You've got that next edition of your email newsletter looming and you are starring at a blank sheet of paper. If this is a problem you face, you are not alone. Research indicates the time and resources needed to create content is the number one reason many people stop publishing an e-newsletter.
You can make the production process easier by tapping social media in creating e-newsletter content and by using templates if you lack an in-house designer. Additionally, if you get your readers to help in the creation of content, you will build a highly engaged subscriber list.
Consider the following when you put together your content and design plan.
- Look at the topics on your blog that get the most response. Also look at industry leading blogs and observe the highest interest topics. Build articles on the most commented topics with links to your blog, where appropriate.
- Join an industry group on LinkedIn and post questions for feedback.You can also use the LinkedIn system to push a survey to members of your target audience. Use a summary of the responses to your questions or surveys as subjects for your newsletter article.
- If you get a lot of questions from prospects or customers via email or Twitter, publish the most interesting questions and your answers in an article in your newsletter. You could even publish a monthly Q & A column to encourage more engagement with your target audience.
- Create Google alerts on the most relevant topics in your industry. Watch for important information and write up your take on current happenings. For example, we recently noticed that Ben & Jerry's replaced its e-newsletter with a social media out reach program. We wrote about that event in an article about the future of email newsletters. By the way: we think e-newsletters will continue to exist; but change to incorporate social media channels.
- Use Web 2.0 to dynamically capture content ideas. Subscribe to important RSS feeds to get content ideas. Use an aggregator like Yahoo pipes to pull it all together in one place. Or, us igoolge.com as a platform to gather content ideas. From your iGoogle account, you can use Google Insights for search to track recent trends in key subjects, stream Google alerts and monitor important blogs via Technorati; all from the same portal.
- If you do not have a design staff, you can use email template templates to find good quality designs.
Look to the social media and Web 2.0 channels to make it easier to create fresh, relevant content for your email newsletters.