Creating original content for an email newsletter can make the average marketer feel a bit like Sisyphus, the Greek king who was forced to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a very steep mountain. Those marketers that need to take a break from content creation—even for a single week—can look to previously published content as a source of respite as long as they repurpose with a few best practices in mind, said Dan Forootan, CEO of email marketing provider StreamSend. “There's no shame in reusing content, especially if you're in a situation where your newsletter is generally known for fresh content,” he said. Forootan provided the following tips:
- Use analytics to direct content replay. Many newsletters are jampacked with links and stories, many of which never get clicked on or read, Forootan said. “The ones at the top are the ones that get the most play,” he said. Evaluating email and website analytics will help marketers identify good content that readers may have missed because of its position within a template. It can also help them find stories for a “best of” newsletter—articles that were so popular they're worth repeating. In some cases, marketers may want to create a regular section of their email newsletters dedicated to the most popular content, especially if they're adding new subscribers on a regular basis.
Also include “best-of” Facebook, Twitter and blog posts to expand readership and followers accordingly. “You can bring in comments from social media such as popular tweets or posts that you put up on your Facebook page,” Forootan said. “It's really random what pops up on a Facebook newsfeed, so subscribers may have missed it when it first appeared.”
- Don't fall into the “more content is better” trap. Just because marketers can reuse content doesn't mean they should add new newsletters into the mix, Forootan said. “You might see how easy it is to reuse [content] and think, "Oh, I should email a few times a week.' In email marketing, there's always a tendency to do more; but the danger is the newsletter can quickly become an ineffective medium.” Bottom line: Stick to a regular schedule to keep customer expectations realistic and satisfaction steady.
- Link to other people's content. Bloggers, industry analysts, customers and partners generate plenty of copy each month, and marketers can leverage that content—as long as they cite sources appropriately and provide links. There is one, however, caveat, Forootan said: Marketers must make sure the source is tightly aligned with their company's goals. “If you're using content from a blogger or source you don't know very well, you can run into trouble,” he said. “You want to be viewed as an expert, so it will be important to see who is sponsoring the content you're bringing in and who has commented on it in the case of a blog.”