“When the majority of your newsletter content is valuable and super-helpful, no one begrudges you a bit of cheerleading for your own business.”
Newsletters are a vital part of business communication. They are a direct link between a company and its clients or interested parties and are an excellent opportunity to provide information about upcoming events, products or news. Belinda Weaver, founder of Copywrite Matters, spoke recently with the Australian Businesswoman’s Network in the webinar Newsletters that Produce Results. According to Belinda, the key role of a newsletter is to position the author as an authority in their field.
“You want to help people, you want to offer value, you want to position yourself as a subject matter expert, and you don’t have to write all of the content yourself in order to do that.”
Newsletters need to offer something to the reader; they need to provide information in exchange for the subscriber’s support. You don’t necessarily have to be the sole creator of your newsletter content; you can be a content aggregator. But, the idea is to offer value and reaffirm to your subscribers that you are a business worth following. Here are Belinda’s 10 tips for turning a newsletter into an interesting and invaluable resource for a subscriber:
- The Welcome Letter – A welcome letter or introduction is a great way to start off a newsletter. When written from a particular person, for example the CEO or Director of a company, particularly if it is a large company, it is a great way to make the newsletter more personal. The company will appear more approachable, which can be a very attractive quality to a client. A welcome letter at the top of the newsletter can also be a useful way to draw people quickly to the important content. A P.S. is a great tool in this regard, too. People are attracted to content listed here as it seems like secret information. Use it for promotions or any information you want people to pay particular attention to.
- Industry News – Industry news is a great way to break up your newsletter. This section can be an invaluable resource to your subscribers. It helps position you as an authority not only in regards to your business, but also of the greater industry of which you’re a part. This authority transforms your business into a resource and can attract people to your newsletter as a way to stay up to date. When your business has built a trusting relationship with a client, this can be incredibly powerful in the process of buying.
- Tips and Hints – To attract readers, a newsletter must contain content that offers value and the free sharing of expertise. By including some free advice in every issue, the subscriber builds a level of trust with your company; they believe that you are trying to help them and not just make money from them.
- Interviews – Interviews are a great way to create content for a newsletter without having to do too much. Sure, you need to choose an interesting person and ask illuminating questions, but apart from that you are free to capitalise on someone else’s expertise.
- Profiles – Staff profiles are a nice way to humanise a company. They build a sense of connection between the subscriber and your company, remind your customers that they are a valued customer, and that the organisation is run by people who are similar to them. Client profiles similarly build a sense of community around a company. Focusing on the customers through case studies, stories or testimonials is a nice reminder that the subscriber is not alone and there is a larger network, of all of whom are experiencing similar situations.
- Book Reviews – Writing a review is a relatively easy way to create content based on another expert’s work. It also helps position you or your company as an expert with a sophisticated opinion that is worth listening to. And you don’t need to limit yourself to just books. You can review anything, from videos and podcasts, to webinars and documentary films in a related area.
- Upcoming Events – If your business runs events then a newsletter is the perfect place to market them. You can include costs, dates, registration details and a summary to entice your subscribers to attend. If your business doesn’t run any events, then this can still be applied to promote events outside of your business. Again this is a useful way to act as a curator of content, and promote the idea that your business is in the know about your industry.
- Sharing Resources – Sharing resources is an excellent way to transform your business in your customers’ eyes into a resource rather than just another company. Sharing will act to extend your business beyond your services and products and you will become a go-to location where your customers can access information. This will make your business more useful and trustworthy, and will essentially result in more traffic and awareness of your products and services.
- Offers and Incentives – A great incentive for people to subscribe to your newsletter is to offer specials that aren’t necessarily available to the public. This establishes a feeling of being in the ‘inner-circle’ and can be a great way to ensure people stay in touch with the company.
- Company News – This section gives some internal news about what’s happening within the company. This could be the news of a recent award, a current promotion or a new product.
When you create a sense of community around your business, it is likely that your customers will start to care and share in your excitement. Apply the 80/20 rule to your newsletter content: 80% helpful content, 20% promotional news. This article is based on the Newsletters that Produce Results webinar. Watch the webinar, here. Free access for Premium Members. Visit Belinda’s website, Copywrite Matters, for more copywriting and newsletter tips. Read Belinda’s popular blog post on 21 great ideas for company newsletters, here.