Do you subscribe to newsletters? I sure do. I love them. Many are filled with great information and opportunities within the writing world.
The ones I subscribe to are fun, easy to read, and demand nothing from me. That may seem counter intuitive if you’re looking to sell books or product, but it makes me feel like I’m the one in control and no one is making demands on me. Smart.
How To Begin…
There are a lot of rules surrounding mass mail-outs so you’re going to have to set up an email list and subscribe to a mail-out site like MailerLite, MailChimp or any one of the dozens out there. You can start with a free version until your list gets too big and then you’ll need to upgrade.
Check here to read about the email lists. It’s a good place to start.
I personally signed up for MailerLite and so far so good. I sent out my first newsletter in the new year.
Why Do You Need a Newsletter?
This is a really good question. A newsletter is an extension of your business marketing strategy. It allows you to go directly to the consumer as opposed to them having to seek you out.
If done properly, a newsletter can increase the success of your business and build a rapport with those reading it. It’s about getting letting your readers (or subscribers) get to know you in a more relaxed and casual way. The keys of success are trust, not overstaying your welcome, and the sharing of a fun story or anecdote and valuable information.
Let’s look at each of these things in depth.
It’s About Trust…
Your newsletter is sent out via an email list and everyone on that list has given you permission (please go read the email list info provided above. In Canada, subscribers must give you permission to add them to a list. In the USA they can be added and then opt out. These are important differences.)
Having received that trust from a recipient, you want to ensure your list is only for you and not shared or sold (bad idea).
The other thing about trust is that the content you send will be of interest to them and not a heap of spam because remember, they can unsubscribe at any time.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome…
A newsletter is not meant to inundate the guests with reams and reams of reading.
People are busy. They simply don’t have time to read long paragraphs of beautiful prose and such.
So, this can be done in a couple of ways.
A paragraph shouldn’t be more than a few lines (four sentences at most). Make it easy on the eyes of the reader to scan. Use headlines, bullets, numbered lists…. Things like that are not only easier to read but also more fun to stop and consider.
Develop and design your newsletter in sections. What I mean here is to create your own artistic presentation. Maybe you’ll have different sections for the information you want to share or break it up with pictures or memes.
The other thing about wearing out your welcome is if you show up too much.
Make yourself a schedule and decide how often you want to send it out. Some send out every two weeks, while others do a monthly newsletter and some, every few months. This is not something you want to do weekly.
Believe me, people will unsubscribe if you’re pushing too hard and sending too many emails.
So you decide. You want to do it often enough for subscribers to recognize your name but not so often that they cringe when they see it. It’s a fine balance. For me, I’m thinking every three to four weeks but will feel it out and see where I end up.
Between newsletters keep a note book nearby or use your phone to note down fun things to share or add to the next one. Perhaps a quote you heard or something you saw on the news. Make it neutral and light hearted remember this is not a place to spark debate or controversy, it’s a marketing tool.
Know your audience and always present as a professional.
If you have a target audience of Gen-Xer’s who’re used to the f-bomb that’s one thing, but if you’ve got boomers and seniors then be aware of the language you use and the stories you tell. Just saying…
What to Share…
Do not….and I mean, Do Not…. make your newsletter about selling. There’s nothing worse than having a message saying Buy Me! Buy Me!
Readers want to get to know you, come to understand your process, and see what you have to share. They’re curious about your personal life and how you came to be a writer/author. Share small parts of yourself that you’d consider okay for public consumption.
Pictures of your pets, selfies that you take while you’re out doing something different, or perhaps a photo of where you are. These are safe and while personal, they’re not intrusive. Don’t go overboard. You’re still there as a professional business person. If someone gets too nosy or personal you can take them off your list if necessary.
Make your newsletter reflect your personality. You’re not writing a script or poem, you’re writing a letter. It should read as a casual conversation between you and a friend. Think of it as sitting and sharing a cup of coffee with someone and you’re telling them about your life for the last month or so.
Plan your Newsletter…
Not only are you going to carefully plan what you’re going to share, you’re also going to look at what to include. Do you want to have a free draw for example. Perhaps you’ll have a section where you include a couple of paragraphs from your book. Or maybe an inspirational quote or poem.
Anything free catches peoples attention. Have people enter into a draw. Have a give away: maybe a pdf worksheet that can be downloaded from your letter. You can also do draws for your book too while asking for them to share your newsletter.
Share information: Is there an event you’re involved in? Or perhaps an online class that’s free that may be of interest to some of your readers. Maybe you’re teaching a class? These are great things to include.
Read other writers blogs, newsletters, or books and make recommendations. While this may sound counter-intuitive, it actually shows a maturity and a willingness to share valuable information with others. So if you’ve read a great and informative blog for example, include the author and the link. They may in turn share your stuff too.
You can also include word games, vocabulary, fun facts, and lots of links to fun stuff to read and learn.
Some of My Faves…
One of the best ways to learn how to do a newsletter is to find some you like and follow a similar format. Make sure you don’t copy or plagiarize, for reprints request permission, and always credit back to the source.
All the writing sites have newsletters and the information you can get is valuable. I get Writer’s Digest Newsletter and a few other larger ones. These often include writing contests, conference info, retreats, writing tips…. the list goes on. Great info that is at my finger tips and I don’t need to go hunting for it.
The thing is that you don’t need to be afraid of subscribing to others writers newsletters because they’re not only a great learning tool but also great professional advice and information.
Check these out:
But Wait, You Need to do One More Thing…
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