Live video, interactive content and social media are great, but when it comes to building a loyal following, look no further than the humble newsletter. Writing for the Content Marketing Institute, Mark Walker sums up the strengths of the newsletter nicely:
“For senders, newsletters are a powerful way to stay top of mind with readers, providing a direct route to getting their attention. The best newsletters — the ones readers value the most — get an almost automatic open because readers want to see what goodness is inside that day.”
With that said, how can you create a newsletter that gets opened every time you send it? Walker offers these eight strategies:
1. Go super curated
There’s an overabundance of information out there, which means that the truly high-quality content might get lost in the crowd if it is not marketed well enough. Curate unique content from around the web to really stand out.
2. Let your personality shine
As Walker notes, “newsletters feel inherently more personal”. Stay true to that personal feel by letting your personality shine through with a unique tone, anecdotes, personal stories and observations, and humour.
3. Offer value
What benefit do people get from your newsletter that they can’t find elsewhere? How does your newsletter positively impact on people’s lives? Offer value.
4. Make it personalized
Personalize your content based on your readers’ behaviours and preferences. This will likely require research and comprehensive audience analysis, but it’s worth it.
5. Keep it fresh but focused
Ensure that your newsletter consistently provides quality content on a specific field, so that your newsletter is considered a reliable source and authority on that field. But this doesn’t mean you can’t include new, fresh and unique examples and perspectives in each edition, while still staying true to your focus.
6. Go niche
“Newsletters, perhaps more than any other format, allow you to go really niche,” says Walker. “[You] don’t need huge audiences for your newsletter to be valuable, you just need the right people — those who care and who are engaged.” Enough said.
7. Be exclusive
Getting people to pay for your newsletter — even if you’re a nonprofit — could be an effective approach. As Walker notes, “most people tend to be more committed to things they’ve made an investment in, particularly a financial one”.
Nonprofits can ask readers to pay a small subscription fee that will go towards a social change programme that the organization supports. Reports, testimonials and human interest stories can be shared periodically in the newsletter itself, to update subscribers on what their funds have helped achieve.
However, any organization taking this route — nonprofit or otherwise — must ensure that their newsletter offers strong value for money.
8. Keep it pure
Newsletters offer a “chance to have a pure, honest conversation with your readers, and if they appreciate it, they’ll reward you by opening up your newsletter each time it’s sent,” says Walker. He adds: “You don’t have to write with SEO in mind or in a click-bait way to rise above the noise on social media.”
Truer words were never spoken. Newsletters can be a great platform for passionate writers to flex their writing and creative muscles, while promoting their organization as truly authentic.
Featured image: Dennis Skley, Flickr Creative Commons