Newsletters are one of those necessary evils for modern business. They’re also a bit confusing.
Entrepreneur coaches say that you need one, yet the ones you’re subscribed to sit unopened in your inbox for a week until you delete it because the next installment already came out — no point in reading old material. You’ll catch up on the next one, which, of course, you never do.
If you don’t open newsletters you're interested in, why should you have one? I think a better question is: what’s so special about the newsletters you do open? Or, what is it about some newsletters that lead you to not opening them after you’ve read a few installments of them?
The ones that get open do one thing very right, and that same thing also makes writing them far easier and less stressful.
Ready to stop agonizing over what content to include in your newsletter and start increasing your open and read rates?
What you’re doing when you write a newsletter
When they sit down to work on their newsletter, most people spend the first hour agonizing over what to include in it. The steps typically look like this:
- Open your wordprocessor
- Write a title
- Rewrite the title (again and again)
- Stare at the blank space beneath the title until you convince yourself that newsletters are impossible/not your thing
- Go to YouTube and conduct your weekly search for what makes good newsletter content
- Write a boring-as-hell newsletter pushing your new book/video/course that no one opens
- Wonder why newsletters are worth your time when no one opens it
Sound familiar? That was me when I started my first newsletter in 2012. It took me until 2014 to refine the process to one that didn’t only get opened and read but converted sales and was actually fun to write.
You’ve heard of the K.I.S.S. principle, yeah?
Keep It Simple, Stupid — Clarence “Kelly” Johnson
Here’s the problem with your approach to your newsletters: you are trying to convert the reader. This may be to make a sale, subscribe to your YouTube channel, or merely to follow you on social media.
What you need to be doing is what you did with the content that converted the newsletter subscription in the first place: inform or entertain (or infotain, if you’re that person who can do both at the same time).
Here’s the new process:
- Open your wordprocessor
- Come up with a headline for a “blog post” that is relevant to your content
- Write the “blog post”
- Put a call-to-action at the bottom to convert to wherever you want to send the reader
- Publishing the newsletter
Is it that simple? Yes, but there are a few complications. Making a newsletter is supposed to be a more exclusive and intimate connection with a creator or business. Don’t abuse that by doing the following.
- Do not use a blog post you’ve posted someplace else. When someone reposts content on their newsletter that I read last week on their website, social media, or Medium.com, I unsubscribe immediately. Make your content exclusive to your newsletter.
- Make your newsletter map to your content strategy. If I follow you for business advice, I do not want pictures of your animals and a description of their daily walk (okay, I do want that, but on Facebook, not your newsletter). Make your newsletter a more intimate version of the content you create online.
- Offer a deal of some kind. I gave you my email address and, if you followed the above advice, my attention every week; I deserve more than you selling me your next big idea. Drive home the concept of exclusivity by giving your subscribers 30% off on your new book or course.
If you’re a blogger, writing a newsletter should be cake for you. If you’re a YouTuber or other creative type, consider making your newsletter content an intimate conversation where you talk about how you’ve been applying the same advice you share in your videos and how it’s working for you.
Treat your newsletter like an exclusive blog, and you’ll keep and convert more subscribers.
To see me mess this up every week, subscribe to my newsletter.