How to Write a Consistently Reviewed by Momizat on . Good E-mail Newsletter In January, I asked: Are you a Digital Sharecropper? Are you relying solely on someone else’s digital platform (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Good E-mail Newsletter In January, I asked: Are you a Digital Sharecropper? Are you relying solely on someone else’s digital platform (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Rating: 0
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How to Write a Consistently

Good E-mail Newsletter

In January, I asked: Are you a Digital Sharecropper? Are you relying solely on someone else’s digital platform (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) to reach your audience of leads, prospects, clients, and referral sources? Many of you do … that is not a good thing … and I told you why.

In February, I wrote about How to Build an E-mail List from Scratch. It all starts with personally and individually inviting people you already know and who would benefit from the content you will be writing about to get on your e-mail list. They will be your first 100–500 subscribers.

Well, it looks like these two posts must be resonating because several people have asked me how to start a new e-mail newsletter or improve their current one. Let’s make this March post the final installment on how to get started with e-mail newsletters and following the five-steps to success.

In January, I asked: Are you a Digital Sharecropper? Are you relying solely on someone else’s digital platform (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) to reach your audience of leads, prospects, clients, and referral sources? Many of you do … that is not a good thing … and I told you why.

In February, I wrote about How to Build an E-mail List from Scratch. It all starts with personally and individually inviting people you already know and who would benefit from the content you will be writing about to get on your e-mail list. They will be your first 100–500 subscribers.

Well, it looks like these two posts must be resonating because several people have asked me how to start a new e-mail newsletter or improve their current one. Let’s make this March post the final installment on how to get started with e-mail newsletters.

So, how do you write an e-mail newsletter that is consistently good … so good that your readers want to consistently read them?

To answer that question, I dug into my archive of saved newsletters and found this gem from Chris Brogan. Because when someone like Chris writes about the same topic, you unabashedly and unashamedly (but with attribution!) report his thoughts. Here is what he had to say.

Prework—Become an idea machine.

I talk about Claudia Altucher’s Become an Idea Machine book as often as I can. The idea is simple. Write out lists of ideas every day. Ten ideas a day. Every day. I use this to have an endless supply of what to write about. (This prework step helps fuel step 1 and 2).

Step One—Practice delivering one piece of simple value every week.

First off, know that the more you practice something, the better you get at it. If you practice the right things. In this case, your goal for practice is to deliver at least one piece of simple value every week. Let’s define “value” as “something that appeals to your potential buyers that they can do with or without your products or services.” That’s the practice.

Step Two—Keep a list of what you’ve sent, keep a calendar of what you will send.

The next way to get better is to keep track of what you’re writing. [I keep a] running list of newsletter subject lines week to week. I scan these every time I get ready to write my next newsletter. They follow a rough editorial theme per month, so that I can try and hit different potential buyers in different ways. That way, no one ever goes more than a few weeks without feeling they aren’t seeing something they can use.

Step Three—Practice brevity and cut out everything that doesn’t serve the main point.

Brevity. That’s your third requirement. Kill everything that doesn’t deliver on the purpose of the letter. Edit to remove all the superfluous. When writing, especially when attempting the conversational tone, people tend to blather a bit. They tend to get all “explainy”. It’s not helpful. It clutters things up. Look for ways to cut the sentences short. (Ideal newsletter length is 300–600 words.)

Step Four—Remove almost every sentence that is built to prove that you’re smart or worth it. Let your service be your confidence.

Check your ego. Here’s a tricky one, but not the way you might think. In this case, I mean “stop explaining yourself or defending yourself or writing so much to the tune of how great you are and why you’re worthy of your potential buyer’s time.” Yep. Most newsletters have a healthy dose of “I’m really good. Honest! I’m worth your time. And I’m smart, too!”

Step Five—Serve them and then you, but always both.

This last one is technically the first step as well. It’s important that you know this is where a lot of people get it wrong. They either send letters that help the community they serve but don’t help themselves grow their business, or they send letters that help only them and not the people they serve. You must have something for both of you.

Check your newsletter before sending it to see if you match all five steps on this list. Work on it consistently (using that prework step to get yourself smarter and smarter). I promise you’ll see results.

Rod’s thoughts—For what it’s worth.

  1. Chris Brogan has over 30,000 subscribers to his e-mail newsletter. He must be doing something right!
  2. As I write this, the Kindle version of Claudia Altucher’s book is $0.99.
  3. I think weekly is the best frequency for an e-mail newsletter … more, and you become an annoyance to your audience … less, and you never gain momentum/traction with them.

Wrap up

So, there you go. If you’ve been following this series of posts, you now know why it’s dangerous to put all of your digital sharecropper assets into the hands of one or more social media platform landlords and what to do instead. You know how to create an e-mail list from scratch, or at least how I did it. And you know how to come up with great content for your newsletter.

Good luck! Where you take it from here is up to you. Reach out to me if you think I can help.


Rod Burkert, CPA, ABV, CVA runs things over at Burkert Valuation Advisors, LLC. He’s reinvented his practice several times after going solo in July 2000. Today, Rod’s practice offers coaching, training, and consulting to colleagues and clients in the BVFLS world. And since March 2010, he’s been traveling full time throughout the United States and Canada in an RV with his wife and their two dogs.

Mr. Burkert can be contacted at (215) 360-6100 or by e-mail to Rod@RodBurkert.com.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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