Filling an email newsletter with content
Do you or your company really have anything to say? If the answer to this question is ‘no’, then you should not send out a newsletter at all. But, if you give some thought to it, you will realise that you have lots to say. Often, people become blind to what is happening in their own world and are unable to appreciate everything that may arouse people’s interest.
Here, we will show you how to find your own news.
The first question to ask is: who will be reading the newsletter? Only once you know your readers can you seriously develop an active readership circle. Most commonly, a company’s newsletter goes primarily to customers or potential customers. Yet employees, suppliers, friends or even competitors may be interested in what is going on in your business.
The target group has been identified – but what do they want to know?
In this example, we are assuming that the customers are your primary target group. The next question is therefore: What are my customers interested in finding out? Do you want to inform them about your new products? Do you want to give them additional offers? Do you wish to interact with your customers?
In order to develop an increasing readership circle, and in order to retain your readers, you need to offer content that creates added value for the reader. And this means you need to know your target group. As the name says, a newsletter is a fast medium that contains information about current events, and generally people are interested in current events within their industry or area of work.
What should you write about?
Studies show that readers of digital newsletters are most interested in news that relates to the profession in which they work. People are interested in keeping up-to-date with news within their industry.
This could be new innovations, mergers, product tests, studies of consumer habits, etc. Be careful to ensure that your target group gets a type of news that may interest them.
Why would people wish to read our newsletters?
Digital newsletters are something that people themselves choose to receive, as at some point they have agreed to receive them. Unlike traditional newspaper subscriptions, it is easy to unsubscribe if people do not wish to receive them. In other words, if you retain your subscriber it means that they appreciate receiving your mailing.
Many people find it convenient to have the news served up to them and summarised to just the right extent in a newsletter. And, if the news comes from a source that they feel confidence in, then it will be appreciated even more.
- Time – your newsletter is an information channel that prevents readers from having to find out things for themselves, in the same way that we read daily newspapers instead of ringing around asking people what is happening in the world.
- Money – your readers are interested in getting information about services or products that can save them or their companies money.
- Knowledge – we are always interested in learning new things that may be of benefit in the longer term – for example, a new technique or method, or an interesting study relating to the industry.
Create a content policy
In order to identify the news in your business, it can be useful to ask one of your customers what they would like to know about you. Start by asking a customer whom you trust for a brainstorming session about what they would like to know. This, in turn, can trigger other ideas for articles within you.
You will now have a comprehensive rough list of news that you could use, and your continuing work will become easier later if you set up and follow a content policy. Browse through your news one thing at a time, with a clear emphasis on what is happening right now. If you reuse someone else’s information, you must clearly indicate the source.
The editorial content (i.e. your news) should set the tone for all long-term email marketing. This is the content that creates the greatest credibility. Do not jeopardise this by ‘destroying’ it with clandestine advertising.
It is possible to include offers, invitations and other content, but it must be clear what is editorial and what is commercial. Perhaps there is just a link to one of the websites where details of the offer are given, or an email link or telephone number to a person to whom the reader can turn for more information.
Plan your publication
Through good planning and a serious approach to the editorial work, you will reduce the risk of people unsubscribing or of a lack of response. Through a content policy, you determine what each newsletter should contain – for example, two items of news from the industry, a case study, a tip, a piece of internal news and an offer. Remember then to apply the policy when working on the content.
It can be useful to prepare the content of the mailings six months in advance – not in their entirety but perhaps up to 60–80 per cent. There will then be space for material that has not become current until later, or last-minute material that is right up-to-date. But do not be surprised if the entire planning process is turned upside down; always be prepared for dramatic changes in your business.
Some tips for good content
Present a study relating to your industry or that of your customers. Or carry out a survey among your readers through the newsletter.
- Create a so-called customer case. Interview, or get an external writer to interview, a satisfied customer on what they think about your business or about a recently completed project.
- Interview an expert in your industry and offer this knowledge to your readers.
- Find a ‘guest columnist’. Get a prominent figure in the industry to write a recurring
- Internal expert. Let a senior colleague get a share of the limelight by providing their reflections on the profession or industry.
- Changes in the company. Be responsive to what is going on in your company. Is there anything to report about the day-to-day work? But be self-critical and ask yourself first whether it really adds anything for the reader.