That Company Newsletter
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and questions surrounding email newsletters. For the past 15 years, this has been something I have always recommended to clients without question – a frequent email newsletter sent to a customer/user list updating them on company news, events, sales and/or promotions.
Upon considering client/customer communication on a current project, I took a step back and realized the approach should be dealt with a little differently. Mainly, due to the growth of social media and how people choose to view their news.
Let me back track a little and talk about my experience with the traditional newsletter. Personally, I’m signed up to receive a few dozen newsletters from all kinds of businesses that I’ve shopped for, news and sales/promotions from online shopping. The reality is that I rarely read these newsletters and as I look in my delete bin, 95% of them are still unread. However, if I look at my Twitter followers, Facebook groups I’ve “liked” or that I follow or list of blogs I follow, I am also plugged in to these companies/businesses receiving the same information I do via newsletter.
Enter the new age of social media and how you should reconsider your communication strategy with your customers/clients. Although this post might suggest otherwise, I don’t recommend discarding the traditional email newsletter. Not only is there a demographic out there who still expects this kind of communication but there are also some who simply don’t want to be plugged in to social media and are happy to receive company news via email.
What I recommend to clients is to first come up with the content of the newsletter. Forget about “how” you’ll communicate your message and focus on “what” your content will be. Once you have the content, then it’s just a matter of formatting. Format an email newsletter or a word document converted to a PDF and link that PDF on your website or as an attachment in an email. Next, create a blog with the same content or summarize it with a link to the document in question. I would lean towards re-creating the entire newsletter for a blog since you can now use it for extra content for search engine ranking and giving your users less work than to link to a document.
Once you’ve got the blog up and running, your options really open up. Facebook allows you to import a blog to your profile so this Facebook update will be done automatically once your blog is published. One of the advantages of most blog services is that you can have a “share” widget on every blog post to allow you or any viewer to push that blog post to sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz or good old fashioned email; giving you and your viewers the ability to spread the content.
So although newsletter membership does continue to grow, it’s not uncommon for me to receive a “remove” email for a newsletter and have that user appear as a follower/fan on another social media service.