How an Editorial Plan Can Help You Create Better Newsletter Content

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Newsletters are a valuable tool to help promote your business to clients and customers. When done well, they help keep your business top of mind so clients will contact you when they need your product or service. They also help you engage with your clients and customers on a regular basis — key when building a relationship with them.

But coming up with fresh content can be a challenge. After all, there are just so many ways you can write about decluttering your home or saving for retirement.

If you feel your newsletter content is getting a bit stale, here are a few ideas to rejuvenate your stockpile of story ideas.

  • Check out industry magazines and websites for stories that might be of interest to your clients and customers. Notice how they present information. Do they use graphics, photos or other images to enhance their material.
  • Consider adding infographics. Many businesses use infographics to present survey data in an interesting, more reader-friendly way. Infographics is one more tool you can use to make your content more interesting while getting your message across.
  • Sign up to receive newsletters from similar types of businesses, including competitors. Note what kinds of stories they are sharing. Are they covering different topics than you are, or are they writing about topics in a fresh and interesting way?

As you review these publications, take notes about what you like. There’s always something you can learn from what other organizations do.

Next, sit down and brainstorm potential story ideas. Feel free to borrow ideas from competitors, industry publications and the news headlines. If needed, hire a writer who can help you find different angles for old story lines that you’ve covered before. They can also help you organize your content for each issue.

It might also be helpful to think of a theme for each issue. For example, when planning the August issue, think of summer, vacations, the beach, and barbecues – and try to connect your articles to the summer theme. September might be an issue related to going back to school, so the newsletter might include articles related to education and learning. Having a theme adds a specific focus to your content, and because each issue has a different theme, no two newsletter issues will be alike.

Finally, start planning. The key is to think of content in blocks of information. Structure the newsletter in equal chunks and separate them by topic. For this purpose, use a simple template that includes blank spaces to fill in the month, the theme and three or four slots for story ideas. Below is an example:

Article 1: Message from you, the company president, vice president or CEO. The message can be brief, no more than 300 words, and can be written by the CEO himself or another representative of the company on his behalf. Be personable and conversational. Talk about any new changes at the company.  What do you want your clients to know about your business that they did not know before?  If your CEO or director is uncomfortable leading off the newsletter, use that first article to introduce a new product or service, or any major company news your clients might find helpful.

Article 2: Highlight a specific feature of your business, something that has been established for some time that people may not know about. For example, an apartment community might feature the reopening of the outdoor patio and swimming pool for the summer with gentle reminders for using it safely. Another idea for this article is to do a Q&A with a key member of the management team.

Article 3: Share a light-hearted, general interest story that your clients will appreciate. This could be a focus on neighborhood news, like a list of local street festivals, or tips for keeping pets cool during the hot summer months. For an apartment community, ask residents what they enjoy about living at their community.

If you really want to be organized, plan several issues at a time. By organizing your content this way, you can be sure you aren’t repeating stories.

Conclude each issue with a call to action. Mention any special offers, ask for feedback about your business, or end with a thoughtful, meaningful inspirational quote. Be sure to include your business contact information so clients and customers can reach out to you if they have questions.

Perhaps the biggest challenge many managers and business owners have about newsletter content is not that there are not enough ideas, but that there are too many. With so many topics and angles to work with, it can be difficult to whittle down the most important ideas you want to present.

Setting up an editorial plan for your newsletters will help you focus on three or four ideas for each issue that will help you engage with your clients, promote your business and present your name and company in the best possible light.

 

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