In the last couple of years, there's been a surge of newsletters. The open rate is high, with more quality newsletters that share newsworthy, inspiring, thought-provoking content. Whether that content is original or curated, that doesn't matter. People willingly sign up for a newsletter from companies because they are interested.
So the time is now to start working on your newsletter – big companies and solopreneurs alike. Because not only do companies have stories to tell, messages to get across, or ideas to promote, any entrepreneur can do the same. It gives you a creative outlet, a chance to be top of mind again, get connected with your audience and a platform to humblebrag about your latest project.
To help you get started or to get you to take a new look at your current efforts, here are my first five tips on how to write an engaging newsletter that makes you and your reader happy.
Tip 1. Work with a theme
This may seem very obvious, but I'm sometimes amazed by the lack of effort people put into their newsletter. The name already implies that you need to have something exciting and new to share. Whether that's blogs you've written, an updated portfolio or reel, a video or curated content like a podcast – that all works. Just make sure that the content works together. You can tackle it from two sides by having a theme that matches the content you want to share. Or you might find that there's a common theme when you put it all together. Whichever way you venture it, make sure that there is a common aspect. Something that ties the whole newsletter together.
Tip 2. Substance over style
You might find yourself struggling for content or feel that your newsletter 'should always' have six content blocks that you need to fill. Why though? If you have less to share, make it so and see if it works. There's nothing wrong with going back to the format you had before for your following newsletter. Just make sure that each block is filled with grade A-content. It's about the quality and not about the quantity. A long newsletter may seem impressive, but if it only contains filler content, no one will take the time to scroll or, even worse, open your next one. Or much, much worse: they hit the unsubscribe button.
If writing is not your thing, but you do have interesting articles, podcasts, whitepapers, user cases etc., to share, make that your thing: a newsletter that you carefully curate. As long as you're open about it with links and references, people will find this captivating too.
Tip 3. Your newsletter, your brand, your audience
Your website, social media profiles and blog are your platforms. The newsletter is an extension of that. It's your way to push your content to your readers. Make sure that it's on-brand, but always consider who you are sending it to. It should reflect your company values and ideas while sharing exciting stuff with your readers. They are part of it, too, so include your subscribers too. Check which content outperforms and try to repeat that in your next edition. You want to keep your readers engaged and informed – and subscribed.
Tip 4. Be consistently inconsistent
If originality is one of your traits, own it and flaunt it. Try something to make new magic happen. Change your layout and ask your readers what they prefer; keep your subscribers on their toes by surprising them with fun, inspiring, informative and engaging content like your new favourite binge-series on Netflix or share a more serious podcast. Just make sure that you don't go overboard, and it's still recognisable as a message from you and your company. Never lose sight of why you are sending a newsletter. This leads me to my next tip.
Tip 5. Have an end-game
When you decide to start sending out newsletters, have an end-game in mind. You should know what your goal is with the newsletter. Do you want to grow your database, get more leads, promote something or sell directly? Or maybe you see it as an outlet for your thoughts and ideas? Whatever it is, make sure that you know it beforehand and that this comes across in your newsletter. There's nothing worse to spill over in your inbox than a sales-minded newsletter when you thought you'd get inspiring stories to read from a company you like. Use your newsletter wisely because a good newsletter turns a brand into a love brand.
Obviously, there are more than five tips to share on what makes a newsletter engaging, and I'll follow up some other time with more. Many solopreneurs and companies find the threshold for consistently keeping up with a newsletter high. The thing is, don't be your blocker. Just start to write some ideas that you find interesting enough to share, something that triggered you professionally and gave you new insights. If you want to get started and don't have the time to do this yourself, get in touch, and I'm happy to support you with your newsletters by organising, writing or editing them for you.