Should your email newsletter be short? Or long?
Length doesn't matter. Make it readable.
Liz Willits taught us some great copy writing tips for making newsletters readable at Newsletter Fest.
Check out this 4-minute video for some easy-to-follow advice on what you can do to make yours more readable.
Do you open loops in your subject line, preview text, and newsletter intro?
Try to create knowledge gaps by promising what you’ll be providing in your copy below.
I call it a teaser.
It’s like a thesis statement, but, instead of summarizing, it hints.
In this clip (another < 5-minute video tip), Russ explains how theCLIKK opens loops with subject lines and a section that provides a promise of something you’ll likely take the time to scroll and find... because you WANT to know.
Writing the loop comes after you’ve written everything else.
Browse your content, think about what is most valuable and interesting, and write a little trailer for what’s to come.
Then, pretend you are your audience and make sure you actually deliver on those promises. If not, revise.
Stop assuming anonymity works when you send your email newsletters.
We care what real people have to say. Not brands.
Mary Ellen Slayter (she/her) of Managing Editor Magazine says that if you are writing a newsletter with an emphasis on creating strong relationships with your readers, it’s best to use a person's name. This clip is an excerpt from a conversation we had last fall about her experience editing hundreds of newsletters.
The reason email newsletters achieve above average open rates (30% is considered high for most industries) is because they consistently deliver information worth their readers’ time.
When you send something that’s actually valuable, it’s easier to attach your name to it.
If no one on the team wants to be the “sender,” what does that say?
Mary Ellen hosted an amazing panel at Newsletter Fest last week: Blurred Lines--What Marketers and Journalists can Learn from Each Other When it Comes to Serving Readers and Growing Loyal Audiences.
Check out the replay of this panel here.
Sometimes what you should be doing takes a while to become obvious.
That’s ok. In fact, it’s better.
You are the collective sum of your experiences.
If you are public about what you are learning and test how people respond when you offer helpful tips, you might find that there's an audience hungry for much more than just free advice.
That’s what happened to email newsletter consultant Dan Oshinsky of Inbox Collective.
The former Director of Newsletters at The New Yorker launched a free Google Doc with newsletter resources and advice, expecting maybe 10 people to be interested, but instead 400 people quickly subscribed for updates.
It’s smart to put out an MVP of your ideas.
To see if the fish are biting.
To let an audience’s response help you shape things and tell you what they need.
Become that resource.
In this short video clip (it’s 2 minutes) Dan explains how he discovered he could provide a solution to an audience’s problems.
Dan will be presenting at Newsletter Fest.
His session is about 4 different newsletter models.
“Whether you’re a writer, a reporter, or an expert on a particular topic, there are strategies worth implementing that will allow you to get the most out of your newsletter. Let’s explore four types of newsletters and identify monetization opportunities that work for each.”
It’s going to be a good one, y’all.
This 2-minute video clip from my interview with the ladies of #HAMYAW (Hilary and Margo Yell at Websites, which is an amazing YouTube resource for marketers) will prompt you to really think about who you are really writing your email newsletters for.
No matter how detailed your customer avatar is, it’s possible that you aren’t translating that into a newsletter that particular reader will enjoy.
Sometimes there’s another person we’re really writing for - a boss, competitor, or someone else.
Factoring them in makes it really tough to build real the relationships you want to with your newsletter.
Margo says it’s important to be clear about your goals for your newsletter and who it is really for.
She urges you to ruthlessly scrutinize your content and assess if you’re saying one thing but actually doing another.
She’s speaking at Newsletter Fest on April 13.
Her session: Why is no one reading my newsletter?
She’ll reveal the 3 secrets to writing effective newsletters and dispel common myths that are preventing you from writing better (like the definitive answer to “but how long should my newsletter be?”).
I’m really excited about this one.
Margo is a newsletter whisperer.
In this recording, we show Sarah Colley what goes into creating an issue of Opt In Weekly and get her all set up for success.
You might find it helpful if 1) you’re curious about how you’d bring on a guest curator/writer yourself, 2) you love behind-the-scenes stuff and want to learn my process, 3) you’re super excited about what she’s going to deliver next week and want to learn what she’ll be doing (because you kind of want to do this yourself one day).
To learn more about Sarah, check out her out her website.
In continuing this issue’s theme of writing for your readers, I’ve published another short clip (if you read this section last week you might remember I’m going back to some of my long form interviews with newsletter creators and pulling out short clips to provide videos that deliver actionable tip in less than 5 minutes). I got positive feedback for that switch up so here’s another.
Writing for your readers may sound pretty obvious, but this discussion addresses how you can use prompts to understand what they’re hoping you’ll cover so you can truly serve them. Additionally, we talk about how to create a steady flow of ideas and content by encouraging your readers to be a part of of your publication by being interviewed.
Russ Henneberry, founder of theCLIKK, explains why email + content marketing is the best of both worlds... in under 5 minutes.
I’m trying something new with this video, y’all. I realize not everyone has time when this newsletter arrives to watch my long-form interviews, so here’s a short clip that contextualizes the power of email newsletters. It’s an excerpt from Russ’s amazing course: Email Newsletter Mastery.
And, yes, he will be at Newsletter Fest.
Let me know what you think of these shorter videos. I’ve added a playlist to our YouTube channel called Quick Clips and will be posting more.
Seth is at it again flexing his video making skills and we’ve got our first promotional video for Newsletter Fest ready. We’re also working on a longer version (with speaker names).
Help us spread the word by sending all your favorite newsletter creators to NewsletterFest.com. The site is a work in progress, but we love bringing you along for the journey, so be sure to subscribe for updates (link under video) and register for workshops as they are announced.
And, yes, I know both Dan Oshinsky and Mary Ellen Slayter’s eyes are closed in this screenshot. I feel like it really sets the tone for the entire event. Click through to see them in action.
Note: If you have reached out to me about being a speaker, I promise I will be in touch. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. People really love this idea!
In this interview, Peter Cooper walks us through the backstory of his newsletter business Cooperpress, which publishes 13 newsletter for developers, including Java Script Weekly, Ruby Weekly, and others.
We chatted through how he’s made decisions as a publisher, how he curates content, and which parts of the work delight him (hint: sometimes it’s picking the top graphic).
We also had a lovely conversation about newsletter sponsorships.
Thanks for joining me, Peter.