E-newsletters are highly-used and highly-useful tool in the content marketing toolbox. And with good reason, e-newsletters can be great vehicles for delivering brand messages, connecting and engaging with target audiences and sharing the brand story. The success of e-newsletter effort comes down to a few simple dos and don’ts. Whether you have an established e-newsletter or are weighing the value of starting one, read these rules and examples of strong e-newsletters in order to produce an effective content marketing tool.
- DO mix self-published content and content curated from other sources—the most important goal of an e-newsletter, or really any type of content, is to provide value to your audience. Therefore, your e-newsletter should include content that your audience can use, regardless of where it comes from. The goal of National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Global E-news Report is not just to deliver news from the U.S. to its global members. It includes a series of articles that NAHB has written/published along with a section dedicated to industry news headlines from around the world.
- DON’T forget to publish at regular intervals—like blogging, or social media, once you start sending an e-newsletter, you can’t stop. People expect a consistent publication, like a magazine or a newsletter. So set the intervals at which you want to release an e-newsletter and commit to sticking with the schedule. Vision Expo does a great job with this. Each month, whether or not the vision industry trade show has event registration open, they send an e-newsletter with the latest news, industry trends and career tips. The consistency means its audience has come to expect new resources they can use as they do their jobs on a regular basis.
- DO consider using user-generated content—the best content could be the content that your audience creates itself! Grantmakers in Health does this brilliantly. It uses news and views from their members to create a monthly e-newsletter that lets all of the other members know what is going on in the field of grantmaking in the healthcare industry. The foundations can learn from one another when awarding grants in the future as well as keep up-to-date on the news happening in different states or sectors. It also helps GIH stay true to their brand story and the value they bring to their funding partners (members) by facilitating a connection to the industry.
- DON’T be too promotional—different communications vehicles serve different purposes and e-newsletters are not typically the place to sell. American Girl does a great job with this. It sends a regular newsletter filled with educational resources and fun activities for girls without directly selling dolls or clothes (it uses other channels for that). American Girl has to do something to go above and beyond other toymakers as it tries to sell an expensive item and the newsletter works to do that. It builds a positive connection between girls (and moms) and the brand and brings them into the “AG family” and in doing so, differentiates itself from other brands.
- DO think strategically about design—design is an important as the content. Use images, write short, attention-grabbing headlines and don’t overload e-newsletter to provide for scanning and reading on mobile devices. Allow your e-newsletter content to link to other sources for more information rather than provide the full content within the body of the e-newsletter.
Think about the e-newsletters you like and value. What makes you read them? Take styles or content ideas from them in order to build your organization’s own e-newsletter.
Need more advice or helping keeping your e-newsletter on track? Contact glee to learn how we can support your entire e-newsletter production cycle from content creation and curation to email design and distribution.