I’ve talked about why starting a newsletter is important for your brand and business, but before you jump the gun sign up for one, you must determine the who, what, when, and why of your newsletter. A newsletter should not be an afterthought. Because newsletter conversion can be so valuable, it is imperative that you invest in crafting a meaningful engagement for your subscribers.
Before we begin talking about the newsletter, you will struggle if you don’t have a good idea about the direction and goals of your brand and business. You will not see meaningful growth unless you’ve established purpose.
Why do you want to start a newsletter?
If you are doing it because you read that’s what you are supposed to do, stop. Don’t waste your time setting up something if you don’t have a clear idea of how it fits into your overall goals. Your list needs to address a component of your business. Provide value to not only your brand but your tribe. The email newsletter should benefit subscribers first. If they feel that your emails have added value to their day, they will be more likely to engage in promotional opportunities.
When #SmarterSaturday was a blog post, I shared my favorite posts from the week that I enjoyed reading and felt helped grow my business. With the positive feedback from that series, I transitioned it into a newsletter with more details and insights into my own business. The #SmarterSaturday newsletter is where I share more personal details about my business model and approach.
Who is your ideal subscriber?
Defining your audience is vital for your business (something I previously overlooked). With your email newsletter, you want your subscriber to become a customer potentially. As your newsletter goal should align with your overall brand, your ideal reader should align with your ideal client. Identifying, who is reading your emails, helps you target and craft a more intentional message.
Bloggers and creative entrepreneurs are my ideal subscribers. The #SmarterSaturday newsletter shares a few worthwhile reads on tech and tutorials, but the meat of its content is about my business. I want readers to learn from my goals and hiccups, but also, feel a personal connection to my brand. My blog content focuses heavily on tutorials and business; the newsletter is where things get personal.
How does your list provide value?
I’m an email minimalist; I subscribe to very few things. I tend to believe that most people are minimalist as well (or, at least, don’t engage regularly). You can try to bait readers with fancy headlines and free downloads, but maintaining and growing your list will solely depend on the value your content provides.
“Write the book you want to read” – Austin Kleon
This quotation might be my life mantra. When I read Austin Kleon’s book earlier this year, that statement jumped out at me, and it radically shaped what I was doing and writing. As an expert in your field, what do you want to read? Well, write about it! Nobody cares about your week round-up or a topic where a zillion other posts exists. Give something new.
Editorial Calendar: When + How?
Determining when and how often you will send out your newsletter is important. You want to build consistency as well as demonstrate dependability. Depending on your editorial blog schedule, you will want to consider that with your newsletter.
For me, Saturdays are ideal. I post 4-5 times a week, and on Saturday morning, I share insights as well as a recap from the week. Also, as a self-taught designer/developer, my Saturdays were spent learning and growing professional. Working Saturday mornings has been a pillar of White Oak Creative, and the newsletter lends itself well to those values.
What if you aren’t ready?
You might find that you are not in the place to invest the time and energy in your newsletter. That’s okay. You can setup RSS feed that shares your posts daily, weekly or both, and also, incorporate promotions about your brand. If you sign-up for my Blog Newsletter Guide, you will get a tutorial on how to setup those templates!
If you haven’t started your email newsletter or realize that you need to revisit it, today’s action steps are pretty clear + straightforward.
- Determine why you want to start a newsletter + how it fits with your overall brand and business.
- Identify your audience + why they will find your email Ask yourself a gut check question on the value – what kinds of emails do you find valuable?
- Brainstorm 5-10 different email topics for your newsletter, identify a schedule (weekly, bi-weekly?), + start drafting newsletters!
Want more email marketing tips? Check out these posts! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.
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