By now, if you’ve read any of our other blogs or content you know that we are huge proponents of newsletters. Besides our opinion, there are many testimonials, statistics, and evidence that supports the notion that newsletters are an effective avenue of marketing for your business. Granted, there are a variety of newsletters like print or online, monthly, quarterly, or even biannually. Regardless your stance on the timing or type of newsletter you do, the bottom line is this: doing a newsletter is better than not doing one.
So if you’re doing one, how do you make it better? To arrive at that point, we’re actually going to look at common mistake that so many people make. In fact, you may be doing this now and it’s damaging your newsletter efforts.
Here’s the biggest mistake that I see most people make with their newsletter: they don’t provide any value to the reader.
Define Your Reader
But, who is your reader? This is something you need to define before you start your newsletter. Or if you’ve already established one, it’s a good idea to step back and make sure you’re staying true to your mission. The reader is the most important aspect of your newsletter because they’re the reason you created one in the first place! Are they your customer? A hot prospect? A mixture of both? You need to define that from the get-go so that the content you put in your newsletter is appropriately directed toward them.
Once you define your reader, think about their interests and needs. What would they enjoy reading or find beneficial? Why should they take time out of their busy day to sit down and read your newsletter? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re going to have an awfully hard time hitting the mark with content they want to read.
If you’re having a hard time deciding on what type of content to put in your newsletter, think about the goal of your newsletter. Are you trying to entertain? Inform? Sell? This should be the grounds by which you decide what’s going in the newsletter. Understanding your reader and goal of the newsletter is the guideline for how you should create content. If your goal is to entertain and delight your customers, then it’s fine to slide in a couple jokes or a funny story. But, if the goal of your newsletter is to educate the reader and sell your consulting services, it’s probably not best to add in a summer recipe for your mom’s potato salad. Always keep in mind the goal of your newsletter when writing and adding in content.
Does Your Content Add Value To Your Newsletter?
This is the golden question you should be asking yourself throughout the newsletter creation process.
Does this __________ (fill in the blank) add value to my newsletter?
Is my reader going to appreciate this comic strip or funny joke? Will my reader care if I put in a recipe or pictures from an event? Can my reader benefit from reading this article or quick tip? These are questions you need to be asking yourself. Because in the end, if your newsletter doesn’t provide value to your reader, they’re not going to read it!
As a fellow newsletter creator I get it though, it can be HARD to fill up a newsletter with GOOD content. Often I’m tempted to throw in an extra graphic, or cover up a blank section with a joke. Resist the temptation, don’t do it! Use some self accountability and do your best to think of a better alternative. The easiest way I have found to overcome this obstacle is planning out the content for the month before diving into it. Ask some of your co-workers to help you out. They’re more than willing to provide a short article or a snippet of useful information if you give them the topic and a little bit of time.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Give yourself some help by delegating some of the content to others. This will help keep things fresh and relieve some of the pressure you deal with to fill every newsletter with value.
Quality Over Quantity
As you’ve heard this statement a million times before, it still rings true. Quality over quantity. If you’re struggling to fill up your newsletter on a month basis, it’s time to take a step back and analyze your quality. Don’t do a four page newsletter with a bunch of filler content when you could be doing a much more effective two page one. Or if you’re having trouble keeping up with a monthly newsletter, consider doing it every other month. You’re hurting yourself by throwing some junk out there because you feel like you have to.
Focus on creating a beneficial newsletter that will actually provide value. And if you need to pull back on the amount or timing, then do it. There’s no shame if you need to take a couple months off of the four page, and just go with two pages. In the end, it’s going to be more beneficial if you send a shorter one with great content, than a longer one with shallow content.