So, you’ve decided to start a newsletter for your blog. Good call! Do you know what you’re going to put in it yet?
The content of your newsletter is crucial. If your content isn’t interesting and relevant to readers, they won’t stick around and almost certainly won’t recommend that friends sign up to your list. Since it’s so vital, deciding what to include can be daunting at first.
If you don’t know what you’re doing yet, though, don’t worry. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as it might seem to figure out what kind of content to include in your newsletter. Keep in mind, too, that if something doesn’t resonate with readers as much as you thought it would, just make changes to the structure as you go.
Add Links to Your Blog Posts
Your blog is the lifeblood of your site, so why not make it a central part of your newsletter?
By putting teasers and links to your blogs in your emails, you’ll likely send more readers to your posts. Also, when people see that you regularly update your site, they’ll be reminded of how much you care about your blog and your online community. Plus, your blog will stay top-of-mind.
Give Them Material They Won’t Get Elsewhere
While it’s okay to have some content that appears both in your newsletter and on your website, you should also think about having exclusive content for newsletter subscribers. Otherwise, they might wonder why it’s worthwhile to subscribe if they could see the same stuff by browsing your site.
If you’re not sure what kind of exclusives your readers would appreciate most, think about their shared experiences and pain points.
For example, do you write a blog for parents?
If so, it might be appropriate to put a new pediatrician checklist in one of your newsletters. After all, most parents need to find doctors for their kids at some point in their lives and would probably agree that a checklist that helps them keep the crucial considerations in order would be a welcome extra.
Offer Timely Content
One of the best practices for publishing newsletters is to distribute them on a schedule. When you do that, readers start anticipating new material. The timing you choose depends on various things, one of which is the frequency that your readers prefer.
You don’t want to publish so frequently that people get overwhelmed and stop opening your emails, but you also don’t want to be so sporadic that people forget about your emails altogether. Finding the right balance is crucial.
You can also include newsletter content that makes sense for the day of the week when you typically send your emails.
For example, maybe you’ve decided to send them bimonthly on Mondays. In that case, you might offer something that helps readers get into the right mindset for the week ahead, whether you do that with a positive affirmation or a funny story. On the other hand, if you send them on Fridays, you could present material that encourages readers to enjoy their weekends.
And don’t forget about seasonal topics! The stress of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for dozens of relatives or shopping for supplies before a teenager goes off to college are two relatable feelings experienced during particular times of the year. If you can speak to the needs people have at a given time, they’re more likely to value your input and even to see you as a trustworthy friend.
Provide Glimpses Into Your Life
In your quest to craft a professional-looking newsletter, you may get so bogged down by formal language and efforts to advertise your products, site or services that the output ends up seeming bland and lacking personality. You can still maintain professionalism while inserting some personal details that highlight what makes you and your newsletter unique.
For example, maybe you just got accepted into an online-based graduate school program that’ll let you pursue continuing education while at home. In that case, you could bring up that bit of news and be honest about your hopes and uncertainties. Talk directly to your readers and let them know that by continuing to read your newsletter, they’re coming along on a journey.
Keep Content Brief and Skimmable
Statistics from Litmus Email Analytics indicate the average time people spend reading an email is just 11.1 seconds — and that amount represents an increase from data collected in the past. What that means for your email newsletter is that it must be easy to size up at a glance. Use bulleted lists, headers and mobile device previews to let people decide whether to read the whole newsletter now or come back to it later.
You might also want to use colors or fonts to draw attention to material that’s time-sensitive, such as a limited-time offer or an upcoming e-seminar happening tomorrow. People don’t usually spend much time reading emails, but if you keep that in mind when designing them, subscribers are more likely to genuinely enjoy what you bring to them.
Answer Common Questions Readers Have
Hopefully, you’re already taking feedback from readers into account and incorporating it into the material you publish. To make that effort more visible, consider putting a Q&A section in your newsletter that answers one or two questions you often receive from readers. You could ask for permission to include the word-for-word queries in the email body or just think about the most frequent questions and paraphrase them.
When writing your response, maintain a friendly, caring tone that assures readers you want to help them and that you’re not just in it for yourself. If you sell things, feel free to mention your products in your answers but always make sure that mentions of your products fit into the context of the newsletter and will be useful to readers.
Write a Conclusion That Sets the Tone for the Next Edition
Whether you send out email newsletters monthly, weekly or on another schedule, every correspondence should have closing remarks that convey how grateful you are to your readers. Also, remind them when they’ll get your next newsletter and, if possible, tell them some of the things you’ll cover in it.
Besides following these suggestions, remember the importance of staying flexible. Your content and publishing frequency may vary based on the size of your readership, the time of year and other specifics. When you can adapt to those fluctuations, the likelihood that you’ll enjoy consistently high levels of engagement increases.
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