By Sarah Mitchell published June 24, 2010

5 Essential Elements to a Great Newsletter

Editor’s note: For more newsletter insights and advice, check out our updated post, 15 Goals, Tips, Examples, and Lessons for E-Newsletter Perfection.

How many newsletters arrive in your inbox every week? How many more land in your mailbox? How many of them do you actually read? Research conducted by Junta42 points to the widespread usage of eNewsletters (63%) and print newsletters (16%) in content marketing strategies. To achieve maximum benefit with your newsletter, make sure it contains the following elements.

Brevity

We’re inundated with information and another lengthy newsletter is not going to help anyone. Instead of trying to cram everything into your document, try to limit it to just one page. Shorter, more frequent deliveries are more desirable than the occasional tome.

Case study expert Casey Hibbard recognizes the importance of brevity with a helpful “Time to read the complete e-newsletter: 3 minutes” at the start of her “Tip of the Month” e-newsletter.

Storytelling

The best newsletters utilize classic story-telling techniques. Adapt a conversational tone to draw your reader in. Reveal some inside secrets about your industry. Remember, you’re writing a letter, not just reporting news.

Check out the “Terrific Tips eNewsletter”  for a terrific example.

Reader Focus

Don’t write a diary. Your audience is going to be interested in how you can help them, not hearing about all your successes and dramas. eNewsletters focused on content draw more readership.

Fitzgerald Photo Imaging understands the letter is not about them, it’s about their customers. The Fitz-e-News breaks the rule on brevity but only because it’s packed with so many hints, tips, local events and recommendations, all geared towards keeping their readers informed.

Call to Action

Let’s be honest here. None of us would take time out of our busy schedules to write a newsletter unless we wanted something from it. Every newsletter needs to have a clear call to action. This can be in the shape of a coupon, registration for an event or even a request to join your Facebook page. Make sure you’re asking your readers to do something.

Design

The importance of design is often mentioned at the Content Marketing Institute. The newsletter is no exception. While plenty of email services offer design templates, for a relatively small fee you can have your newsletter professionally designed. An attractive newsletter, either print or email, is going to encourage readership and support your brand.

Your newsletter is one of the most effective ways you have to communicate with your clients and prospects. Adopting these techniques will put you on the path to success and ensure your news is opened and read.

What do you think is an essential element to a good newsletter? Are there any other newsletters that inspire you?

Author: Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell is the founder of Global Copywriting and co-host of the Brand Newsroom podcast. She develops content marketing strategies for clients in a variety of industries. Sarah works in Perth, Western Australia and frequently speaks on topics related to Content Marketing and Social Media. She's also the Australian editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @SarahMitchellOz.

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