So, confession time. My newsletters have been terrible.
Well, I say that, but in my head, they’ve been brilliant: informative, educational, funny, entertaining.
Except that’s exactly where they’ve been.
In my head.
Not a single one sent out in over a year. Which is most definitely not best practice in building an audience, or keeping up to date with your tribe. Or in pretty much anything that needs you to show up regularly, consistently.
Like most things in the content world, there were two things that I wanted to make sure I had in place first:
1 – A Plan
Yes, I’ve said it before. If you’re going to get the most out of your content, and the most out of your time, then you’ve got to have a plan.
2 – A Plan
Ah yes, because planning is so key, that there are two plans.
Are my plans good? Please help me out with this!
I would love to know if you, as a small business owner, or member of a small marketing team, will find these useful. So, here’s my plans.
I’m going to send out two newsletters per month. I’d like to think of them as content catalysts.
In the middle of the month, I’m going to send one out about the events coming up in the following month that you might want to get planning your own content around.
At the end of the month, I’ll do a round-up of intriguing, engaging, entertaining, and possibly downright terrible content from around the web. I think whatever type of business you run you can take inspiration and learnings from the most unexpected places.
What do you think? Useful or not? Interesting to you or not? How could I improve it?
What I’ve learnt from my first newsletter
It might have been the first, it won’t be the last, and there are things I’ll do differently and learned from this one. These are the lessons I’m taking away from this first one:
1. Audience size doesn’t matter, audience engagement with what you do does.
I got a 55% open rate. Oh that it should always be that good. But it won’t be. But I’ll work damned hard to make it as good as I can.
2. Remember to check for mobile and other devices.
I should have known better on this one. Thankfully Mailchimp does do a lot of that work for you. But some massive percentage of people will only ever see the newsletter on a mobile screen, so it’s always worth checking.
3. Create for sharing
I got links out to my Twitter and Facebook pages sorted, but forgot (such a basic error) to add a forward by email icon. We all like an easy as possible life when it comes to sharing stuff. I should have made it easier.
4. The web is international
One of my subscribers got into a panic about Mother’s Day being next month. I forgot to point out that is Mother’s Day in the UK. He can stand down for a bit now, as he’s in the US. But it never hurts to be prepared.
5. These things take longer than you think
Or they should if you want them to be any good. Which is why I’ve got two plans. One for the rhythm (two a month) and then another for the content. Which I’m hoping is a good starting point for turning out some great stuff.
6. I don’t have an opt-in (yet)
Ok, I know. This is best practice. But I’ve gone for a beta approach, to get on and get learning and am working on an opt-in yet. What would you find useful? I’m thinking about a simple guide to finding and checking you are using your brand voice. What do you think?
If you’re wondering whether to start a newsletter (just get on with it) or how to improve your newsletter game, then I highly recommend David Hieatt’s book Do Open: How a Simple Newsletter Can Grow Your Business (and it can).
Big title, small book, absolutely packed with thought-provoking stuff, and incredibly useful resources. If you want the personal version, the book packed into a one day course, then booking is currently open for a day in London in April. I went on one of David’s other courses last year and I’m still drawing on the lessons of that day. Money well spent.
So, I’d love your feedback on my plans, or any builds from your own experiences of building newsletters. If you’d like to sign up for the two newsletters per month, then click here for the sign up form.