Five Tips For Writing a Successful Newsletter
It seems like everyone from your fifteen-year-old niece to the pest control guy publishes a newsletter or blog.
Perhaps this is something you should do too?
Really, how hard can it be? You are an expert in your field, a decent writer, and a fascinating person!
Actually, it is waaaaay harder than you think.
Despite good intentions and a million click-worthy ideas, the vast number of newly created newsletters, blogs, and podcasts disappear within few months.
I have published a monthly newsletter for over ten years and haven’t missed a single edition. These five tips for writing a successful newsletter helped me stick with it, and when your enthusiasm and inspiration lag, they will help you too.
- Have a Theme
- Keep an Idea Book
- Create a Template
- Break it Down
- Know Your Why
Have a Theme
I write about reading and real estate. Sometimes I mention movies, theater, and my travels to New York City, but my readers know that in every edition there will be book suggestions and an update on the local housing market.
With these two north stars, I don’t get distracted by tidbits outside my purview, however interesting they may be. (Ok, I occasionally digress, but you get the point.)
Keep an Idea Book
Some of my best ideas come to me, not when I am sitting at the keyboard, but while driving, eating lunch, watching TV, or waiting on line.
So I keep a notebook close by to jot down those insights. I have long given up the hope that I will “remember” my brilliant musings!
Create a Template
Each month I use the same Emma template and structure– a chatty introduction and a table of contents followed by the book reviews and real estate updates. Every month.
Not having to focus on the logistics of publishing my newsletter allows me to spend my time where it counts– on the content.
Break it Down into Manageable Pieces
I research and write my newsletter bit by bit over a period of a few weeks.
Recently thanks to my friend and productivity expert Mridu Parikh, I have been experimenting with time blocking, in which I actually schedule those half hour writing periods rather than grabbing them willy-nilly throughout the week.
But this may not work for everyone. A colleague writes her monthly missive in a marathon daylong session. I can’t imagine working that way, but whatever—find your rhythm and stick with it.
Know Your Why
Contrary to what you might think, the two burning questions of our time are What Should I Read and What Is My House Worth!
Happily these are subjects on which I am enthusiastic, well informed, and more than willing to share my opinions. Voila! A newsletter is born!
In addition to sharing my interests with like-minded readers, another benefit of publishing is that the process of writing forces me to think more deeply about the subject. Whether it’s why I love a book or explaining price wars in Sylvan Park, preparing an outline, gathering the facts, and selecting a point of view all serve to sharpen my thinking.
Finally as a Realtor if through a monthly communication, I can connect with potential homebuyers, provide useful information, and demonstrate my expertise, it’s more effective (and fun) than taking out an ad in the paper.
When I look back on my publishing history, I am amazed that I’ve kept it up this long. (My early newsletters were delivered by U.S. mail!)
But when I consider my five steps for success, I realize that sticking with a publishing schedule is just a matter of the right systems and proper motivation.
Go forth and publish! Your audience awaits!