Experienced bloggers may have a profound understanding of the dynamics of composing an engaging and informative blog but they may also be entirely clueless when it comes to applying their writing skills to a very different medium: their email newsletter.
The creation of an effective email newsletter requires a very specific form of writing moxie and the mastery of a structure which varies considerably from your garden variety blog post.
Promotional vs. informative
The first determination which must be made is what your readers want to read. In order to address this situation you might need to rewind your entire creative process back to Square One and re-determine what the actual goal of your email newsletter is in the first place. Of course you’re trying to drive more traffic to your blog, but are you doing it in a promotional or an informative manner? The two approaches can translate in very distinct results.
Depending on your email subscribing audience they may be more responsive to a form of mini-blog which presents ancillary or even totally separate information than what you are currently featuring on your formal blog.
However, some types of readers would rather receive the information you provide on your blog itself and may be confused or irritated by having to resort to two separate channels to receive “the full picture.” You can certainly rely on your knowledge of the sector, but by far the more accurate manner to make this determination is by extensively testing both approaches to see which one provides the better conversion rate.
Short & punchy
Once you have the overall approach set, it’s time to simplify. Most bloggers craft email newsletters that are way too long, complex, convoluted, and detailed to be effective. The best email newsletters feature short, punchy paragraphs, a wealth of bullet lists, and links that not only lead back to your blog, but to other pages that your readers could find of interest.
There is usually no need to cram in everything but the kitchen sink into your email newsletters, as general summaries with links back to your blog for the meat of the matter is usually all that is required. If you find yourself composing voluminous tomes for your email newsletter content that requires repeated scrolling by the reader, you should channel that time and energy into your blog itself.
Chat, don’t lecture
Your email subscriber is a regular person, not a member of a peer-review scientific journal committee. That equates into your composing your email newsletter in the style of a one on one conversation not a post-graduate thesis. You can reserve the heavy lifting of facts and figures for your blog, as an email newsletter is best written in the way that you would chat with them, not lecture them.
Reward your reader for having the trust and confidence in you to sign up for your email newsletter and then carrying through to actually opening and reading the emails they receive by providing them content that is friendly, approachable, and conversational.
Jargon is one of the greatest enemies of a successful email newsletter campaign. Even though you may operate in an extremely technical industry, you should always aim the readership comprehension of your email newsletter writing at a reasonable eighth grade education level.
Take whatever steps are necessary to avoid writing email newsletters that require extensive technical footnotes, or worse yet read like the Hollywood trade magazine Variety where different movie genres are described in insider lingo as laffers (comedies), mellers (melodramas), oaters (Westerns), or chopsocky (martial arts). Excessive jargon or technicalese can lead to misunderstanding which can alienate a large part of your audience.
You should always place yourself in the position of your subscriber when writing an email newsletter. If you were subscribing to your blog, what would you react to most favorably? If you find that the way you are crafting your email campaign now is actually responsible for disaffecting your subscribers, it’s time that you made a change… while you still have subscribers left!
Hal LicinoLabel: Email Subscription, Hal Licino