You want to send out an email newsletter but you’re not sure what to write about or even where to start?
Sound familiar? If so, you’re definitely not alone.
When it comes to email newsletters, lots of small business owners struggle with figuring out what to say and how to say it.
You don’t need a degree in English or 10 years of professional writing experience. You just need to have a plan.
You can do this!
To help you get started, I’ve created this step-by-step guide on how to write an email newsletter.
Determine Your Purpose
What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to promote your latest blog posts? Share information about new products? Drive traffic to your website? All of the above? None of the above?
The answer to this question will ultimately drive all of your content decisions. Jot down your answers and refer back to them periodically to make sure your newsletter and your business goals are aligned.
Identify Potential Newsletter Topics
Once you’ve determined your purpose, you can start to map out potential topics.
Always start with your audience. What topics do you think they would be most interested in given your industry and the focus of your business? What information do you think they were expecting when they subscribed to your newsletter?
Make a list. Personally, I know that’s something I’ve found to be super helpful. Include questions you get from customers, search terms people use to find your website, and inspiration from other relevant articles and blogs.
It’s okay to promote your business and your products and services some of the time, but more than anything else you want to add value. That means the majority of your content (90 or so percent) should focus on educational content (how to guides, helpful information, emerging trends, etc.)
Develop an Outline
This is where things really start to take shape. Creating an outline is also a really helpful step when you’re struggling with what to say.
Start with a catchy subject line and then insert a few subheadings to help get the creative juices flowing. Don’t spend a lot of time wordsmithing at this point—your goal is to get something down that you can build from once your newsletter starts to take shape.
Keep it Concise
It’s easy to want to cover every possible topic in one newsletter. But when you do your readers suffer from information overload. And that’s never a good thing.
Think back to the purpose of your newsletter. At some point, you’re going to want your readers to visit your website. Instead of trying to stuff everything into an email, keep your content short. Include a quick blurb that teases your content and directs them back to your site.
Ready to create your next newsletter?
Here are my email newsletter best practices.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Shawn Campbell]