One question I get often as how I create my email newsletter. For years I did it on my own, but in the past six years my assistant Amy Lathrop has been doing it for me. Because Amy does such an amazing job she started Litfuse Publicity Group - a full service marketing, publicity and author services company. For more information visit the Expertise page at the Litfuse site. Amy and her team at Litfuse were also kind enough to share with you how they create newsletters for me and some of their other clients.
Thanks Tricia! Newsletters are a great way to connect with your audience. A well-done newsletter will boost traffic to your website, drive book sales and keep your readers up-to-date. It should be clear and concise - short, sweet, and to the point. And fun, it should be fun to read.
Below are a few ideas for a great newsletter. This isn't a list to follow for every newsletter, but rather choose a few for each newsletter - feel free to alternate to keep your newsletter fresh. Follow these guidelines and you will be a newsletter writing pro in no time.
A few things to keep in mind: It's important that your brand be consistent. Hire a professional to design your newsletter template so that it tastefully matches your website. This is a fairly inexpensive expense, but so worth it. Most web designers offer this service. Also, make sure your newsletter includes links to your website, social sharing links & social media sites. This is very important to stay connected and build your subscriber base. Speaking of building your subscriber list, be sure to include a button on your website that allows people to subscribe to your newsletter while at your site. Another way to build your base, is to run fun contests and offer giveaways (books, gift certificates, etc) to people who sign up to receive your newsletter.
A good newsletter will have a title that catches the eye – Maureen’s Musings, Notes from the Therapist’s Chair, Newsy News: Catching Up with Suzanne. You want the title to grab your reader’s attention and compel them to continue reading, however, at the same time you do not want a title that is confusing or lengthy.
Images help break up the monotony of words. They do not have to be grand and fancy photos, but a quality photo (keep those fuzzy, out-of-focused snapshots to yourself) nonetheless. Consider including a face shot or a photo of you in your everyday life – readers always like to see the face on the other side of the computer. If you don't have access to photos, consider purchasing stock photos from someplace like www.istock.com.
A Note from You
A note from you should always be one of the first things the reader sees. It will tell what the reader can expect from that edition of the newsletter. It should also be personal. You don't have to bare all in the first paragraph, but be real. This is not the place to list all your recent awards, accolades, books or speaking events.
Inspiration of the Day
Inspiration of the day is a fun little tidbit to include. You can have words of wisdom, a thought provoking question, an inspiring story, an idea or two of what you could do with your husband/kids/family or something as simple as what is on your heart. The important thing to remember is to know your audience and be sure to write for them.
News, perhaps, is one of the easiest things to fill. Update readers on your work, recent articles published or awards received. Inform readers of upcoming speaking engagements or events, such as book signings, release dates, or blog tours. You could also include an update on what is going on with your family.
Articles are the body of your newsletter. Here you can offer a how-to, write a short article on your area of expertise and follow up with a free PDF download with ideas and links to any resources mentioned in your article (readers always love free downloads). Make this section/s readable, educational and don't loose people with jargon.
Another idea is to recommend a book or product that you love and then host a giveaway for said item. Reader’s love giveaways.
Other good ideas are: book excerpts of a favorite book or what's on your nightstand, interviews with someone you think your audience would be interested in, or share favorite recipes – always a favorite around the holiday seasons.
Wrap up your newsletter with a heartfelt “Thank you for reading”, maybe give them a nibble at what is to come in your next newsletter, and always encourage them to forward your newsletter on to their friends.
One last thing - I mentioned earlier that it's always a good idea to have links to your website and social media in your newsletter. You'll also want to make sure you include links to the resources, books, articles, people, etc mentioned in your newsletter. That way it will be very simple for your reader to learn more about something you've mentioned or highlighted.
Newsletters do not have to be rocket science. They are a great tool for reaching out to your readers and increasing your fan base. Do consider your images and layout, however, and remember that your content is the key thing to consider when creating a great newsletter.