- Make something old new again. Sometimes, you can come up with completely new email content by augmenting existing content. For example, if your company did a 2012 predictions roundup at the beginning of the year, now is a great time to revisit it and see how your predictions panned out. You can also comment on industry news—how did a specific news story affect your products or your customers' businesses? "That turns into very interesting and very valuable content for readers," Laverdiere said.
- Take a page from David Letterman. Readers love roundups, Laverdiere said. Look back at your email newsletters. Did you make five announcements this past year? If so, why not bundle them all together in a "Five Things" post, linking directly to corresponding landing pages or bringing them all together onto one page, he said.
- Tip your hat to your repurposing. While your reused content may be new to some of the people on your email list—especially those who may have signed up later in the year or who have been less engaged—there are always some people who will remember the newsletter you emailed the week before Memorial Day. If you don't disclose that you're doing a "Best of" post, you may offend those readers, Laverdiere said. "Personally, I always recommend that people be very transparent with their customers and prospects," he said.
- Use analytics to find your target content. There are a number of variables that can help you choose what to repurpose. You may want to resend your most popular content or content that had the fewest views during the year. If you have advanced analytics set up, your best option may be to choose content that resulted in the most sales. "You may also want to use social analytics to help you make your choice," Laverdiere said. "What was the blog post or email newsletter that got the most discussions going on Facebook? Which newsletters were retweeted most often? Which images connected to your posts got re-pinned on Pinterest? Those are the things you can look for to inspire end-of-year discussion."
- Timing is everything. If you're considering taking a week or two off from your email messaging, think again. You should stick to your regular email schedule, Laverdiere said. And don't forget to look at the calendar before you create your content. "If you're going to send out seasonal or end-of-year emails, timing is everything," he said. "If you're going to do a year in review or other similar post, make sure it goes out before the second week of January."
Emma Hall on 01.27.2015