.
Advertising is clearly identified. Any trustworthy organization will clearly identify and, in fact separate all advertising from the health and wellness content. To do anything other than this is to run the risk of confusing readers.
Editorial policy. Does the organization have a clearly defined editorial policy related to the health newsletter – and all other health information the offer? Most editorial policies will clearly define how advertising (if allowed) is represented within the newsletter along with what types of advertising is allowable.
No SPAM. Organizations will often use a health newsletter as a way to get members or perspective clients to register with them. This allows them to build a contact list to use for marketing purposes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but trustworthy organizations will always tell you exactly how your contact information will be used. If not, then you can likely expect to receive lots of SPAM from them – or some other company to whom they give or sell your contact information.
Unsubscribe. If a health newsletter is delivered via email then look for a clearly identified way to unsubscribe from the service. If you don’t find it easily then I’d be suspect as to what will be done with your contact information.
Contact information. Trustworthy organizations will have a clearly identified way for people to contact them. Generally trustworthy organizations will offer multiple ways to contact them. If not, then I’d think be concerned about the legitimacy of the organization and the health information the provide.
Credible health information sources. If statistics and research studies are cited in the health newsletter, then check to see if the sources are credible. If you’ve never heard of the journal, magazine, etc. then I’d question the accuracy of the health information. Note: just because you have not heard of an organization does not mean that they are not highly recognized within their industry, thus a little digging may be required.
Informational vs. Promotional. When reviewing a health newsletter for information credibility you’ll want to determine if the purpose of the newsletter is informational or promotional. Unfortunately many health newsletters are nothing more than thinly veiled promotional pieces intertwined with one or two bits of health information. Hospitals and insurance companies seem to love this approach to marketing – and subsequently kill a lot of trees mailing out a “health newsletter” that’s of virtually no value – at least from a health education perspective.