Make your newsletter the one you would be happy to receive

Make your newsletter the one you would be happy to receive

Wherever I turn, I see newsletters and requests to subscribe to mailing lists of all sorts (there’s even one at the top of my page, isn’t it weird?).

There are a lot (A LOT) of influential voices who strongly sustain the importance, rather the absolute need, of setting a mailing list to connect with your audience/tribe and in principle I agree with them. It’s a great way to ask and (hopefully) obtain permission to communicate and “sell” something to people, being it your ideas, your tips, your books or something else. However I often find myself doubting the real usefulness of newsletters… at least of a certain kind of newsletters.

Since my attempts at running one are quite a failure (mainly for my lack of commitment to it), I can better analyse the problem from the reader’s point of view.

I follow several blogs and discover new ones every day. Therefore I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists, but I have to admit I actually read a little percentage of the newsletters I receive.

A poor attempt at create my own image...
A poor attempt at create my own image…

Why?

Mostly because of time. I have little time for writing, even less for reading. I would spend days if I read them all, so I have to make choices.

How?

There are three main kinds of newsletters in my inbox that I actually open and read:

1. the ones that interest me professionally, even if I read them out of duty and not out of enjoyment.

2. the ones I receive from writer friends, because I already know that I’m going to enjoy the reading.

3. the ones that really hook my attention.

As many friends a blogger can have, you can’t rely on them only in order to increase the traffic on your blog, so the third kind of newsletter is the one I want to focus on.

I tried to analyse and compare the characteristics of those newsletter I often decide to read and compile e list of common features. Here is the result.

First: they are all somehow related to my passion. Writing. Some are bout blogging, some are about marketing, others are about social media presence. But they all concern writing.

Second: they are not overly long. This is clearly an advantage in term of time. When I open an email, I tend to briefly scroll down before start reading. If I see pages and pages, I’m immediately discouraged even if the topic interests me. I usually say to myself “it sounds cool, I’ll go back to it later when I have more time”. Actually I never do that.

Third: they don’t only reproduce a blog post. If I follow a blog, I usually prefer to read posts directly through the blog itself. The newsletter may work as a reminder, but I prefer to read the post on the original page, because it gives me the impression of interacting with a community (maybe it’s just me, I don’ know). The emails that grab my attention contain highlights of one or several posts, like blurbs I can scan through, or original content I can’t find on the related blog. They give me a quick and immediate idea without taking much of my time.

So what can we conclude from this list?

A compelling, useful, interesting and successful newsletter should be short in order to adapt to the reader’s need, it should contain a brief summary of a more complex and long content and it should relate to a passion of some kind. But this may just work for me, because it’s based on the sort of newsletters I like.

In the end the one tip I can give about newsletter is this: write and send the one you would be happy to receive.

One of the entries in my to-do list is “figure out what to do with my newsletter”. Should I quit it, or should I try to make it grow somehow? If the latter is the answer, then how? I’m going to search for the answer to all of these questions, in the mean time I want to know about you!

Do you usually subscribe to newsletters? What do you like or dislike in them? What do you think I should do with mine?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

One Reply to “Make your newsletter the one you would be happy to receive”

  1. I subscribe to a few and like you, I think they should be short and sweet. 🙂 I did a quarterly newsletter for a while, but haven’t done one in the last few months. The idea of a blog post summary is a good idea – one I’ll consider for the future.

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