Do you ever find yourself with a list of email subscribers, only to not know what to say or when to say it?
There is one simple way that content marketers and digital entrepreneurs can develop their relationships with their email subscribers.
It’s the tried, true, and often overlooked … email newsletter.
Creating an email newsletter for your audience is an exceptional way to build a trust-based relationship.
A consistent email newsletter enables you to give, give, give.
Giving makes it easier when it comes time to ask for feedback, input — or for the sale.
More importantly, it enables and allows you to listen and have real conversations with your audience. This is where you can begin to go deep and turn your email subscribers into a true audience.
Where does a newsletter fit into your content strategy?
Once you’ve created a smart content marketing strategy, you work hard to promote your valuable content.
With consistent and effective content promotion, people visit your website and you direct them to sign up for your email list.
Then you get busy creating more content, which also needs to be promoted. It can be a tough cycle. Luckily, as a smart content marketer, you are up for the challenge.
Your content’s goal shouldn’t just be to generate traffic; you should aim to connect with your audience — and draw them closer to your solutions.
Starting and running a remarkable newsletter is about creating an experience by enabling your subscribers to connect with you and your message.
Your newsletter is a valuable piece of content. Make it a priority in your schedule, so you can create an experience for your readers that will take them on a journey deeper into your brand.
So, which type of newsletter should you start?
There are three main types of newsletters to choose from.
Each has its own benefits and hurdles to overcome — but each will help and encourage your readers to know, like, and trust you.
1. Offer your best work
This email newsletter type (at least within the marketing space) has been brought to popularity by Chris Brogan and his weekly email. It must be unique and cannot be found anywhere else before it is sent to your subscribers’ inboxes.
Chris promotes his newsletter as simply the best work he does — and he follows through on his promise every Sunday morning.
According to Chris, his newsletter accounts for 70 percent of his revenue and builds authority for himself and his company, Owner Media Group.
Of course, writing a weekly email can be a lot of work.
Don’t make it an afterthought — think of it as an integral piece of your content strategy. This mindset shift will allow it to become as valuable to you as it is to Chris.
Your best-work newsletter provides the reader with a fresh piece of unique content and the feeling that they’re part of an exclusive group. It feels like a friend writing to a friend.
To craft an effective best-work newsletter, you will need to:
- Write exclusive content every week.
- Set a schedule and stick to it.
- Start writing even before you have a lot of subscribers.
Writing your best work each week is an effective way to show up for your audience, build relationships, and produce significant revenue.
But committing to the task may also be daunting. If that’s the case for you, you may prefer a different style of newsletter.
2. Curate content to become a helpful resource
Do you spend countless hours every week scouring blogs, news sites, and social media to consume all the latest and greatest information written in your industry?
Maybe you have what it takes to publish a curated newsletter.
Collect the most valuable information in your market, and then add your personality and unique voice when you summarize and introduce the links.
Most of us love to consume great content, but we don’t all have the time or patience to do the legwork and look for the best content. This is where your curation skills provide value for your audience.
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin have done this with enormous success. The two have taken their passion for the news and turned it into a brilliant business.
They publish a daily curated email called theSkimm, and they have built an email list of more than 1.5 million subscribers.
To craft an effective curation newsletter, you will need to:
- Add your unique voice to the newsletter.
- Choose an overarching theme but cover several topics.
- Publish the archives to your website and encourage sharing.
As an effective piece of content and audience-building tool, a curation newsletter has been proven time and time again to be a component of a winning content marketing strategy.
Plus, you now have an excuse for endlessly browsing the web — you’re curating!
3. Summarize and highlight your content
What if your business already produces a ton of valuable, useful, and remarkable content each week?
If so, producing another piece of unique content may not be necessary.
This doesn’t mean you should overlook starting a newsletter. It simply means you have an opportunity to focus your time and resources on increasing the value of the content you have already crafted — you do this with a summary newsletter.
A summary newsletter specifically showcases the best and most valuable content your business has created throughout the previous week.
Sean D’Souza at Psychotactics writes my favorite example of this type of newsletter.
Sean writes twice each week and uses his newsletter to showcase his latest article or podcast episode, a product offering, a list of his top-selling products, and free resources. He uses a template for each newsletter, which makes it easier to produce.
To craft an effective summary newsletter, you will need to:
- Produce a steady stream of valuable and useful content.
- Have products or services to promote and showcase.
- Design a template and use a consistent layout.
Summary newsletters don’t typically have a lot of space for you to show your personality, but they are an effective way to regularly update your audience.
Make your choice and go deep with your subscribers
No matter what your content strategy or schedule looks like right now, you’ll benefit from putting an effective email newsletter in place and consistently staying in touch with your subscribers.
You can start today by committing to write a unique piece of content every week, curate the highlights from your industry, or simply summarize the content you have created during the past week.
