5 Tips to Master the Art of Newsletter Writing
Why Start a Newsletter?
For businesses of all sizes, email newsletters are proving to be productive for encouraging repeat visits and eventually converting readers into supporters. A newsletter is a great way to share what you’re all about, how you can help people and what you stand for. By sharing your thoughts, opinions, and expertise over time, your subscribers will get to know and trust you more deeply.
A newsletter is a salesperson who doesn’t hammer people with Sale! Sale! Sale! Emails all day long, but rather make the audience view it as a trusty ambassador, reminding people each time you send a message who you are and how you operate. As a result, you’ll sit atop their mind when you have a new offering to provide or when a subscriber decides they need assistance in your specialty area.
If your research into your audiences’ format preferences suggests that their email inbox is a place where they regularly want to hear from your organisation, consider what you can offer them that will be distinct.
How, though, do the newsletters help you pull strings?
Laying Down the Law
First and foremost, a newsletter is more than just a virtual postman- dashing the mail in the boxes. It’s a distribution format over which businesses have complete control. You choose the timing, contents, delivery, and layout. Unlike social media platforms which control the curation and presentation of a publisher’s journalism, and the corresponding audience data it generates, an email is a digital tool at publishers’ disposal that reaches audience members directly.
Unlike tools that expose businesses to the news feed algorithms of social media platforms, email offers a more secure way to reach users where they are: no apps to download and no new tools to learn. Also, businesses can access and learn from the data that generates the email about the subscribers who opened the email.
One might wonder, though, whether these pieces of insights/facts/stories/pretense/wit are too lengthy to be consumed. At the same time, the people on social media with attention spans lesser than that of a goldfish take to numberless other sources, ranging from inshorts to YouTube (never mind that most end up scrolling YouTube Shorts). Why, then, would they be interested in reading you?
The only way through is to BE INTERESTING enough.
Let’s double-click on this.
You vs. your Audience
Is it a newsletter about divulging insights via engaging stories you’ve discovered/come across, or more about understanding your audience and catering to their interests?
Well, it’s about collaboration once you get the knack for it.
Let’s illustrate this.
The easiest way to establish your newsletter’s style and tone is to begin writing and observe what comes naturally to you over time and what resonates with your readers. It takes people a while to settle on their melange of musings, business updates, and exciting community offerings.
Don’t shy away from asking your family, friends, or business buddies to review your newsletters. One can never go wrong with positive criticism, and it’s a sign you’ve reached stage two of your newsletter: The Audience. At this stage, you have your first segment of the newsletter audience. Incorporate the feedback you receive from your early audience and be ready to see your newsletter grow significantly.
Fig- Growth curve of a newsletter
Grabbing your readers’ attention plays an important role in the growth of your newsletter. Once you have attracted readers to your offering, whether through social media, the rare insights (discussed in the latter part of this article), a partners’ link, or an in-person event, the next step is to engage those readers and deepen your relationship with them.
Jacque Boltik and Aisha Townes of the Shorenstein Center’s Single Subject News Study recommend that– ‘Out of all email newsletter products, the personality-driven newsletters that build strong writer-reader relationships are the type of newsletters most likely to be paid email newsletter products.’
The goal is to find what potential there is as far as reaching our readers and possibly getting some stories out of it.
Also, while it’s utopian to expect that all readers will want to respond to mailed newsletters or comment themselves, consider how to make these spaces as participatory as you can within or beyond the boundaries of your newsletter space. Needless to say, there are no right ways to do it. Explore beyond horizons. Experiment and enjoy. Ensure that your readers enjoy it as much as you do.
Let’s conclude this bit with what Kerstin Martin, a famous educator, has to say about doing newsletters.
“There is no right or wrong way to do a newsletter, as long as the way you’re doing it comes from your heart and is aligned with your way of doing things.”
However, is that true? You’re to say, for It’s up to you to discover the right ways.
The Rare Insights
Perhaps getting started with your newsletters is quite taxing; growing your audience isn’t. Let’s prove it.
We’ve come up with some hacks on how one should do it.
1. Organic Influencer Marketing
Round the month, you would do numberless LinkedIn posts, tweets, and/or blog posts at a personal or business level. You should, in case you don’t, to make the most of your newsletters.
One can leverage one’s posts to double/triple/quadruple the reach of one’s newsletters by following three straightforward steps:
1. Look for a creativepreneur who resonates with your newsletter’s theme
2. Mail them or slide into their Instagram/LinkedIn/Twitter DM, and reach out to them
3. Ask them for a one-liner quote to place in your newsletter
Not only does this add authenticity to your work but also enhances the possibility of your newsletter’s reach being magnified at the influencer’s end.
More often than not, they are more than happy to share your insights in exchange for you sharing theirs. If not, revert to step 1.
Choose two of your newsletters and mail them to a subscriber mentioning-
‘Here’s your newsletter for this week. Here’s one for your friend. We’re sure you’ll know someone who’ll like the other.
Show them you care.
Such messages can not only coax them into reading the mail but also (by turning the customers into advocates) help you expand your potential audience from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8. You do the math.
Those are the perks of social transmission (which accounts for 93% of word of mouth, while the rest, 7%, is via inorganic social media).
Needless to say, you need to be creative.
And hope you realize how your efforts in recommendation (along with whatever it takes to write a newsletter) may go in vain if they are unbothered to open your newsletter. Doubly hurtful.
First things first, ensure that they commence reading your mail. Scroll back and scrutinize how we had you reach here!
Communicating with your e-mail sign-ups can go a long way in the way that it can invite their valuable contributions. Respond to follow-up emails, listen to your reader’s thoughts, and collaboratively figure out what helpful content you could create.
You can have great success with a low number of readers (read: fans) who’d eagerly await your next mail. Needless to mention, less is more!
4. Elisabeth Goodridge’s words
Elisabeth Goodridge, editor for newsletters and messaging at The New York Times, said that to achieve excellence in a personality-driven newsletter, your product must:
- Be presented in a conversational, yet clear voice
- Offer invaluable yet useful information
- Provide an engaging format and features
In addition, have some testable questions ready. Take, for instance, placing newsletter links on your website. One cannot emphasize more how the apt placement of sign-up buttons on websites can work wonders. As a thumb rule, flash links at the places where visitors are most likely to engage.
You can always bank on A/B testings for the same. Here’s a video you might want to refer to:
(P.S. perhaps, around here, it could be the perfect area for the newsletter sign-up link!)
Before you get started
Skeptical about taking the first step toward sharing newsletters? Or want to get started?
Refer to this YouTube video by Ali Abdal to instate your path toward your newsletter journey.
We’re sure you’re done with the final push. If not, Ali assures you your first subscriber.
Dash in your newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write to us at email@example.com, and send in your subscription link. Here you go with your second audience.
Good luck with newsletter-ing!
Jacque Boltik and Nicco Mele, “Using Data Science Tools for Email Audience Analysis: A Research Guide,” Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, October 18, 2017.
Klint Finley, “Why Everyone Is Obsessed with E-Mail Newsletters Right Now,” TechCrunch, August 23, 2014.
Hansen, Elizabeth, and Emily Goligoski. “Guide to audience revenue and engagement.” (2018).
Guzman, Monica. “The best ways to build audience and relevance by listening to and engaging your community.” Retrieved from American Press Institute: https://www. americanpressinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/How-tobuild-audiences-by-engaging-your-community.pdf (2016).