Message & Media: Opt In to the Inbox
I receive two daily e-newsletters. In both cases, I glance at the TOC, make a split-second decision about whether or not there’s something of interest, then click to read on, or delete and move on. I’ll quickly add that not every e-newsletter I receive includes a TOC, because they aren’t always appropriate.
However, in the case of a monthly newsletter I write for a client, the TOC presents a bulleted summary of reader benefits. It allows the reader to pick and choose topics of interest from article titles such as “Tips for an Affordable Vacation” or “The Best Way to Get Out of Debt.”
• Content: One of the biggest challenges for editors and writers is creating and maintaining content that’s relevant and engaging. While it’s dangerous not to map out an editorial calendar for the months ahead, you also need to remain flexible and nimble enough to change topics to remain timely. That’s especially true in today’s ever-changing consumer and business environments.
Quality content starts with defining an objective for your e-newsletter, then creating an editorial calendar that supports it. For example, if your goal is to generate clickthrough traffic to specific pages on your Web site, your writer needs to know this. Corresponding content can be developed that provides immediate value to the reader, with links to learn more at your Web site. An example of a newsletter that does this is Weight Watchers’ QuickBites. It’s generously peppered with links to eating tips, success stories, meeting locations, recipes and coupons. (At the other end of the spectrum is the Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letter. It looks and reads like a personal letter with few, if any, links until you reach the P.S.)