Creating a newsletter was one of those things that sat on my to-do list forever. Because it seemed like such a daunting task, it was often put on the backburner while I instead focused on things like marketing my brand through social media, new content creation, etc. Then one day, I decided to stop pushing it to the bottom of my list and to just do it.
I had heard it a million times – branded newsletters can drive major traffic to your blog – and that’s great, but that didn’t even begin to tell me the first thing about creating one.
So overwhelmed AF, I set out researching everything there was to know – and you want to know what? After I was done, I was still overwhelmed AF; which is why I want to walk you through the most important parts of creating a newsletter in this post.
Do You Even Need A Newsletter?
This is such an important question to ask yourself before you dive in, and it all starts with your audience. As a blogger, it’s important to look at successful newsletters that audiences similar to yours subscribe to.
What’s in them?
Would my audience be interested in this type of content too?
Does this type of successful content from other producers in my industry align with my personal brand?
If you answered yes to all of the above, then a newsletter is likely to benefit your brand!
Where to Start
Here’s why I recommend Mailchimp for newsletter newbies:
+ Cost / It’s free for up to 2,500 subscribers
+ Ease of use / You don’t need design experience to create something beautiful with pre-made templates and drag-and-drop features
+ Integration tools / Mailchimp is compatible with most platforms and makes finding new subscribers easy
+ Customization / Mailchimp supports outside templates along with customized code if you’re looking to create a design from scratch
Once you’ve decided on your platform, it’s time to think about your newsletter content.
Save the Pretty Stuff for Last and Focus on Content First
I will be the first one to tell you how important aesthetic is when it comes to your newsletter. However, it’s more important to put your design on hold until you develop a solid content strategy.
What can you give your audience that you don’t already provide to them on your blog?
You have to cater to that exclusivity factor as a part of your marketing strategy – here’s what you’re getting out of this newsletter if you sign up that non-subscribers aren’t, and here’s why it’s awesome.
How will you organize your content within your newsletter?
Just as you house categories on your blog, think along the lines of categories in the form of content blocks within your newsletter.
How are you going to block out your content so that it makes sense, is easy to understand, flows well, and is not ‘too much’ all at once for your readers?
If you’re creating a general newsletter for your blog, focus on creating 2-4 sections of your newsletter that will become a familiar format for your subscribers.
For example, my blog newsletter follows the following format:
- Informal update / I use this section to share what’s going on in my life with my readers, whether it’s weekend plans, an upcoming event or something new coming to the blog. This is a great place to connect with your readers as your exclusive subscribers, and share more personal tidbits with them.
- The Latest on P&P / Many of my subscribers rely on my newsletters to see the latest posts, so I use this section to quickly highlight all of the posts published on P&P since the last newsletter.
- Popular this Month / This is my ‘click bait’ section, and a great way to connect my readers to my social channels by showing them the most pinned, most liked, most read and most shopped content.
- Trending Right Now / This section gives my subscribers a chance to stay updated on the latest trends and pieces I’m loving, and provides an easy way to shop with the click of a button (a great monetization tool, too!)
Create an Eye-Catching, Interactive Design
What’s great about waiting until the end to tackle your design process is that if you’ve taken the time to block out your content, you’ve already unknowingly done some of your design work.
When it comes to aesthetic, it’s okay to not know what you want. Now is the time to view other newsletters from bloggers within your niche, and make a list of the design elements you love most about each of them.
If you get to this point and find that you know you want something pretty and cohesive, but also don’t want to spend the time creating your own template from scratch, Etsy is a great place to find the perfect newsletter template!
Keep in mind that you want your design to be eye-catching yet clean, with an easy-to-navigate format and multiple CTA (call to action) elements.
Wait, But Who's Going to Read My Newsletter?
So now that you’ve put hours of work into creating your newsletter, it’s time to put more hours in to building a list of subscribers. Yay!
But wait – building subscribers doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems.
Here are a list of ways I recommend marketing your newsletter once your content and design is done:
- Create a pop-up on your blog where readers can subscribe to your newsletter. (I love Pop-Up Ally)
- In addition, create a static widget on your blog, either on your header, footer or sidebar above the fold where readers can subscribe to your newsletter
- Create a subscribe tab as a part of your main menu. Remember, it’s all about getting the word out!
- Market your newsletter EVERYWHERE! Plan dedicated posts on your socials (and blog) directing your readers to sign up
- Create or join a Rafflecopter giveaway with other bloggers in your niche, and include your subscribe link as one of the ways to enter. This is a great way to get your newsletter in front of new readers!
So – where are you at in your newsletter creation process? Is it still sitting at the bottom of your to-do list or have you started the process but never finished? Let me know how I can help in the comments below! In the mean time, make sure you're signed up for my Blogger-only newsletters (check off blogging tips) and the Blogging Resource Library!
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cover image credit: Style Your Senses