Recently, I was asked if I knew of an easy way to put together an email newsletter. While there’s no one “quick trick” to creating a killer newsletter, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for smooth sailing and which will make newsletter creation a repeatable process—win and win.
Here are 5 tips to creating a compelling email newsletter.Tweet This
Let’s jump in.
1. Gather a variety of source material
Stay plugged into industry news sources—This is a must if you’re going to write/share relevant content related to your industry. Soak in these sources regularly and have them handy when you need to do quick research for your newsletter content.
Search for relevant topics—Keeping abreast of relevant news will help you uncover useful topics to cover in your newsletter. What problems might your readers encounter? What are their needs? What might they find helpful or inspiring?
Here are some useful sites to help you brainstorm topics:
Interview the right people—Since you’re probably ghostwriting the newsletter, the content should reflect the tone and messaging of your organization. Make time to sit down and talk with people (your boss, coworkers, or clients) who will have useful input for your newsletter.
2. Mix up your content types
Expert quotes, client testimonials, the latest stats? Yes, please.
To be maximally compelling, your newsletter needs both objective and subjective content.Tweet This
Objective content—This can be stats, industry trends, how-to articles, your organization’s success markers (make sure they’re relevant to the reader and not there for bragging rights!).
Subjective content—This can be inspiring/useful quotes, client testimonials, emotionally impactful stories (again, connect these to what drives your reader!).
You should be able to uncover several content types by staying connected to industry news sources and in touch with clients or others at your organization (it’s time to befriend the spreadsheet guy!).
3. Craft a compelling call-to-action (CTA) and subject line
You’re not writing a newsletter with no goal in mind—at least, I hope you’re not! You want to drive traffic to your website, increase your subscriber base, gain new clients, establish your organization as an authority on a subject…the list goes on.
Identify the overarching goal of your newsletter and the specific action(s) you want your readers to take to achieve that goal.
Think of your newsletter content as trail-markers guiding readers toward the desired action(s).Tweet This
But don’t leave readers guessing what you want them to do! Clearly tell them what and why. In an email newsletter, this will often look like a bright button that takes them to the contact page on your website or other desired destination.
More about CTAs in this blog post.
Subject lines are a precise science. They, too, will be driven by the goal of the newsletter and what drives your readers to open it and read. Here are some tips from Content Marketing Institute:
- Make it personal, from a person to a person
- Keep it short and sweet (~7 words)
- Use the preview text field
- Use numbers
- Use impactful words
- Tell them what’s they’ll get from the newsletter
- Make an announcement
- Use emojis, but sparingly
4. Simplify your language and copyedit
You’re knowledgeable about your industry or subject area, but chances are your readers are relatively new to many of the ideas you know by heart. So take stock of the language you use, the articles you hyperlink to, and the data you pull. You should simplify or adequately explain any jargon the reader may be unfamiliar with.
A couple tools I’ve enjoyed using:
For copyediting your newsletter, the Grammarly browser plugin is useful to catch the big slip-ups, but don’t treat it like your personal copyeditor! Go through your text with a fine-tooth comb. If you’ve been staring at it for hours, take a break and come back to it later with fresh eyes.
5. Add visual appeal
Use an email template—Whichever email provider you use (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.), find or create a template that will roughly fit with the types of content you want to include.
Using a template will add both structure and visual appeal to your newsletter content.Tweet This
- At the top of the template, include your organizations logo and tagline.
- At the bottom of the template, include your organization’s boilerplate message and social media buttons.
Save your template for later use—this will save you time later!
Use quality original or open source images—Intersperse your newsletter content with images and graphic elements that appropriately section off and break up your text. A template will help with this, but it’s up to you to include appealing photos and original graphics.
More on choosing images and making graphics in this blog post.
It might seem overwhelming to put together your email newsletter, but take the extra time and effort to create an exceptional one to make sure your newsletter doesn’t sit abandoned in the inbox.
Set goals, provide value, and get creative—your newsletter readers may just become fans!Tweet This