Ask EL: How Do I Plan My Newsletter?

In this edition of Ask Ethical Launch, we’re discussing newsletters.

Halley asks, “How do you figure out what to put in your newsletters? I find this the hardest part of blogging.”

This is a common question, and I think we all struggle with it at some point. Here are my top five tips for newsletters:

1. Decide WHY you are mailing the newsletter

If you aren’t sure why you are mailing it in the first place, it’s hard to decide what goes in it. Are you focusing on engagement? Or maybe you’d like to know what your people are interested in or what is challenging them at the moment? Having a reason why makes it clear to both you and your readers that you aren’t just mailing them because it’s the thing to do. Once you’re clear on this part, move on to the next question…

2. How often are you mailing?

Look at your blogging schedule. For the past two months, have you consistently published on your blog? For example, if you decided that you wanted to publish twice a week, have you been able to keep that up? This isn’t to get down on yourself or anything (really, it isn’t!). It’s actually because you do not want to give yourself more work than you can handle. Start publishing the newsletter once or twice a month. If you can keep that up, consider moving to once a week.

Decide how often you’re mailing, and then move on to the next tip….

3. Commit to Consistency

Commit to yourself that for this month or two you will publish this newsletter no matter what! That is the only way you’ll be able to measure if it actually meets your goals (from tip #1) or not.

4. It’s all an experiment

If one topic or type of newsletter doesn’t meet your goals, you can always switch it up and try something else next time! :)

5. But what do I actually WRITE about??

Take out a piece of paper (or your favorite mindmapping application). First, take a look at your most popular blog articles – do those spark any ideas? After that, here are some topics to think about:

  1. Case studies – This is a great one because it shows your readers what is possible.
  2. Checklists – People love checklists.
  3. Questions… either questions your clients should ask before doing something (or questions they actually do ask you… ahem, like this post!)
  4. Tips or techniques – do you have tips that will make their lives easier? Share ‘em!
  5. Recommendations and Resources

Every time you write a newsletter, ask yourself, “What’s the point? Why would someone want to open this?” Your people will be asking, “What’s in it for me?” Make sure there IS something in it for them.

The most important tip of the five is consistency. You can’t tell if something is working or not if you aren’t doing it consistently.

Do you have any questions about planning or writing your newsletter? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • http://twitter.com/MagnoliasWest Sue Kearney

    I looked at analytics yesterday (for the first time!) and was so surprised to see what was my most popular post. Not my usual subject matter. 

    So the question is: Do I write more about what was popular? Or add that topic more into the mix? 

    Interesting dilemma. I don’t want to write just for the numbers AND I want to increase my reach.

    Guess a bit of both…

    Thanks for your insights.

    Love and light,
    Sue

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