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Seven strategies for a smarter newsletter

Newsletters can be a very cost-effective way to keep your brand front-of-mind with valuable customers, but only if they get opened and absorbed. So how do you build a newsletter that doesn’t go straight to the rubbish bin or deleted items box? Here are some strategies that help with content creation:

  1. Self-interest. It’s a ‘what’s in it for me’ world, so put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see your newsletter through their eyes. Is it relevant? Is it interesting? Are their benefits for them in the news you’re offering? Too often newsletters are as dull as ditch water because they’re full of news that means nothing to the customer. Don’t be tempted to include a ‘hatched, matched or dispatched’ section about your employees; instead, profile an employee’s knowledge of something that matters to the customer.
  2. Bullet-pointed listicles are irresistible, especially if they have a number in them. Think ‘5 ways to stuff a mushroom’ or ‘8 things you didn’t know about texting’. Rather boring information can be made infinitely more interesting with this strategy, so have some fun with your title. If you’re a leadership consultant, ‘The 6 terrible habits of senior managers’ will have more cut-through than ‘Engagement behaviour stems from the top’.
  3. Pictures. Every picture tells a story and every story deserves a picture. Sign up to an affordable online image library, like www.istockphoto.com, or use your phone to shoot your own. Pictures work even better when they have captions.
  4. Real-life stories. People are naturally nosy, so nurture and feed their curiosity with problem-solution stories involving other customers. You may be able to use real names (always ask permission), or you can make the stories anonymous. Getting a real-life story is easy; just download a call recording app on your phone and prepare some questions. Online transcription services make it easy to turn interviews into words, all ready for editing.
  5. A prize. An almost-foolproof way to get your newsletter consumed is to run a competition. Ask a couple of questions that have answers buried within your content and offer a small-but-tasty prize (wine, book, discount, voucher). The easiest mode of entry is email. Make sure you promote our competition at the earliest opportunity – on the envelope if your newsletter is hard-copy; in the subject line if it’s an email newsletter.
  6. A title. Every great newsletter deserves a memorable name. While your first impulse might be to add NEWS to your business name, try to think laterally to come up with a masthead that suggests a benefit. For example: The Competitive Edge, Smoke Signals, Talkback, Investor Insight, HResource, Marketing Directions.
  7. Last tip is to focus your time on what you do best and hire a copywriter to take care of your newsletter. Commercial writing is a blend of sales savvy and literary skills; a professional will probably do a better job than you. If you do hire a writer, make sure you have a proper briefing session to talk about story ideas.

Contact us for help with your newsletter.