One of the goals this year [besides managing to find more time for writing / blogging / posting] is to get a newsletter going. Sure, I could write one now and again [I think], but it needs to be a regular feature. Can I do “regular”? Hmm. Methinks not—not right now. But never say never (as JJ, one of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes, often resolutely says).
Let’s consider what makes a good newsletter, besides the aforementioned regularity. But speaking of, if you’re planning to start sending out newsletters, commit to it. Determine when / how often and inform your followers accordingly. Let them know what they can expect. As an FYI, it’s said morning is the best time to send out items such as newsletters, as most people check their email at least once every morning (I can attest to this as I do so, at least three times).
Most importantly first perhaps: decide if you even need to have a newsletter. If yes, determine what the newsletter will entail: is it for a blog or a business, or . . . ? Being a writer/blogger and sometimes editor, I’d want mine to encompass what’s happening in the writing and blogging world. That, however, might result in a plethora of news that could bound all over the place, like Angry Birds and Pigs on a battlefield.
Focus on a few key items. Cover a variety of topics, but not an overabundance.
What’s the goal? Define what you intend to accomplish by sending one out—attract [more] followers, make sales, inform. Ascertain your audience and write specifically for it.
You can certainly be both informational and promotional; keep the latter to a minimum (10-15%).
This may sound like a broken record (discs used on devices called turntables before downloading became the thing): write well. Keep your newsletter readable and pertinent to your audience. Your content should be engaging and free of typos and errors. Research, as necessary, to ensure accuracy.
A newsletter title would be good, something that readers/followers will become familiar with and anticipate the arrival of. Make sure it reflects what you’re “newslettering” about. And while on the topic of titles, make certain you have intriguing (fetching) headings for your subject matter.
What’s that newsletter going to look like? It should be appealing. Avoid too much print (you don’t want readers suffering eye strain). Have strategically placed photos and white space. Choose an effective font (nothing too fancy). Think: layout.
Don’t forget CTAs—call-to-action buttons—but use them only if you truly want/need your followers to do something (like forward your email to a friend or make a purchase).
You may want to set a schedule for six months or a year. List topics you want to cover and set dates . . . and, yes, commit to the timetable.
Determine how to execute the newsletter. Will you send it in its entirety or provide a link?
After you’ve finished (and polished) that awesome newsletter, upload it to your email marketing system (MailChimp is good, but this is by no means an endorsement). When you send out, by the by, make sure your subject line is as engaging as your newsletter: capture the attention of your followers/readers so that they are intrigued enough to want to immediately open the email.
You know I can’t not say this <LOL>: do your due diligence. See what others are doing to get a feel for what works (and what doesn’t).
Tracking is part of the equation, too, but let’s touch upon gauging traffic in another post.
You may also wish to do some testing to see what works—i.e. try different newsletter looks and approaches. Or just go for it. Time will dictate whether you continue or navigate a new route.
Learn. Develop. Grow. Above all, my friends, have fun.