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How To Write a Newsletter That Your Subscribers Love

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Published: September 10, 2021 (Updated: June 16, 2022)

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Email marketing is more than just sending out messages at predetermined times and expecting users to interact with it. When used properly, it can be a highly effective marketing tool. An email newsletter is a great email marketing tactic if you create a newsletter that’s both informative and exciting to read.

Image via Unsplash by Brett Jordan

What Is a Newsletter?

A newsletter is a regularly scheduled written update or report about themed topics or information. Think of a business newsletter as a niche newspaper. It gives your audience everything they need to know about your recent initiatives or the latest things your organization can do for them. Newsletters typically go out on a schedule to a group of subscribers: people who choose and agree to receive that content. And while we’re primarily discussing email newsletters here, newsletters can also be made available in print or online.

Marketing and Newsletter Goals

Most organizations use newsletters to inform and educate their audience about interesting and timely topics. Newsletter content may include opinion pieces, product descriptions, articles, interviews, and other related details. They’re typically sent to people who have an interest in the company, and this type of regular communication builds trust and loyalty between the organization and the reader. Newsletters are also a way to establish credibility and authority in a field and increase brand awareness.

How To Write a Newsletter

Use these steps to learn how to write a business or organizational newsletter:

1. Pick Your Content

One of the most important parts of writing a newsletter is figuring out what you want to talk about. Think about topics that are timely and matter to your audience. These could include:

  • Discounts and sales
  • New content like blog posts, articles, videos, or infographics
  • New or upcoming projects
  • Product launches
  • Upcoming events or event recaps

You can also consider what you want your newsletter to accomplish. What do you want people to get out of the content? Is it purely promotional? Do you want them to visit your website or download content? Maybe you want to get more conversions or sales. Picking one point of focus will help you catch and maintain your audience’s attention.

2. Write a Draft

Get your ideas down in a document. They don’t have to be perfect or cohesive for your first draft: instead, focus on recording what you want to say. Try writing the draft as if you’re sending the newsletter to one specific person, also known as a persona. A persona helps you visualize and target who’s going to read your content. It can be an actual person you know or a fictionalized member of your target audience.

Having a persona in mind can make your draft more personalized and interesting. It can also make it easier for you to decide what content is valuable. For example, if you’re writing to a persona you’ve created named Marissa Vernon—a detail-oriented marketing manager who likes fancy food and online shopping—this can help you decide what she wants to read about or how she might prefer you format your content.

3. Review the Draft

Take your draft and polish it into a professional document. A good place to start is looking for spelling and grammar mistakes. Next, see if you can remove sections that don’t have value or if you can omit any language that’s repetitive. You’ll also want to check the tone to make sure it fits your content and purpose.

Reading the draft out loud can help you check for errors like awkward phrasing or information that makes little sense. You could also copy the text into a text-to-speech converter and have the program read your newsletter to you. This helps because sometimes when you know what something should say, you read it correctly even if it’s written incorrectly.

Another option is to use online writing programs like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues. You can install these plugins in your browser and use them to check your spelling and grammar in almost any program.

Finally, consider asking someone else to proofread your newsletter. This could be an editor, another writer, a friend, someone from your target audience, or a colleague. These people can help you catch grammatical errors and tell you if your writing is engaging.

4. Create Your Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing people see when they receive your newsletter in their inbox. Make it something that catches their attention and encourages them to open the email. Some tricks to get more email opens include:

  • Making a promise about the contents of the newsletter
  • Personalizing the subject line with the recipient’s name
  • Using time sensitive words to create a sense of urgency

Time sensitive subject lines function like breaking news push notifications on your phone. If they require immediate action, like reading about a weather alert, you’re more likely to open it right away. If you make a promise in your subject line, be sure to follow through with the content. This can increase trust and make subscribers more likely to open other emails from you in the future.

5. Run a Test

You can send your newsletter as a test to see how it looks and performs before emailing it to your entire subscriber list. Send the test to yourself at a secondary email address to check the formatting. If you have a large group of followers, you can also send the newsletter to just a few people on your subscriber list to see what kinds of open rates you get. This can help you see if you’re getting bounce back from any specific email client or if there are any unexpected problems with delivery. You can then correct these issues before you send the message to the entire list.

6. Send the Newsletter and Track Results

If your test goes well, and after you’ve made any necessary adjustments, send the newsletter off to your entire subscriber list. From there, you can answer messages that come back from clients and start preparing for the next newsletter. You can also check metrics like:

  • Bounce rates: The percentage of emails that return to your inbox and don’t make it to subscribers
  • Click-through rates: The percentage of readers who click a link within the email to complete another action
  • Forwards: The number of times readers send your newsletter to another email account
  • Open rates: The percentage of subscribers who open your newsletter
  • Unsubscribes: The number of people who request to leave your subscriber list after receiving an email

Trying different strategies in your newsletters and tracking the metrics can help you determine which ones get the best results. You can incorporate those findings into future newsletters to get more engagement.

Tips for Writing a Great Newsletter

Use these tips to create a newsletter that your subscribers look forward to getting:

Pick Something People Want To Read

When choosing your content, pick something people want to read. The newsletter isn’t really about the writer or even the story of the business. It’s about the reader and what you can do for them. Have you ever gotten one of those Christmas cards where someone recaps a year of their life? Don’t be that person with your newsletter. Focus on how you can inform or solve problems for your audience. Find a balance between engaging stories and customer value.

