How to write engaging newsletter articles in 7 easy steps
When I recently asked for guest post submissions, I had no idea what I’d get. Well, what I got was nothing short of amazing.
It appears that I have some incredibly smart readers with plenty of know-how to share.
So I’m delighted to introduce my very first guest blog post, written by Sally Bagshaw, a writer and editor extraordinaire from the land down under (Brisbane, Australia).
Corporate newsletters are an important tool to communicate with employees, clients, prospects, or suppliers. But like blogging, newsletters can become a victim of not enough time, not enough material to work from, or not enough inspiration.
What starts out as a regular, engaging and proactive tool slowly degrades into a half-baked email sent out once every blue moon. Subscribers slip away, employees disengage, and an important communication opportunity vanishes.
So what do you do? How do you come up with and write newsletter articles that are interesting?
Follow these seven simple steps and you’ll soon be back on track:
1. Know your audience
Even if it’s an internal newsletter for employees, don’t overlook the importance of understanding their problems, their motives and what they are interested in. If you are able to speak to them in their language, your internal communication efforts will become a whole lot easier.
2. Have a strong, newsworthy angle
Newsletters are meant to cover news. It’s that simple. And each article should have an angle that is reflected in the headline, lead and quote.
To make sure your angle is newsworthy, see if it covers one (or more) of the following news elements:
Timeliness — did it happen recently?
Proximity — did it happen close by to you or your readers?
Prominence — was someone important involved (a celebrity or a leader in your organisation)?
Consequence — did it have a big impact (this can also mean big in monetary terms)?
Human Interest — was it about someone who your audience would be interested in?
Novelty — was it quirky or out of the ordinary?
Progress — did it have to do with innovation or development?
If you can’t tick one of these elements off the list, re-visit your angle and tweak it.
Also have a think about the 5Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why and how) of your story. It will make it easier for you to write the article.
3. Write a killer headline
Headlines are just as important for newsletter articles as they are for media releases, direct mail, and blog posts. Keep your headline short, written in the active voice, and make sure it contains a strong verb.
If you get really stuck, try who > strong verb> what.
4. Follow it with a powerful lead
Your lead (the first paragraph) should cover as many of the 5Ws and H as possible. Write in the active voice and check to make sure you are staying true to your angle. The lead needs to hook your reader into reading the whole article, so don’t be afraid to put the most interesting information up front – don’t bury it further down the page.
5. Build your angle with a quote
A quote can add interest to your article and show the ‘human element’ in the story. Don’t waste your quote on trivial information such as times or dates. Instead use it to show opinion, observation and impact.
6. Use an image to create interest
People love pictures. Think outside the square and show off your employees, products, even premises in a different way – as long as it supports your angle.
7. Finish your article with a call to action
Like any marketing material, newsletter articles should have a call to action. Obviously you may not be calling for the reader to buy something, but don’t leave them hanging there with no direction on what to do next (after all, you’ve written such a motivating article, they are going to want to do something).
Think along the lines of:
- download the latest policy from the intranet
- register for training
- request the latest product brochure
- book a demonstration
- email the project coordinator
- complete the satisfaction survey
- … you get the idea.
So that’s it. You are now prepared for your next newsletter. Don’t be afraid, focus on your angle and the rest will fall into place.
Sally Bagshaw is a web copywriter and content strategist with a special knack for finding the best angle for newsletter articles. Visit her website at www.snappysentences.com.
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