Ten Tips for Preparing Regular Content for Newsletters
I know how it is. You want to send out a newsletter. It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers. And then it dawns on you. "What am I going to write about?"
The trouble is, most businesses think to themselves, "No problem; we'll include information about the company, our mission statement and, for good measure, we'll include a load of information about our products and services we sell." WRONG - DON'T DO IT !
Newsletters are for news and sales letters are for selling. However this is where it all becomes a bit confusing and muddy for a lot of people; the understanding is that all content is the same - it's a written way of selling your business and anything and everything else is secondary. But that is simply not the case. Not all digital content is the same and it's really important that you don't mix these up otherwise your efforts will end up being greeted with disdain and the delete key! In this blog I am only going to focus on newsletters and what they mean to people in a business scenario.
Newsletters are expressly thought of as a 'communiqué' informing your prospects, customers, and maybe even employees, of events, news or other information about your company. It is designed to be interesting and should be sent to those prospects/customers who have expressly indicated an interest in receiving this type of information.
And remember, that sending anything to these people (not employees) means they have given you permission to email them.
Keep your Content Clear
The next part is to be clear about your content. Sales letters, as I mentioned above, are typically emails or actual letters intended to sell your product or services. Sales letters in the past have been transposed to web copy and made into sales 'pages'; again, with the express purpose of selling something.
An article or a blog is a carefully constructed document, posted online, that aligns with 'search intent' by/from a browser and answers a question. Your article needs to answer this question as fully as possible, providing, throughout the article, illustrations, diagrams and links to your product pages and explanations that leave the browser fully enlightened.
At the conclusion of your document will be your call to action, either inviting them to connect, requesting an email if necessary, offering a download etc. This is where they give you permission and, if there is a 'tick' box inviting them to receive Newsletters and they tick it, then by all means send them your newsletters.
If you don't have permission, howeve,r do yourself a favor and stop sending content to people who haven't asked for it. If you would like more information about our approach to creating and publishing content take a look at sX Social 334 or check out out article about SEO for CEOs and what you need to look out for.
Now that's out of the way, let's look at newsletters...
Get your newsletter planning hat on!
- Write up as many stories about your product or service as you can, thinking of ways you have helped your customers
- Think of ways your customers have adapted your product to help themselves
- Illustrate the return on investment your customers have achieved
- Include customer meetings or interviews, with their permission
- Mention any charitable events either your company or staff are involved in
- Include any recent personal achievements for you or your staff, e.g. certificates obtained (training courses etc.)
- List any tips that can help your customers (or anyone reading the newsletter) right now
- Write about book reviews, relevant to your business/industry
- Explain how your product could work or does work with another manufacturer
- Provide training articles to help your customers better understand your products or services
Once you get in to the swing of this, it will flow. The objective is to create a year's worth of content.
Choose your team
Next, identify the members of your team who can write the content. Leaving it to one person who is not a copywriter leaves you open to the plan failing.
Then, separate each of the newsletter content elements into month order, e.g. if you're planning to post up three blog articles per month, make sure you have No.36 ideas planned. Writing one blog article per week may be too much for some business owners, however, if you have another member of staff who is keen to write, get them involved.
It is our firm recommendation to write as many blog articles as possible in advance (See our page on sX Social 334) so that you simply have to post/publish each article according to your plan and not wait for it to be written. The reason I say this is because, all too frequently, businesses are affected by external factors and the writing, editing and publishing of articles can very easily take a back-seat.
When all your articles are written and posted on your blog, once a month, you can then create your newsletter and include three or four article summaries for the content of the email newsletter. Nothing too complex. If your customer is interested in any of the summaries, they'll simply click on the newsletter to visit your blog. In addition, you can include any of the other No.10 newsletter topics – job done!
If your blog articles are written in advance and posted on a regular basis, you will become more visible, more quickly to new prospects and the search engines. As you may know, it takes seven to ten 'touches' or views of a content/brand for someone to become familiar with it. And don't forget, one-in-three gets deleted, so you'll be needing about thirty items. This is not possible if your content stops and starts and shows no consistency.
- Only send newsletters to interested parties who have given you permission to email them
- Appoint a member of staff to act as researcher and reporter to collate all interesting and useful information to be used in the newsletter
- Write as many blog articles as possible in advance and create separate snippetts to be included in the newsletters
- Include as many images and photos as possible
- Include three or four news articles and two or three blog article links
- Include an address/comment from you, the CEO/Managing Director to demonstrate your willingness to be connected to your customers
If you have any queries or would like to discuss how to improve your current content infrastructure, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 970 9751.
About the Author
Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping businesses for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.