It just so happens that I have written dozens of corporate newsletters and a handful of client-facing marketing newsletters over the years.
So, I felt reasonably well-equipped to provide some tips on starting and maintaining a successful newsletter.
Newsletter Tips for the Real World
· Spend time choosing a format that is visually appealing, represents your brand, is relatively easy to input content, includes an image for each story (use images legally!), and, ideally, is optimized for mobile viewing.
· Establish an editorial calendar that outlines content deadlines and regular rhythm, and then stick to it. Consistency is key, even if you are the point person for all content.
· ALWAYS think about your audience. Who are they? What will get them excited? What will piss them off? What is likely to get them talking? What do they NOT care about?
· Order the newsletter with the most important content at the top – think like a journalist.
· Keep the language clean and concise. Use color, but cut down on ‘word fat’ – how quickly are you getting from the subject to the verb?
· Write in the language your readers will understand and keep the ‘voice’ consistent.
· Be sure to ‘tease’ people with just enough to get them to click through to the full story.
· Be prepared with some way to measure how many people are reading your newsletter, and which stories are most popular. Keep monitoring these factors over time.
· Feature people stories as often as possible.
· Make the content interactive – encourage comments, tweets and other forms of participation.
· Use active tense in your writing. Passive tense is not engaging.
· Send the newsletter via email, but also create an archive space for issues on your web site.
· Give surveys and contests a shot.
· For a non-corporate newsletter, include an unsubscribe option at the bottom of every email. Also, don’t forget to include an email address to get in touch.
· Don’t let your publication get stale and boring. If what you have isn’t working, try something new!
What are your biggest newsletter pet peeves? Share your surefire paths to the ‘unsubscribe’ here.