Showing posts from November, 2013

The Make-Believe Newsletter

We all love a good story. The kinds of stories we use in newsletters tend to be real life experiences. It’s a good strategy to share experiences that illustrate a point and teach readers a lesson.

For some professions, real life success stories can present a challenge.
Confidentiality:  Not just names but also circumstances can be difficult to share without compromising a client’s privacy.Professional liability:  Providing advice can be risky for some if it’s taken out of context. Unfortunately, this limits some professionals in using these very effective content strategies. A new client of ours has found an alternative and, based on feedback, it’s working great.

Corinne is a lawyer so confidentiality and liability are valid concerns when it comes to her newsletter. When one of your goals is to build your reputation, sharing experience and advice are pretty important to achieving that. So, Corinne invented Karen, a fictional character who represents her ideal client. By telling Karen’…

It's Raining Content!

I had planned on calling this article ‘Feeding the Content Monster’ but when I checked Google, there were already many articles titled that. Conveniently, that conundrum leads right to the topic I want to discuss.

There are a lot of us now - content marketers, that is. According to an article titled ‘Content marketing goes mainstream’ (link is broken, sorry!), a whole heck of a lot more now than at this time last year.

Where is all that content coming from? Well, many of the ideas come from reading others’ content. In fact, that’s one of the top tips you’ll find content marketers sharing: search the web and see what other people are writing about.

When you think about it that way, doesn't it start to seem like a big machine feeding on itself? Much of the content we create is being read by other content creators, especially in the B2B world, and used for inspiration to create more content.

Surely the frenzy has to end somewhere. I find it hard to look forward and imagine the futur…

Secret Sauce

As a teenager, I can remember resolving not to nag my kids like I felt my mother did to me. Now, I’m pretty sure my stepson would say I’m a master at it. Funny how that happens.

Recently, I was reminding a client to send me the article for her newsletter. A few minutes later, I received an article titled “Nagging, Tracking, Monitoring and Control”. Once I stopped laughing, it got me thinking about the conversations I've had with other clients. One had said that she likes that we never back off from a deadline. Others have said they appreciate the accountability that our reminder process provides. It seems that one of my professional success factors is, in fact, nagging.

Our website says nothing about nagging. I never mention it when I’m talking to potential new clients; I’m quick to dazzle them with our expertise and to reassure them about our quality assurance process. It turns out that nagging is really what many of our clients want and need. Mom will be proud to find out that …

Content to Wrap Up the Year

December and January are good months to publish articles that sum up the past year and preface the new one. If your newsletters (or blog posts) are informational, this can be a good strategy for several reasons:
Website traffic is increased by directing your readers to past newsletter issues or blog posts.Readers are reminded of what they’ve learned which strengthens the learning process. It also reminds them of the value you’ve provided.You are reminded of what you’ve already covered. A review of your past articles will always prompt more ideas for future articles - I guarantee it!It also gives you the chance to critique your work. You’re more objective after time has passed.You can use it as an opportunity to update recommendations or opinions based on new learning or changes to your strategy.You get a sense of accomplishment! Here are 5 ideas for ending the year:
Top 5, Top 10, Best of... your own 'stuff': You can be the jury or report based on statistics.Top 5, Top 10, Best…

Guest Post: 7 Steps to Integrating eNewsletters with Social Media

Anita Hovey, Head Twirp at Twirp Communications, was kind enough to do a lunch and learn workshop with me to show people how social media and enewsletters work so well together. Here's the article she wrote to sum it up.
Does your newsletter help your social media? Or is social media helping your newsletter? Whether you’re sharing, connecting or promoting, the two go together like milk and cookies. Integrating enewsletters with social media is really quite simple and there are many ways to do it. How does your newsletter help your social media? According to a recent study published by eMarketer, 48% of marketers include “forward to a friend” features in their e-mails, but only 13% include features that make it easy to share content on social networks. If you’re still sending out your email newsletter as a PDF attachment, or heaven forbid, a picture within the body of the email, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities for social media posts.  A good enewsletter will
Give links…

Picking and Choosing

I am often talking about the value of networking and the importance of online strategy and social media engagement. The most common problem people express to me in these conversations is... "How do I engage without being a bother?"

This question used to confuse me. I would talk a LOT about value in what you offer, when I answered. In other words, if you are offering value, how could you be a bother?
What I have come to realize is that this questions is not always driven by the content or volume of an individual poster. It is often about the volume of content online in general. People are feeling overwhelmed. The solution?
Approach online the same way you do any other network development. Find the posters that are putting out consistent value. The ones that are wrapping up the best of the week, vetting content and connecting with their readers. If they are answering, participating and putting out real value, you have found a literal goldmine.
Choose who you follow as if you were …

Gift Certificates, Holiday Specials, and Stocking Stuffers

If your business sells to consumers, you definitely should consider doing some extra promotional emails leading up to the holidays. This is something you need to plan now and start executing soon.

You could simply add more targeted promotional messages to your regular newsletter. BUT you've worked hard all year to build your reputation and gain the attention of your readers. Now is the time to capitalize on that a bit. I'm not suggesting that you start blasting your readers with advertising. I am suggesting that a well-planned campaign can be very effective at this time of year.

Here are some ideas to consider:
If you sell gift certificates, you'll definitely want to promote them. Recommend who they will be suitable for. Insert Buy Now buttons directly into your newsletter with an immediate call to action.Do a holiday countdown with number of shopping days left.Create special offers or promotions only for your email subscribers. This can also help to get you new subscriber…