A quality newsletter needs more than coupons and ads, it needs something more that readers can’t get from your blog or website. Different types of content are appropriate depending on who your newsletter’s audience is. Whether you’re sending it to clients, investors, thought leaders, peers, donors or media, consider these types of content to keep it fresh.
1. Case Studies or Success Stories
Everyone loves a good success story. Current customers or clients can see more examples of what your company is capable of and your peers get to see how you tackled a problem. Use this type of content to emphasize the metrics of why something was a success. When current customers know what is important for a successful campaign and the reasoning behind it, they will be able to apply the concepts to their own experiences.
Do customers regularly come to you with the same questions? Try creating an article that answers X Questions about Y Product or Y Problem. The article is something you can send to future clients and others in the industry. If you don’t want to use the Q&A format, try creating an article that answers commonly asked question in a listicle: X Things You Should Know About Y.
3. A Column By An Industry Expert
Do you have a thought leader or just a really opinionated manager in your office? Harvest their knowledge and give them their own column in your newsletter. In their space they can share opinions on best practices, teach new tactics and comment on news.
4. A Survey Invitation – and Results
This type of content hits two birds with one stone. Ask readers to fill out your survey or questionnaire, then compile the data into an infographic, white paper, article, etc. When the content is done, use it in the next week’s newsletter to showcase results. Surveys create content for two weeks and position you as a thought leader in your industry.
5. Blog Recaps from the Week or Month
Depending on the budget you or your client is working with, there might not be the resources to create a unique article for your e-blasts. Instead, use your newsletter to recap what readers might have missed — it’s new content to them! Even if you do use new articles for newsletters, including recaps of what readers missed the week before gives an extra boost of traffic to articles that aren’t on the front page anymore.
6. Industry News Round-Up
Did major events occur in your industry this week that will affect both your peers and clients? Review the top three or top five news stories and what their effects will be on the industry. Show that you follow trends and can respond to them quickly as a company.
7. Personal Spotlight or Profile
Profiles focus on a specific person or team in the company and what they do. They can showcase how awesome your organizational structure is, highlight an employee who does something unique for the industry or answer FAQs about what a particular part of your business does. Do customers at a gym managed by your client want to know about personal training? Profile a personal trainer. Do they want to know how about infographics? Profile your graphic designer.
8. Letter from the CEO, President, Founder, etc.
Has the company changed or grown dramatically over the past few months or year? Did the organization reach a milestone or goal that once seemed impossible? Even if your company’s only victory was surviving the quarter, let someone explain where the company has been and where it is going – even if it’s a major corporation. This type of article will add a personal touch to the organization and help you connect emotionally with readers.
9. Welcome A New Client or Partnership
Depending on your newsletter’s audience, this can either be done right when the partnership is finalized or when there are proven results. The article would talk about the client or partner and everything they do and then describe what your company will be doing for them. The new partner will appreciate the shout-out and know that you appreciate them.
10. Growth and KPIs
This bullet also depends on your company, target audience, and industry. Non-profits that exceed fundraising goals can use this space to thank everyone who donated, while public companies on the stock market can announce their success to investors and set the outlook for the next quarter. Talking about the numbers shows how transparent a company is, which clients and investors will appreciate.
11. Seasonal Tips or Advice
Seasonal articles are perfect if you only have a quarterly or monthly newsletter. Health non-profits could write about the dangers a particular season has on one’s health, while accountants could write about money management over the holidays. You don’t necessarily need a weekly newsletter to make an impact.
12. Announce Upcoming Events
Do you have a webinar on the horizon? How about a major fundraiser? You can either use your newsletter to announce events as they get close or announce the schedule for the quarter in one foul swoop. A theater would want to announce the shows for a season but a marketing agency might want to announce a webinar a week or two before it happens.
13. Event Recaps
This one goes hand-in-hand with the survey invitation suggestion. If you host a webinar or Google+ hangout, post the video or an article describing what was discussed and share it with readers who weren’t able to attend. Maybe they saw the invite but forgot to sign-up and missed it. Non-profits that hold fundraising events can use newsletters to thank attendees, link to photos and announce the amount of money that was raised. Many of the tips in this article are meant to provide inspiration for newsletter content that’s already around you. Don’t overthink things: if you host a webinar or event, make the most of it!
14. Checklists, Listicles, Anything with Numbers!
The goal of your newsletter is to bring links to the inboxes of readers that will entice them to click through to your blog or website. People respond well to numbers and know that they can quickly skim over articles to see if it’s worth their time to read. Try creating a hurricane preparedness checklist, a tax season list, even a household cleaning supplies list if it applies to your client or company.
Either interview someone in the industry to pick their brain about upcoming trends or best practices, or interview an expert to teach readers how to do something. For example, a smoke alarm company could interview a firefighter about fireproofing a house for children or staying safe around the holidays. Interviews don’t have to be with big names in the industry if they’re helpful and educational to readers.
Consider adding a section for “Best X Around the Internet for Y” if you have a monthly or quarterly newsletter. No matter your industry you can pick a theme and link to tools, apps or articles that readers will appreciate. A local gym could create “Best Apps to Track your Diet” in one newsletter and then “Two Articles that Debate the Gym Etiquette of Cell Phones” in the next one.
17. Product Reviews
No, not just glowing reviews of your products or scathing remarks about your competitors, review tools that your company uses, new analytics or third party devices that relate to your product. Let’s use the smoke alarm company from number 15 as an example. They could review the iPhone app that creates sounds just like a smoke alarm. Is the sound the correct volume and tone? Is there danger that this app is like screaming fire in a movie theater? Give your two cents and review it.
It might be a good fit for your company to have a regular “magic crystal ball” column of industry predictions. A gutter cleaning company could predict expected rainfall or number of hurricanes on the horizon while a car company predicts the growth of electric car sales in the next five years. The more data to back up your predictions the better, people aren’t going to tune in just to here baseless speculations.
19. Instructions or How-Tos
One of the great things about newsletters is that they’re easier to save than articles from a blog or on social media — readers can just let them sit in their inboxes. By featuring instructions and how-tos (or lists, or resources) people will be more inclined to save your newsletter and use it as a reference later. Articles like How to Prepare for the First Snowfall will be helpful enough to keep readers from hitting the delete button.
Hopefully these types of content will give you inspiration for your next newsletter and beyond. If you struggle to keep coming up with new ideas, pick a style from the list and try to build something around it. You never know what fresh new ideas will pop up.