Want to learn more about email writing that works? Grab our free ebook below …
Reader Comments (15)
I have been writing a weekly newsletter for almost a year now, following Chris Brogan’s “model” (and you might have noticed that Chris rarely blogs anymore). Even though I produce valuable content, I’ve yet to start selling anything through the newsletter (like Chris does), as I am still building credibility and trust. But I will start soon.
If I were to write a blog, it would be the same content of my newsletter. So while my choice has been to write a newsletter, readers are starting to ask for copies of my past newsletters. If I were writing a blog, my previous content would be available in the archives. But the allure (perhaps, self-imagined) of my weekly newsletter is that subscribers can’t get that content anywhere else. On the other hand, no one is going to stumble across my newsletter like they might if it were a blog.
Newsletter or blog? Any more thoughts?
Jon Nastor says
Great questions, let’s see what we can do.
1. Do not take too long to start selling to your subscribers, because your subscribers have an attention-cycle that is limited. By this I mean, you only have their attention for so long.
So without selling them something and giving them the opportunity to take your relationship to the next level, they may just move on — and then the opportunity is gone forever.
2. As for repurposing the content from your newsletter to your blog, you definitely can do this while still retaining the value of your newsletter.
Paul Jarvis (https://pjrvs.com/articles/) does this, and he seems to have great success with it. From what I can tell, Paul sends his newsletter out every Sunday and then publishes that same article to his blog a week or so later.
This method gives your subscribers the benefit of reading your content first, plus it enables you to use that same piece of content to get in front of more people.
This seems to be a win-win for both the producer and the consumers of the content.
A great solution … one that I was already thinking of … but it’s great to get confirmation from someone like you 🙂
Have a great week!
Matthew Kaboomis Loomis says
Appreciate those great examples you included for each newsletter. Brogan I knew, but not The Skimm, which sounds great. And D’Souza I’m familiar with but that’s mostly through his blog, I haven’t looked at his newsletter so I’ll be doing that. Thanks again.
I’ve been using the third newsletter style for some time. I look at it as “pointing out” or “making sure you knew” this content is now up and give them some reasons to check it out. I like to time it so there are a few comments already on the post so the list is encouraged to leave comments too.
Want to ask if you have any newsletter templates available to look at or if someone else does?
Enjoy your week, Jon.
Jon Nastor says
The ‘making sure you knew’ model is great, especially when you are already producing a lot of useful content.
As for templates, I typically just subscribe to newsletters from people, brands, and companies that I know are successful and I see what they are doing. Sean D’Souza’s Psychotactics is definitely a great place to start.
I do hope that someone else is willing to share any newsletter template ideas or resources they have.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful advice. It is very true that your content speaks volumes about your brand. It will bring you fans or it will alienate them. It’s up to you.
Jon Nastor says
You’re very welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
As for content creation, we can do good to repel rather than attract. Sometimes alienating or repelling people that aren’t your perfect audience is great, because it leaves the people who do fit your message and brand.
Rohan Bhardwaj says
For me, I send my articles to them. It is no summary though. It is the full articles so the readers can read with the convenience of being in their inbox without clicking anything.
Is this the fourth type? Will you recommend this?
On the flip side, being a reader I am subsribed to curated and unique content email newsletters myself.
Loved the post. Stay awesome.
Jon Nastor says
Sending your articles via email is a great distribution channel, but I wouldn’t call it a newsletter. If your readers want to read your articles in their inbox, then it is smart of you to offer this to them.
Typically, a newsletter needs to be a unique piece of content or at least a unique summary of the content you have created.
The newsletter is used to stay in constant contact with your audience and should be used to take your relationship to a deeper level.
I use curated content as a marketing strategy for my business, however I find when I try to explain the strategy with my clients they seem to be skeptical of the idea. Perhaps they are trying to protect their brand!!
Jon Nastor says
Perhaps you need to send them this article! 😉
Bill Burniece says
Excellent article Jon. I agree with you that it’s vital to give away some of your best content to your readers to keep them hungry for more. Too many marketers are looking to get paid on every piece of content they write when in reality there is a much bigger prize if you keep your readers happy and coming back again and again.
Keep up the good work sir.
Sincerely – Bill
Jon Nastor says
You are absolutely right. As content creators, we need to stop thinking and acting with a short-term focus.
Building a relationship with your audience takes time and constant, consistent contact is the best way to do it.
MARTYN WOOD says
I just recently purchased your book from the preview looks like it’s gong to be a great read. I like the idea how you not once but multiple times in this article stress the importance of providing your unique voice. In an age where we are bombarded by voices all vying for our attention your article is clean clear and concise thanks for the time you took to write and share looking forward to becoming a consistent reader.
Jon Nastor says
Martyn, thanks so much. I hope you enjoy the book.
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