Q: How do you motivate someone to write a newsletter?
A: You can’t!
Most professional services firms know the value of a decent eNewsletter. Done well, an eNewsletter should show off your expertise, raise awareness of the range of services and even bring in new qualified leads.
But finding the time and energy to actually get them done can be a problem. So, making them really shine can seem impossible. Here’s my 7 steps to better eNewsletters.
1. Make the process quick
Not everyone likes to write, so begin by entrusting the writing to those professionals who actually want to be part of it, regardless of their seniority.
You’ll encourage more people to contribute - and be able to draw from a bigger and more talented pool of writers - if you make the sign off process painless. So don’t boil the ocean to make a cup of tea. Limit sign off to just a few key staff (not everyone needs their say on every detail.) And never take more than 48 hours to approve something.
2. Make the process easy
All contributors should have a tip sheet which gives them pointers on how to write (ie write in active voice, use headlines, etc). But even more importantly, they should have a list of questions that forces them to get to the point and structure their article the right way.
For example, before they put pen to paper they should always ask: ‘why would anyone care?’, ‘what has changed?’, ‘why is this important right now? and ‘who needs to act’?
Provide example formats and templates for newsletters or blogs and don’t be afraid to recycle older articles, so long as they are still relevant.
Finally, all professionals on business writing skills or go one step further and employ a copywriter or journalist to make your copy really shine. (See point 7 below.)
3. Make your eNewsletters shareable and measurable
Make sure your eNewsletters can be shared. By that I don’t just mean letting people forward them to friends or colleagues (of course they can do that).
If you’re using eNewsletters in isolation from your other content marketing methods, stop now. While eNewsletters are great at developing repeat business, they are just one way of spreading the word.
Any articles your firm produces should also appear on your website’s blog as well as via social media.
4. Package it
Everything looks better with packaging. And your eNewsletters are no different.
So make sure it looks good and that it’s in line with your firm’s branding. Use pictures if you think they will add anything. You can even make give it a name that people will remember, and give it style.
You can see some examples of eNewsletters packaged well here.
5. Promote it
Again, don’t see your eNewsletters or the articles in them as stand alone works. They need to be cross-promoted. So include links to your stories in other client materials like seminar invitations or even other newsletters.
Shine the recognition spotlight on these efforts in your internal comms so that everyone starts doing it.
6. Keep you finger on the pulse
Providing valuable insights to your clients means staying on top of recent developments. So read, attend events, watch videos, listen to podcasts and report what you learn. When you do, always emphasis how your knowledge impacts on your clients’ business. Stay clear of the theoretical.
7. Bring in the professionals
Finally, if you really want to save time and money and make sure you’re doing everything right, outsource it completely. Use independent writing and marketing experts who understand your industry and your audience, as well as how to make sure your message gets heard. I'd recommend Antelope Media or the Editor Group.