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Stop Wee Weeing All Over Your Newsletter – Simple steps to improve your newsletter

how to write better newsletters that people will want to read by maryann davidson marketing and photography
how to write better newsletters that people will actually read maryann davidson marketing and photography 1m

This little piggy went to market,

This little piggy stayed home,

This little piggy had roast beef,

This little piggy had none.

This little piggy went …

Wee, wee, wee, all the way home!

how to write better newsletters that people will actually read maryann davidson marketing and photography 2

It’s ok for little pigs to wee wee in Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes; but, as a business owner, you should not We We We (or I I I, or Me Me Me) in your newsletter. 

Imagine sitting next to someone at a networking meeting (or family gathering) and they only talk about themselves – bragging about their latest achievements, what they do, why they are sooooo great, and on and on and on… and on….

You can’t get a word in edgewise. You zone out and avoid that person from now on. 

So why would you be “That Person” in your newsletter!

Seriously, what’s in it for the reader?!
What would make someone WANT to read your newsletter?

Let’s figure that out so you produce a newsletter that people will Look Forward To Reading.

N:

Not About You

Remember, your Newsletter is NOT about you – it’s about what you can provide to help someone else. 

What value does it provide? How will it benefit the reader?

For example: If you are a chef or restaurant, you could include something about what to do if you add too much lemon to a recipe.

E:

Edge

What’s your Edge? What makes your newsletter different from all the other newsletters that land in someone’s email inbox?

What’s your unique personality and style? How can you incorporate that into your newsletter.

It’s worth setting aside time to brainstorm edgy ideas that will set you apart. So, look through newsletters you regularly read AND ALSO look through newsletters you just delete without reading. Write down what you like AND what you don’t like. This should spark a few ideas for content, stories, features, headlines, subject lines, CTAs (call to actions) etc. 

For example: No one is compelled to open a newsletter with the subject line “This Month’s Newsletter”.

W:

Why?

What’s the purpose of your newsletter? It is to entertain, educate, inform, inspire, provoke, engage? Does it do that?

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to be something you are not – Like if you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. Being who you are will help you Find And Keep the right readers for your newsletter.

S:

Strategy

What do you want to happen when someone reads your newsletter? – come to you, contact you, remember your brand, answer a survey, give you referrals?

Once you know what you want to happen, you can make a plan about what kind of content to put in the newsletter that will provide value and get that act to happen.

Punch up your strategy. For example: Don’t say “Buy these pants. And buy this shirt. And buy these shoes.” Instead say, “Want to look sharp for your blind date this weekend? This outfit will be Love At First Sight.”

L:

LCD

(lowest common denominator) Don’t assume people understand – always explain and include definitions, especially with acronyms.

E:

Expectations

Remember to follow through on any upcoming stuff from previous newsletters.

And deliver it on time (whether that’s weekly, monthly, quarterly). You want your audience to know what to expect and when to expect it, so they have something to look forward to from you.

T:

Target

Who is your target audience? – current clients, perspective clients, local businesses, potential employees, board members, donors etc?

At the top of your priority list should be figuring out who exactly is your target reader. This will help you to Focus on the right content that will resonate with them.

Why would that specific target audience WANT to read your newsletter?

  • What are their pain points?
  • What questions can you answer to help them solve their problems? 
  • How can you make their life easier?
  • What topics are relevant to your brand and their life?

For example: Articles written for a freelancer would be a turn off for top level executives.

T:

Text

What will you write about? Plan several newsletters ahead of time so you don’t rush and produce crap.

How long should it be? Don’t overwhelm people with too much text. Consider putting only a few carefully crafted sentences that will entice them to click the “Read More” link to that blog article. After all, the goal is to get them out of their inbox and onto your website.

Opening sentence and closing sentence – Grab their attention from the very first line of words. Have a strong closing. If the closing is a CTA (call to action), make sure it’s crystal clear what you want them to do.

What font(s)? The font should be easy to read. The headline font should stand out from the paragraphs.  Keep fonts under control – too many looks cluttered and busy. 

Are the words relevant and cohesive to your brand? Take a moment to Define Who You Are, because it will make all of your marketing easier.

E:

Engage Your Readers

“Read my newsletter” is BORING. What’s an engaging way to compel your audience to sign up and actively read your newsletter? 

Examples:

  • Boom Shakalaka! Leeet’s Geeet Starteeeed
  • 8 1/2 ways to _______ Better (fill in blank based on your target reader)
  • Urgent: __________

Engage your readers with visuals (photos, videos, infographics, cartoons, etc). Be sure they are relevant and cohesive to your brand.

Engage them and they will WANT to be part of what you’re doing.

  • have competitions
  • have contributors submit something – photos, recipes, stories, captions for photos
  • ask for feedback
  • give shout outs or highlights – vendors, local businesses, employee of month, charities, etc.

Make sure you recognize people (in the very next newsletter) that give you great content and insight.

Bonus: When people like something they will engage others by forwarding your newsletter.

And remember to account for Disengagement: How can people easily opt out of your newsletter? Hey, it happens. You can’t win them all.

R:

Remember

Remember – Proofread the text and check that all links are working properly. You don’t want to send out an “oops” follow-up email.

Remember to Represent – Your newsletter is an extension of your business and might be the first thing a person sees about you.

Remember to Measure Results – learn what’s working and what’s not:

  • How many people opened?
  • How many clicks per link?
  • Subscribed vs unsubscribed?
  • How many times Forwarded to others?

Remember – Don’t “We We” (I I, or Me Me) all over your newsletter.

N.E.W.S.L.E.T.T.E.R. – Add them all up and you’re well on your way to improving your newsletter.

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You’ve Got This! Keep Moving Forward…..

Maryann Davidson – Helping local businesses do their marketing better and more efficiently.

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