It’s very hard to convince many of my clients to send out regular newsletters, let alone a weekly one!
The biggest objection is time. I wrote about how newsletters actually SAVE your business time. And it’s true, they do, but that’s over time, not in the moment of having to write one.
When you get to “newsletter day” and you’re already kind of busy and you don’t know what to say and you still have to drop off the dog at doggie-day-care because it’s pouring rain for the fourth day in a row, and she’s about to rip your house apart with all her excess energy…
Well, it’s easy to skip it.
But you know you shouldn’t – it’s how you communicate directly with your audience.
It took me a long time to get in the habit of sending out a weekly newsletter, and I found a few things that make it faster and easier for me to produce a helpful, regular, email. Here are three ways that help me, and one that I’m about to start!
Note: I talk about a weekly newsletter because I think that’s easiest way to frequently communicate with my audience. But you might structure your communication different and only send a newsletter monthly. That’s fine, just sub “monthly” for “weekly” below. Or, you might not even call it a newsletter, but you’re sending a weekly check-in mail. Still applies.
4 ways to faster and easier newsletters
1| What’s the goal of your newsletter?
Pick one main goal for your newsletter as a whole. If you keep your goal in mind, than narrows down what you’ll write about.
A goal will give you a purpose for writing a newsletter other than, “because I’m supposed to.” A purpose is so much more motivating! Plus, a constraint like a goal will actually help you generate ideas of what to send.
If you want to, each week, you can pick a goal for the current issue. I think most of the time, the goal is going to be the same each week, but if you have a big event or a product launch, you can set a goal for the current issue around that event.
My personal goal for my newsletter is to build relationships by being helpful. Some other goals for successful newsletters include: keeping in touch, selling something, driving traffic to one of your other channels, offering bonus value, cross-promoting with other professionals, or educating your subscribers.
2| Templates make your newsletters faster to write
You can save time writing and build trust at the same time by sticking to one or two newsletter formats. Create a template, either in your email autoresponder program, or in your text editor so that you never sit down to a blank page. Pick 2 – 5 sections that you want to include, and block them out on your template.
For example, right now, I always start with a quick note to my subscribers. It’s usually about what’s going on with me or asking questions about them. I like a combo of both because it feels like a conversation to me. Then, I include a recap of the content I’ve published that week. And finally, if I find another bit of content that I think would be helpful, I include it as well (mine or someone else’s).
Do remember who you’re sending your newsletter to. I keep it short and easy to digest because my audience is business owning moms who don’t have a lot of extra time. I tell them how what I’ve written can help them, and give them a list to choose from. This way, they don’t have to go check the blog every few days.
Some common items I see in newsletter templates are infographics, an insightful article that only subscribers get, surveys, sales and promotions.
3| Automate what you can for your newsletter
You should absolutely be using software to send out your newsletter. You can build out your newsletter and then schedule it to go out automatically at the right time. Part of my blog post publication process is to add an image and excerpt from my article into an upcoming newsletter.
You can use automation to help you collect information to build out your newsletter as well. You can use a blog reader like Feedly to find industry articles to share with your audience. But what’s really cool (that I am still working on) is that you can use services like Zapier and IFTTT to build out your newsletter content. I don’t have that fully set up yet, but I’m learning!
4| Delegate your newsletters
And finally, a newsletter is a task that you can delegate, depending on your newsletter goals and the things you decide to include in that newsletter.
Document the process of building out your newsletter. You can do this easily by using a screen capture tool like Loom to record the steps of gathering information to put in your newsletter, the actual email autoresponder campaign setup, and the process of sending out the email. Then, watch yourself and write out each step with notes about how you want things done.
Any general-skills VA should be able to put together your newsletter from your detailed instructions. If you’re going to ask her to do any curation or selecting items to feature, you’ll have to be sure she has a great understanding of your business or has a strict criteria to follow. You’ll need to decide who will write any notes or articles that you’re going to include. If your VA is a writer and she understands your business’s point of view, then she might be able to write for your newsletter and free you entirely from newsletters! Or, depending on your business, you might want to provide your VA with the note or article to include.
I haven’t outsourced my newsletter yet. That’s coming pretty soon here though as I get busier and busier. But I like the idea of writing my notes to my email subscribers, so I’ll keep that one on my plate. The trick for me will be to avoid being the bottleneck in the process!
Don’t let lack of time stop you from writing your newsletters
I’ve shown you four ways to speed up newsletter production in this email, and previously, I’ve talked about how much time they can save you long term. You don’t really have a great excuse for not emailing your audience.