Many of my clients are working on their 2011 marketing plans, which means they’re likely thinking of their e-newsletter editorial calendars as well.
Need some fresh ideas for newsletter articles and sidebar items? Check these out.
1. Private Sale/Private Offering. Construct a newsletter around a special sale or offering that will be available to subscribers only. Promote this fact on Twitter and Facebook and grow your list while you’re at it. I recently worked on this concept for one of my retail clients, and we got a good number of sales out of it as a result.
2. Inside Views. I don’t know about you, but I love learning about the real people in companies, especially those I do business with. In a time when corporate “spin” is in our faces more than ever thanks to the Internet, it’s refreshing to hear real thoughts and real views from real people. Do a “Q&A” feature with some of the people in your company. Ask questions that invite real answers — in other words, answers that provide insight into who these people are as human beings (e.g. favorite movie, favorite book, three songs queued on their iPods).
3. Highlight Charitable Giving. I’m not suggesting that you toot your own horn, but what you can do is provide real exposure to some of the charities and nonprofit organizations that you and your employees support. (Always a crowd pleaser in November.)
4. Blog Roundup. Sure, we want to believe our clients and prospects are flocking to our blogs and hanging on every word we write, but the truth is, life happens. Even when you consistently post great articles, not everyone will see them the first time around. So do a newsletter article where you recap those key articles: ones that garnered the most comments, ones that provoked controversy, and ones you feel are important “can’t miss” articles. This strategy can work well when you’re tight on time and can’t bang out a complete article or when you’re coming off the holidays or summer, since people might have missed some key blog posts due to travels and general craziness.
5. In their own words. Ever thought of giving one of your clients the pulpit? Somewhere between a customer story and a customer testimonial, a customer letter “in his or her own words” could be refreshing. DO NOT EDIT CONTENT. Simply fix glaring punctuation/spelling errors and anything that’s factually inaccurate.
6. How’d we do that? You take what you do for granted, but chances are you have some readers who might be really curious about a certain aspect of your business. For example, if you’re an online retailer, you could provide insight on how you choose the lines you carry. If you’re a custom cabinetmaker, you could do a before and after “refurbishing” series, complete with images or video. You get the idea.
7. Do the opposite of what you normally do. Do you usually focus on customer stories? Offer some how-to articles instead. Do you normally write long articles? Find one great image — like a cartoon — that gets your point across and then attach it to an offer. People find value in any number of things. Mixing it up is a great way to keep your audience engaged.
8. Did You Know? Chances are your customers — even your best customers — don’t know everything that you do or every product you offer. Take a hard look at service offerings or products that you think should be resulting in more business. Then highlight two or three in a “Did You Know We Offer This” sort of article.
Need help organizing your company’s editorial calendar? That would be a perfect activity for my Rent My Noggin program.