The article, “Roles Newsletters Play: Who Are You To Your Subscribers?” of Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan at E-WRITE describes the different types of newsletters and their contents, while their other article, “26 Ways To Spruce Up Your Newsletter,” in the same site suggests more topics for content enrichment.
The authors recommend giving your newsletter a specific personality and role to play for subscribers, among them, the industry insider, efficient assistant, experienced consultant, storyteller, and subscriber stand-in.
The industry insider, according to them, spots trends ahead of everyone else and informs the subscribers of these.
The efficient assistant, on the other hand, has the subscribers’ specific interests in mind while going through available materials, compiling what are relevant, and making summaries.
In contrast, the experienced consultant, according to the authors, offers expert advice and information in the first person and is personal, conversational, informative, and practical.
The storyteller, they say, narrates success stories and case studies from actual interviews. These stories present problems, the solutions tried and what worked, and lessons learned.
Finally, the subscriber stand-in asks resource persons questions that subscribers would want to ask given the chance, and does so in an informal and conversational tone.
Rudick and O’Flahavan warn that although newsletters can play more than one role, they should not attempt to take on too many roles to avoid confusing subscribers.
The authors suggest the following items for content:
- Columns written by in-house or industry experts
- Informed and unbiased product reviews
- Interviews with experts
- Profiles of subscribers or company personalities
- Behind-the-scenes look at people or processes
- Advice column by an expert
- Resource list of useful websites, white papers, books, or training opportunities
- Reader anecdotes on real-life events
- Success stories and feature stories on successful projects
- Account-specific information
- Instant downloadable information
- Calendar of events
- Conference coverage
- Networking, inviting subscribers to respond to blog posts, attend real or online meetings, or join discussion groups
- Legal updates
- Time-sensitive reminders
- Industry updates
- Giveaways or sweepstakes
Once again, the specific mix should reflect the personality you have chosen for the newsletter, otherwise you’ll end up with hodgepodge.