Editor’s Note: We’re excite to welcome a new contributor the Dear Handmade Life team… Leah Wechsler who is the content strategist, designer, and writer behind Creative, She Wrote. We’re a big fan using newsletters to build your branding and business which is why we’re loving this first post by Leah on How to create a newsletter that you (and your subscribers) love.
You’ve lovingly crafted your list, with ways and things that get interested people to sign-up, but now what? What do you say once your readers have arrived? Getting started with a newsletter is a bit like dating. It’s necessary if you want to operate outside of a bubble, and a bit of a pain in the neck to get going. It has taken me a little while to find my flow, but with practice, it’s getting easier, and the results are that I now have delightful emails in my inbox after I send out each newsletter.
Creating engaging content, and emails that get opened isn’t as hard as you think.
Here are a few ideas to nurture your missives into a valuable tool that delights your audience.
Before we get started, since we’re talking about a newsletter, a content marketing tool, there are a few things we should clear up to craft a strategy that works for you. Like an experiment, having a framework helps you outline our ideas and reflect on them, to adapt and adjust how your newsletter works for you and supports your business.
1. What is the intention of your newsletter?
More specifically, what would you like your readers to do after they read your letter? Do you want them to go to your website? Connect with you on social media? Use your words as guidance throughout the day?
Consider how and why your readers signed up in the first place. For example, if they signed up for behind-the-scenes updates on your business; how can you help them share in the experience of your knowledge? Lifestyle blogs do an excellent job of this by sharing recipes and products that make you feel like you’re part of the adventure too.
So consider how you want to funnel readers. Set a goal for each email, create a call to action, and point subscribers to the place where they can buy from you, sign up for an e-course, or read a blog post.
2. How will your readers benefit from reading your newsletter?
It’s easy to confuse sharing updates with providing valuable information, information that someone acts on.
Make it Personal
Share something that happened to you from your week, or a personal story of lessons learned that will help you connect to your, build trust, and show you’re human too. If you’re going to take the time to write a custom email, treat it like you would a letter to a friend, then make sure you sound like a human too. Being transparent makes you believable.
When I started writing my newsletter, I sent letters reflecting on what I was working on, with illustrations. People loved the drawings, but I couldn’t get them to click on anything.
It all changed when I started adding tutorials, links to my offerings, and more heart-centered messages into the body of the letter. Lesson learned! Be personal, but add value too.
Your audience isn’t a bunch of readers. They’re your tribe. These are the people who support your small business dreams, who follow you and invest in the work you put out into the world. If they’re are still there after they’ve downloaded that magnetic opt-in, they’re interested in what you have to say.
How can you help them, where they are now? Write tips and tricks that the person can walk away with immediately and use in their own business or life. If they find value and pleasure in what you’ve written, they’ll keep on reading.
3. Making sure they will open the letter in the first place
Create catchy subject lines
You might write the best content a mailing list has ever seen, but if no one opens it, then you wasted your time. Consider writing a question, making a bold statement, something that raises curiosity, or is just plain creative!
What emails do you open? Create a folder in your inbox and put your detective cap on. What subject lines do these emails use? What is it in the letters that keep you reading and opening them again and again?
4. Don’t call it a newsletter
The word newsletter might be killing your creativity, and your audiences, so call it what it is, to you! Maybe it’s daily inspiration, love notes, resources, articles, a journal, or a missive. It’s your choice what to use, but don’t call it a newsletter.
Creative Content Ideas For Your Newsletter
Hooray, there isn’t a formula for this! The best thing to do is to test out different types of content and headlines, to see what works for your goals. Most importantly, just write it, and consistently. (Still working on the same issue myself.)
Some of my favorite newsletters:
– Answer a reader’s question
– Re-write a post from the website
– Go behind-the-scenes of the creative process
– Tell us how they solved a problem
– Read like a letter from a dear friend
– Do a round-up of favorite posts
– Do a round-up of awesome things others are doing that you think your readers should know about
– Create an infographic
– Run a survey to discover what you can create for your readers
– Share something that’s been on your mind or a reaction
Share the information in a way that feels right to you.
If you want to write a bulleted list with all of your ideas, go for it. Write it by hand without the distraction of the Internet. Diagram your thoughts with a mind map and see where the tangents take you. Sometimes talking out loud is a way to get the creative juices going, and there are plenty of tools to record your voice and play it back later. And when you’ve done all that, walk away for a bit. Let the creative juices simmer, pull out your pen and begin to write.
Writing a newsletter is an art form and rewards the resilient and reflective. They’re a way of creating a long-term relationship with your people. You’ll find new ideas, new collaborators, new friends. And there is plenty of room for all of us.
Leah Wechsler is the content strategist, designer, and writer behind Creative, She Wrote.