The quality of your e-mail newsletter content is usually directly proportional to how widely it’s read and to whether or not readers unsubscribe.
<>But finding the right content isn’t intuitive. It takes a lot of work to churn out good newsletters, said Eric Groves, senior VP-worldwide strategy and market development with e-mail service provider Constant Contact. Groves provided these tips to help you banish e-mail newsletter writer’s block.
- Tap your customers. Customers and prospects love reading how other companies are using products and services—how they are succeeding, mistakes they’ve made and benefits they’ve seen. Also, most people love to brag about their accomplishments and see their names in print. You can make the most of these two tendencies by including case studies in your mix, Groves said. “Just make sure you keep stories really, really short: John Smith is battling this issue; this is how he resolved it—and a little quote from John Smith,” he said.
- Be an expert in your field. Your newsletter should be less about your company’s offerings and more about your customers’ needs and concerns, so adding a news digest to your mix can turn your newsletter into a resource that people read and pass along. Start by regularly hitting the top industry news sites and trade magazines, which is something you should be doing anyway. Digest the most significant stories by putting them in layman’s terms—don’t forget to credit the original source—and send the resulting copy to your audience. “You turn into the expert, and you’ve giving people a chance to look like experts, too, when they share it with their friends,” Groves said.
- Leverage other people’s content. Bloggers, news outlets, analyst firms and industry associations publish news and expert opinion on their sites, in their blogs and in their own newsletters. You can link directly to that information or, as long as you have the company’s or author’s permission, reprint it directly in your newsletter or on your landing page. “People love it if you share their stories and expertise with your customers, as long as you credit them and they give their permission,” Groves said. As an added bonus, those whom you quote are probably going to link back to your newsletter and may even use some of your original content in their correspondence, he said.
- Create a dialogue. Groves tells all his customers that one of the best potential sources of newsletter content can be found offline. “During your day when you have someone ask you a tricky or difficult question, write it down on a piece of paper and save it,” he said. “Then when it’s time to write your newsletter, answer the question and preface it with, ‘John Smith tried to stump me with this tough question ….’ You can also put a link into the newsletter asking for other questions or comments and rewarding those you use with some sort of discount or fun item.”
- Keep it short. Once you’re finished writing your newsletter, print it, read it and cut unnecessary words to make the copy sharper and cleaner. Also, Groves said, let someone who isn’t involved in content creation go through and proof it for errors. “These last two steps are the way you’re going to bring an article to life,” he said.