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What We Learned from a Year of Producing Our Agency’s Newsletter
We thought we knew everything there is to know about email marketing (it’s been a solid part of our business for a while) when we created Covalent Logic’s Obligatory Agency Newsletter in 2015. A year later, our process has improved dramatically. Here are the big lessons that we learned along the last year of content curation and creation on behalf of our own marketing efforts.
Develop a Voice for Your Company or Brand: If your newsletter is going to be part of the continuing conversation with your audience, it needs have a consistent voice and tone. Consider if it should be written in first person and what kind of tone it should take. Do you want to come across as formal or friendly? Is your audience familiar with jargon? Can you impart humor in your writing or should you be completely serious all of the time. Obviously, we opted for a slightly cheeky, self-referential tone for the Obligatory Agency Newsletter.
Creating an Editorial Calendar is Key: For 2016, we came up with a calendar of topics and themes (and alternates) for the entire year at one time. Each theme has multiple article ideas associated with it, making it easier to compile content and also to link our other marketing efforts back to the newsletter. Instead of constantly stressing out about what the newsletter is going to be about, we already know the basic structure of the Obligatory Agency Newsletter for the rest of the year.
Interesting Content Matters: We give each newsletter a theme and then work back from there to come up with helpful or interesting articles. You have to give people something interesting to read or the next stop is the trash. Taking a topic and linking it back to events or trends that resonate with your target audience (based on its age or geography or shared interest, etc) instantly makes your content more relevant and readable.
You Have to Devote Time to It: Bottom line, a company newsletter takes time. Someone has to write and research articles, someone has to compile marketing messages, photos and graphics have to be created or sourced and another person has to build articles and emails … the whole thing can be a nightmare, especially for a staff that already has a good amount of work. Build out reasonable timelines and allow people enough time to get their part of the job done.
Someone Has to Own the Process: Marketing can’t be an afterthought or something that no one personally focuses on, or it just will not get done. It’s better to designate someone as the owner of the process and give them necessary support than it is to hope that someone decides to write a newsletter each month.
Repurpose Content for Other Channels: We try to use our newsletter articles on our social channels or for other purposes, working to ensure that something gets used multiple times and has the chance to be seen by multiple audiences. Write something once, use it as many times as you can.