TOC #80: Tips For Sending A Weekly Newsletter (And Why You Should Start One In The First Place)
(July 5, 2022) Email Marketing Series Part 3: Learn why sending a weekly newsletter is superior.
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I've been sending my Tuesday Table of Contents emails every single week for 80 straight weeks, without missing a single one.
I know I should probably be tooting my own horn a little louder about that accomplishment, but because email marketing is my #1 focus above any other content marketing, it doesn't feel that grand.
(Considering some months I ditch every other marketing responsibility except this newsletter…I'm more inclined to say ‘it’s not that serious, I'm really not doing the most over here' - lol.)
Still, though, it's something to be proud of, and people ask me all the time how the hell I'm able to keep up with sending such a long weekly newsletter without running out of steam.
There are 2 ways I make it happen:
#1 - I'm naturally long-winded. You've likely heard me describe myself as “a long-story-long type of person” before, and I attribute a lot of my Tuesday rambles to that.
#2 - I lie sometimes. 😬
I know, I know, I'M SORRY, let me explain. Plz. In the spirit of transparency, I'm finally pulling back the curtain and telling you the truth.
Life is busy, okay? Sometimes I have to spend my Mondays working on client projects, or taking my toddler to swim lessons, or bringing the average age down by a decade at my latest Chamber of Commerce event.
I can't always write the TOC in real-time.
So, sometimes—not all the time, jeez!—I tell little tiny baby itsy bitsy lies to you.
I tell you I'm having so much fun on vacation, when, in fact, “vacation” is still 3 weeks away at the time I'm drafting the email.
I tell you about the bug bites I got on our camping trip, well before the mosquitos have descended upon my unsuspecting skin.
I tell you about all the tequila I drank, days before my sugar-rimmed margarita was shaken-not-stirred.
(Is it technically a lie if I know Future Sara will make it come true? Not sure. But still.)
I know I'm being a bit dramatic by calling it lying—in reality, I'm just planning ahead—but I still feel a bit awk telling you I schedule my newsletters a few weeks out during my busy seasons.
But, hey, I'm nothing if not honest. 🤷🏻♀️
» NOW THAT YOU KNOW MY SECRET, LET’S CHAT ABOUT ALL THE BENEFITS OF WRITING WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS.
What is an email newsletter?
A regular email that you send out to your subscribers, typically with content about a certain topic or theme.
Why do you recommend sending them weekly?
Because, if you don't, you run the risk of people forgetting about you.
Weekly newsletters = they know when to expect you.
Biweekly newsletters = they forget about you for 13 days and then say “oh, yeah, this chick, okay” when they get your emails.
Monthly newsletters = they think “who the hell is this? I don't even remember subscribing."
See what I mean?
Before you come for me, of course this is not one-size-fits-all advice.
Maybe you send a monthly newsletter, but a bunch of sales emails throughout. Maybe you send a biweekly newsletter, but 1-2 nurture emails in between.
I don't know your email marketing strategy, but I do know that if you email your list only once a month, you're gonna have one hell of a time building an actually-engaged audience.
Showing up consistently in someone's inbox weekly is also a great way to build a relationship with them; to increase that like-know-trust factor needed in order for them to eventually make a purchase from you or hire you.
How else can I exhibit consistency with my newsletters?
#1 - Make it a thing!
Name it, give it a logo, write it a tagline, talk about it often, like it's the best thing since sliced bread.
Do whatever you need to do to get people excited about it.
When you make your newsletter a THING—aka when you make your readers want to subscribe; when you make sure they have FOMO about not inviting you into their inbox—you're significantly more likely to gain readership and grow your list.
#2 - Send it on the same day each week
If you willy-nilly send your newsletter whenever you want, you'll be in danger of subscribers not even realizing that those emails are your regular newsletter at all, therefore driving down your engagement rate and decreasing the number of opens your emails get.
If readers know what to expect, they can look forward to it! They'll be excited for Tuesday, or Wednesday, or WhateverDay (as opposed to just confused why they get emails from you “all the time” - even though it's only once a week).
#3 - Use the same format
Newsletter readers appreciate the same format every single week. It's comforting. And, it makes your newsletter feel more legit.
#4 - Write about the same general topic of content
While of course the topic of your newsletter will change every week, the general type of content will stay the same.
For example, the Tuesday Table of Contents is always about marketing, but this specific edition is about writing newsletters. Next week's will be about email welcome sequences.
Maybe the one after that will be about developing your target audience, or SEO, or website copywriting, or… whatever I want, as long as it's related to the subject of marketing, because that's what people expect from me.
Do they have to be long? I can't do that shit.
NOPE! They don't. At all.
Do not use me for an example on this one—remember: I'm an extremely long story long type of person, and I love writing emails.
Also, remember: I would (and have, so many times) ditch every other marketing platform to spend all my energy on writing emails.
Newsletters still perform well—maybe even better, tbh—if they're short (as long as they have value and/or are fun to read!)
What the frick do I write about?!
Great question! I wish I could answer that for you, but I'm not sure what the overall content of your newsletter is going to be about.
So, instead, I'll give you some tips for coming up with ideas:
Keep a note in your phone named “newsletter ideas” and write down everything that comes to mind, as soon as the idea strikes, even if it's half-assed, or kinda stupid, or a little bit nonsense.
Side note: I recommend doing this for blog & IG ideas, too!
Repurpose your blog post content into emails.
Ex: I've used my blog post about the 14 SEO mistakes to avoid on your website and turned it into multiple newsletters; there's a lot of great content in there that I expanded on via email!
Boil down larger topics into smaller ones.
Think of your newsletter as a conversation with a friend that you're helping out with homework.
Be friendly, while educating.
Use your normal-self voice, while providing value.
Any final tips for me before I go on and start my own newsletter?
Duh! Aside from everything I've already told you, there are two more tips to follow that'll increase engagement in your newsletters:
Be mindful of spacing. Lots of people read newsletters on their phone, which means they'll be looking at a much smaller window of space—aka you need to hit the spacebar after every 1-2 sentences so as not to crowd their screen.
Write short, punchy subject lines. More on this coming next week.
OPTIONAL HOMEWORK TIME!
This week's optional homework is obvious—get started on your newsletter! Here are a few things to consider:
What will you name it?
When will you send it, and how often? (ahem, weekly, plz!)
What will you write about?
Who is your target reader, and what do they want to learn more about (or be entertained by)?
What will your opt-in copy say to make readers want to sign up?
What will be your selling point?
Which format will your newsletter be?
Hi, I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. Thanks for reading this edition of the Tuesday Table of Contents! If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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