Newsletters are not new. Companies have used these tools for at least three decades to inform and inspire their audiences while strengthening relationships with their clients or customers. You may be surprised to learn that this tried-and-true method of communication is evolving and improving with age. Here’s how innovative newsletter techniques can enhance your bottom line.
Reimagining the newsletter
Innovation and curiosity drive growth. Interrogating current processes, strategies, and tactics will enable teams to naturally evolve and improve — and the same concept is true for newsletters. Before teams can update and innovate their newsletter for today’s audiences and business needs, they must first assess what’s working and what’s not with their present publication, as well as their existing and expected business goals.
Whether you’re considering a new newsletter program or reimagining an existing one, be sure to include the following steps in your assessment:
- Establish the purpose of your newsletter. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals for this publication? By clearly outlining the purpose and defining the objectives of the newsletter, teams will gain greater alignment and ensure all activities ultimately serve these goals.
- Define your strategy, process, and tactics. Who will receive the publication? How often will you send it? Who will be involved in the content production and approval process? By delineating and documenting the process, all stakeholders will understand their roles, as well as the roles of others, ensuring a smooth production flow.
- Identify success metrics. How will you know the newsletter is successful? Defining key performance metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, number of subscriptions, and others, can indicate the effectiveness of the newsletter and overall return on investment.
- Assess the newsletter design. In today’s digital environment, even the most educated audiences can feel their attention wane if your newsletter isn’t driven by easily consumable snippets. The goal is short, punchy, intelligent content your audience needs and wants. Newsletters also should be mobile friendly to appeal to on-the-go readers.
- Personalize content to a segmented list. Segment your customer list by relevant categories and consider campaigns that target each type. The more customized and personalized your newsletter, the more relevant and appealing it will be to your audience.
With this in mind, you’re now ready to take the next step to execute your ideas.
One of the latest newsletter innovations comes from the black-and-white world of newspaper publishing. The Washington Post uses the latest in machine learning algorithms to personalize newsletter content based on what the audience is already reading. These pop-up newsletters promote snippets of the latest articles to drive end-user engagement with their core newspaper product.
For its part, The New York Times has similarly innovated the craft of newsletter production. In 2017, The Times boasted 13 million subscribers to 50 email newsletters. These newsletters are highly segmented and personalized and use automation software and analytics to streamline workflows and improve reach.
As Digiday reported, email was embraced again several years ago, “when publishers … began experimenting with older products like newsletters as a place to foster engagement and community.” When innovation is applied to an old marketing technique, measurable growth and success tend to follow.
Generating revenue from newsletters
In addition to innovating with the latest technology, journals can approach designing their newsletters from a monetization standpoint as well. To imbue your old newsletter with potentially revenue-generating features, try adding the following:
- How-to guides
- Event invites
- Product updates or company news
- Social media mentions, posts, polls, and more
- Customer stories or testimonials
- Polls or fun feedback loops
- Community engagement
Newsletters don’t have to be boring. Get creative with your content and personalize your message and tone for your target audience. The publishing community is continually breathing new life into an old art form. Contact your Sheridan or KGL representative for a consultation, or visit our Sheridan/KGL contact pages to learn how we can help you innovate, streamline, and simplify your publishing processes.