What's the difference between many companies' newsletters and Brooks O'Kane's? His gets read. ClearVue Products Inc., a $5-million cleaning-products company in Lawrence, Mass., produces a newsletter that's a lively mix of serious company news and zany items that engage readers.

A sample: When president O'Kane wanted a raise, he asked readers to petition his father-in-law, chairman of ClearVue's parent company. Letters poured in. One reader wrote, "Daughters always bring strange things home, and sometimes you can't get rid of them no matter what--looks like you're stuck."