Looking for some tips on how to develop a newsletter content strategy that works? You’re in luck.
This article explores ten of the best ways to make sure your content generates the kind of engagement you’re hoping to achieve. It covers best practices for creating the content, as well as for how best to present it so it lands well.
To begin, let’s examine why you’d want to do this in the first place.
Why It’s Worth Developing a Dedicated Newsletter Content Strategy
You may be wondering whether committing to producing a newsletter regularly is worth the time and effort. If so, you might be surprised to learn that email marketing remains highly popular among businesses. And that’s for one simple reason – it works.
According to Statista, a survey carried out in October and November 2022 showed that over half of marketing professionals reported a two-time improvement in their email marketing campaigns’ ROI from a year earlier. So, as you can see, it’s worth thinking about.
And what’s the best way to harness this email goldmine? Simple: produce regular, authoritative content that people actually want to read.
Of course, lots of people have the same idea, which means you need to work hard to stand out. Here are ten tips to help you do just that.
Step-By-Step Process for Putting Together an Email Newsletter Content Strategy
1. Craft Some Newsletter Content Guidelines
Your first priority should be to set up some standardized content guidelines. That’s because you want every aspect of your content, from the copywriting to the logo images, to be consistent. Over time, this will allow you to build a very recognizable brand that your target audience can identify with. These guidelines should cover elements like:
- Brand colors
- Tone of voice
- Editorial style guide
- Image creation
- Accessibility policy
This is good practice in general, but it’s utterly vital if you have multiple people creating content. Don’t forget that, assuming your newsletter is a success, it’ll probably be around for some time. That means it’s likely the responsibility for producing it will transfer between different people over a period of years.
If you don’t have the rules and guidelines established in a written record, it’ll be very difficult to remain consistent in the long term.
2. Develop a Content Calendar
Another area of newsletter production where consistency is of the essence is in how often you send one out. While opinions vary on the ideal frequency, there’s general agreement that keeping to a regular schedule is crucial.
The best way of making sure this happens is by developing your own editorial content calendar. This is where you keep all the information about what you’re planning to include in each issue. There are plenty of tools you can use for this, although, in truth, you don’t need anything fancy. A simple spreadsheet will do. In it, you should list:
- Edition of newsletter
- Name of each piece of written content
- Writer’s name
- Designer’s name
- Content production deadline
- Planned date of issue
These are the bare bones, but depending on your circumstances, you may also choose to add other items to the list. For instance, if you’re A/B testing different types of content, you’ll track that on your content calendar, too.
3. Curate an Email List
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of building a high-quality email list. After all, there’s no point in sending out newsletters if no one reads them.
Add sign-up forms to different pages of your website in prominent places. These should be short and concise; you don’t want to put potential subscribers off by asking for too much information. It’s a good idea to use a double opt-in design (that’s where each new member of the list has to click on a verification link sent to their email address before they can join). This helps make sure your list only includes genuine email addresses from willing participants.
Remember that what you want is to attract people who are interested in what you have to say. The whole point of a newsletter content strategy is to drive engagement. That means avoiding bought email lists. It’s much better to send your content to ten people who want to read it than 500 who don’t.
4. Focus on Being Informative
Be wary of getting too salesy with your content. Your newsletter is not the place for that. We’re all very busy these days, and so are the people you’re aiming to reach. What you need to do is focus on providing value for them, or else you may find your email open rates start to take a tumble. That means being both informative and engaging.
For instance, suppose you’re putting together a newsletter about variations in how organizations approach their web strategy. Rather than telling your readers what they already know, mix it up a bit so they’re learning something new.
You could start off by writing about the kind of domain names Australia favors for business purposes before moving on to an exploration of the role of social media in Nigeria. In other words, keep the content fresh so your readers will look forward to clicking on it.
5. Make an Impact With Images
Well-crafted images give your newsletter a professional look. But this doesn’t just mean you need pretty pictures.
Pay close attention to any charts or graphs you’re including. Do they help the reader intuitively visualize data? Is there anything about the way they’re presented that’s misleading? For example, if you’ve made a bar or line chart, have the axes undergone squashing or truncation to try to exaggerate the message? If you’re guilty of this, it can reduce the level of trust people have in your content.
Infographics can also be a bit of a minefield. A good one is quite a trick to pull off because there needs to be a balance between the layout and how much data you put in. Always cast a critical eye over any images rather than simply adding them without thinking. The importance of visual content is such that it can be a significant determining factor in how successful your newsletter is.
6. Select a Newsletter Tool
The good news is there are plenty of modern tools available to help you present your content with impact. Take some time to research the options so that you can select one that fits your vision.
While you’re doing this, consider the format you want your newsletter to take. If your intention is to send out short one-page articles to an email list, you probably won’t need anything too advanced.
7. Try Personalization
If you want to develop a more sophisticated strategy, try personalizing your content. This means tweaking it to appeal to the individual. It’s about more than just adding the recipient’s name in the subject line.
To achieve this, use audience segmentation. Break down your target readers into groups:
- Demographic (age, gender, income level, etc.)
- Purchase history, if applicable
Then, create different versions of each newsletter that include content specifically designed to appeal to each group. This will give your engagement rates a boost since readers are much more likely to be interested in content specifically targeted at their interests.
8. Keep it Relevant
The pressure of producing high-quality content regularly can sometimes lead to you veering off track. It’s crucial to stay focused and keep your topics relevant.
Your target audience might want to know how to acquire a .ai domain for their organization, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll respond well to a detailed examination of modern applications of artificial intelligence in the manufacturing sector. Always craft content with a reader-first mindset.
9. Use CTAs Strategically
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We all know CTAs are important for engagement, but don’t forget that a little goes a long way. You need to be strategic about how you use them so that you don’t come across as a pushy sales representative.
The best way to do this is to integrate the CTAs into your content as seamlessly as possible. Feel free to add a link to the landing page of a product or service of yours that’s mentioned in the text, but don’t overdo it.
Everyone expects an obvious CTA at the end, too, so it’s perfectly fine to include one. In fact, it can be a great way of crystallizing a strong sign-off that gets results.
10. Analyze and Fine-Tune
Most importantly of all, choose some email metrics and KPIs and monitor them to learn what’s working and what could be improved. Good ones to track would be:
- Email open rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Delivery rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
Doing this will help you fine-tune your strategy to make your newsletter even more effective.
Boost Engagement With the Right Newsletter Content Strategy
Your newsletter content strategy will develop over time as you learn more about your audience and what appeals to them. While you won’t always get it right straight away, you’ll find that you develop an instinct for the kind of content that works the best.
In the end, it’s all about engagement. And as long as you focus on what genuinely interests your target reader, you won’t go far wrong.