Give People a Reason To Sign Up

You can pick the most engaging newsletter subject in the world, but if nobody subscribes to your email list, they’ll never see it. Sometimes you have to get creative for people to sign up. Providing discounts or free resources for subscribing to a newsletter can be good incentives. You can also give those initial incentives and then promise that people who subscribe will get more exclusive offers in the future.

This is a technique that bands and musical artists often use. They promise presale ticket codes to fans who sign up for their newsletters. And speaking of signing up for a newsletter, are you getting one from CopyPress yet?

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Increase Your Open Rates

According to a MailChimp study, only an average of 21.33% of people opens emails from brands and companies across all industries. If you’re taking your time to write a newsletter, you probably want more than one-fifth of your subscribers to open it and read it. Some ways you can increase your open rates include:

  • Sending credible, legitimate emails
  • Targeting subscribers in the subject line
  • Using your own name in the “from” address line instead of a brand name

The more you can get your subscribers to trust your content, the more likely they are to open your emails. When they find you provide them with valuable content, they’ll hopefully be eager to open your future newsletters.

Be Consistent with Delivery

Getting people to open and read your newsletter may depend on finding your delivery sweet spot. Sending emails too often can annoy customers, but sending them too infrequently can make them forget about you. Daily emails may be too many and feel like spam unless you explicitly state that you’ll be delivering this kind of communication in your newsletter sign-up. Weekly, semimonthly, or monthly emails may be your best option. These levels of correspondence are frequent enough to keep your brand in front of subscribers without overdoing it.

Your content type may also inform how often you send your newsletters. Subscribers may welcome shorter newsletters on a weekly basis, while they may prefer a monthly schedule for long-form content. Picking a consistent time of day to schedule and send your newsletters can be helpful as well, as this helps readers anticipate your messages.

Focus on the First Line

The first line of your body content can be just as important as the subject line when it comes to enticing readers. This is because some email clients show a preview of the body content in the email window before you open the full message. This preview contains your greeting and part of the first line of body text.

You can target readers with this section by personalizing the greeting and calling subscribers by name, if possible. Start your first paragraph with a sentence that introduces the point of the newsletter and creates a shared experience for the reader. This can help people determine why they should read the rest of the content.

Keep It Short and Simple

You’re trying to provide value to your readers, so get right to the point. Don’t draw out the newsletter with long stories or irrelevant examples. Every word, every line, and every element of your newsletter should have a purpose. Whether it’s promoting your call to action or helping the reader understand a tricky concept, every part of the newsletter should have value. The best way to do this is to keep it short and simple.

To do this, keep your paragraphs to 100 words or fewer for easier reading. You can also try to write at a seventh or eighth grade reading level to make your newsletter accessible to everyone. Programs like the Hemingway Editor can tell you the difficulty level of your writing and give you suggestions on how to adjust the content.

Segment Your List

You can group your email list into different categories to make sure you’re targeting the right subsection of your subscriber list. This can be more beneficial than having a blanket opt-in/opt-out feature for emails. For example, if you run a beauty and lifestyle brand, when you’re getting subscriber sign-ups, you can ask if readers want to receive product information emails, sale and discount announcements, and your newsletter. This gives them the option to choose exactly what they want from you.

If you would rather segment the list yourself, you can watch the following elements on your website and in your correspondences:

  • The items that encouraged subscribers to submit their email addresses on your website
  • Which emails they open after they subscribe
  • Which links they click within the emails

A/B Test Your Email Subject Lines

Beyond testing to make sure your email works before you send it, you can also run A/B testing on the items you send. Also called split testing, this technique uses two or more variations of the same content to see which performs better and is more popular with your audience.

By testing subject lines, you can see which version gets more opens. Then, you can look at the more successful version to figure out why it’s more popular and apply those principles to future emails. You can also run A/B testing on body content and calls to action in your newsletters.

Survey Your Audience

If you want an answer to a question, the quickest way to get it is to just ask. Survey your audience to see what they want to see and learn from your newsletters. You can create an open-ended survey right in an email and encourage people to respond. You can also use a survey program like Google Forms to create a document and send the link through email. If sending a link, be sure to clarify what it is and its purpose.

Add Visuals

Your newsletters don’t have to be gigantic walls of text. You can use images, videos, GIFs, and other visual content to emphasize and illustrate your points. This technique gives emails skimmers an idea of what you’ve included in the written content without having to read the entire thing.

Outsource Your Newsletters

If you want more time to focus on other aspects of your business, or if you need the help of a professional, you can outsource your newsletter. If you already outsource your other written content to an agency like CopyPress, you can apply the same strategy with your newsletter. You have the option to hire a freelancer, a local consultant, or an agency that specializes in email marketing.

When outsourcing, look for people and companies with excellent reviews and recommendations. Be thorough when describing your needs in your job listing or in an interview. It’s a good idea to request a test newsletter from any person or agency before hiring them. Share your style guide and expectations to see if they can replicate your tone and style. Outsourcing your newsletter does come with a fee: you may pay between $10 and $100 per email for services.

Writing a good email newsletter can help you provide value to your subscribers and attract new ones. Using the right techniques can optimize your content for readability and make readers excited about your next message.

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