8 Types of Engaging & Valuable Email Newsletter Content
People like to throw the term “email newsletter” around pretty loosely. But what is an email newsletter, really? And how can you create one that engages your audience, turns prospects into customers, and previous customers into repeat buyers?
Basically, how can you create a newsletter that not only doesn't suck, but WOWs your audience?
First, let’s clarify the difference between an email newsletter and other types of marketing emails. A newsletter is a tool you can use to share business updates and helpful, entertaining content. Your newsletter should be sent regularly, whether that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The cadence depends on the nature of your business and your audience, so you should test send times and frequency to see what works.
Some people – even other marketers – use “email newsletter” interchangeably with the general term “email marketing.” Note that a newsletter is just one type of email. There are also promotional campaigns, welcome sequences, abandoned cart series, among many others! We won’t dive into all those here, but check out my other post on nine types of email campaigns every business owner should know.
So, why are newsletters essential? They’re a great way to:
Provide valuable free content that delights your subscribers
Stay top of mind with your already-interested audience
Continue building your know, like, and trust factor
When you share enough helpful information, you can also include a call to action to learn more, buy your product, or invest in your paid service or content.
8 Ways to Use Your Email Newsletter
Next, let’s check out eight types of content to include in your email newsletter.
Heads up: Don’t try to squeeze in all of these topics! Come up with a strategy first and make sure your newsletter isn’t overwhelming and confusing. It should be relevant and interesting to your audience. Ask yourself and your team:
What aligns with your brand and industry?
How can you provide value to your audience?
How can you cater to both prospects and customers?
1. Repurpose Other Content
When it comes to your content marketing, you do not need to reinvent the wheel. Remember, not everyone will see all of your content or is checking out all of your channels – that’s why we use more than one! Some people are more active on social media, some opt for email, and others prefer listening to podcasts or watching videos.
For example, use your email newsletter to share your blog posts. You can do this a few different ways:
Send weekly, with an excerpt from your latest blog post and linking to the full read
Send a monthly or biweekly roundup featuring your most recent blogs
Reshare relevant posts for your industry based on the time of year or current events
Do you have a highly entertaining podcast episode or YouTube channel? You can do the same as above, but instead, give a summary and link to listen to the full episode or video.
Or perhaps you’re super active on social media and batch your content by weekly or monthly topics. Use your newsletter to share a roundup of your latest social media posts. This is a great way to share a series of posts that you can combine into one helpful update or guide for your newsletter.
HubSpot sends weekly roundups of their blog posts. Below is just for their marketing blog – they also have a sales, service, and website blog, and you can subscribe to updates for each individually!
2. Tell a Story
Tell a story or share a poignant thought and tie it back to your business and audience. We have conversations, interactions, and experiences daily and weekly that we can learn from (especially as a business owner, amirite?).
Was there a recent lesson you learned? Something thought-provoking you read or heard? A great piece of advice you received? Perhaps you saw something unique related to your industry, something you documented and want to share as inspiration?
Take your daily or weekly reflections, tie them back to your business, and turn them into short stories for your newsletter!
3. Share Helpful Tips, Trends & Resources
How can you use your email newsletter to educate your audience and make their lives easier? By sharing things like:
Quick tips related to your service or product
How-tos and easy step-by-steps
Tools and resources you use and love
Trends: What’s going on in your industry? What does it mean for your audience? What can they do to prepare/keep up?
Jay Schwedelson, President and CEO of Worldata and Founder of SubjectLine.com (which offers a great subject line grading tool!), does a great job of that last idea in his newsletter, Jay’s Inside Scoop. He shares the latest email marketing trends and statistics with recommendations on techniques to try. The best part? He keeps it all super quick, easy to read, and actionable.
4. Promote Upcoming Events
If people subscribe to your newsletter, chances are they’re interested in your events. So use it to spread the word about:
Educational events like free or low-cost webinars (these are great for lead generation!)
Conferences or networking events
New product or service launch parties
Plus, you can segment your audience by:
Geographic location: Target your audience for physical events.
Interest: Give your audience what is most relevant to them.
For example, my client HR ROI constantly hosts trainings for employers who need to stay updated on the latest workplace trends and remain compliant. We highlight their upcoming events in their monthly newsletter:
5. Feature Third-party Content
Are there specific influencers and thought leaders in your industry you respect and admire? Feature some of their content in your newsletter! Plus, you’ll give your audience another great resource to use.
You can also spotlight colleagues and professionals you collaborate with or other small/local businesses you love. Feature your fave fellow business owners by:
Sharing their upcoming events that your audience could benefit from
Sharing their value-packed content (e.g., blog post, podcast, video, etc.)
Telling your audience a bit about them and how they help clients
Today, it’s all about collaboration over competition – so show some love to other entrepreneurs! If you discuss it with them, they may even return the favor.
6. Showcase User-generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) speaks VOLUMES, making it perfect for sharing in your email newsletter. It can come from your audience, customers, employees, or community. UGC can include:
A customer’s unique use of your product
Customer success stories
FAQs people ask on social media and other channels (This one also allows you to provide helpful tips!)
Thought-provoking quotes from your team or clients
And if it comes with visuals like photos or brief videos? Even better!
Consider how you can garner more UGC. Send surveys or even simple questions to your community. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. Keep up with social listening (i.e., monitor conversations on your social media accounts). This can all be fodder for excellent content that doubles as social proof.
7. Tie in Trending Topics or Events
Show that your brand is on top of what’s going on in the world by tying current or seasonal events and topics back to your business. Discuss important matters on your audience’s mind to join in the conversation. Or try creating a humorous or entertaining message around it.
For example, Later puts out fantastic content (always accompanied by beautiful, colorful graphics). This week, they shared a post relating to the new season of popular show Queer Eye and what advice the Fab Five would give for creating an amazing social media presence.
8. Newsletter by Audience & Interest
If you have a large enough audience with multiple buyer personas, it may be worth creating separate newsletters for different segments based on demographic info like their interests or location. That way, you can give each group exactly what they’re looking for.
Are you offering a new service or course? Notify your relevant segment(s) and tell them to subscribe for specific updates!
Or maybe some of your audience is interested in certain types of products or services? Allow subscribers to sign up only for what they care about, then send separate newsletters and updates for each category. For example, a local dairy and beef farm might have one general newsletter and another for vegetarians.
Create Consistent & Engaging Email Newsletters
Hopefully, this has gotten your gears turning on the content strategy for your email newsletter. Keep in mind that yours should only include the topics relevant to your business and audience.
The key to an effective newsletter is keeping it simple, engaging, and valuable for your readers. What new content can you deliver to make your newsletter stand out? How can you get subscribers excited to receive your weekly, biweekly, or monthly newsletter? It’s no easy feat – especially considering how many emails we receive!
Don’t be afraid to test different methods and types of content. And if you have any questions or thoughts on your email newsletter, don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!