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How to Create a Killer Company Newsletter

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The dreaded newsletter — It’s something that every company strives to send but also wonders if it’s worthwhile.

Most of the time your newsletter list consists of current customers or maybe even leads that weren’t ready to buy. A company newsletter is a great way to maintain brand awareness with your customers. Newsletters can also be a great asset to stay in front of those leads who are not ready to convert. It’s a subtle way to stay top-of-mind while keeping your company brand relevant. When putting together a newsletter, there are two major items to consider. 1) The design and 2) the content.

01. THE DESIGN

The biggest mistake companies can make with their newsletters is the design. While graphics and pops of color can look appealing, they should definitely be kept to a minimum. Here’s why:

  • Too many images increase the likelihood of your email ending up in spam/junk
  • Excessive code in emails can break how they render in different email inboxes
  • Heavy design elements like color, graphics, and custom fonts may not display properly on mobile

Newsletter templates should have a simple yet aesthetic design. It should easily allow readers to move their eyes throughout the content. One great way to accomplish this is by using different content sections or blocks, which can also help organize your newsletter.

                    newsletter1

These email templates are provided by BEE Free and are available for free on their website. Read our blog The Top 3 Free Email Builders to learn how to import this newsletter template into your email marketing platform.

02. THE CONTENT

The type of content within your newsletter will depend on your audience and company brand/voice. If your company voice can be fun and playful, a newsletter is a perfect place to portray it. For example, if your company is a financial institution and your newsletter audience includes clients, it may not be the greatest idea to use a playful voice. Your audience is expecting professionalism and valuable resources in your newsletter.

Contingent on your audience, the following types of content are great for peaking interest and may be a great fit for your newsletter:

Promotions

Promotional offers are one of the most common types of content in newsletters. Offering discounts or special promos can help encourage repeat business but can also help bring in new sales. Social sharing buttons or referral programs make it easy for your readers to share with fellow friends while helping you capture new business.

Resources

Resources like blogs, case studies, and ebooks are just a few examples of the valuable content you can offer your audience in newsletters. For B2B industries, it’s likely that customers will be interested in the material they can relate to their own business efforts. For example, a case study on how another company has overcome the struggle of increasing lead conversion may be valuable for others in the same position. By offering these types of resources you are encouraging your customers to build their knowledge base and in turn, customers will associate value with your company.

Spotlights

Whether you’re adding a new team member or introducing a new client, spotlights are unique content pieces to share with your audience. Employee spotlights could consist of industry related tips, fun facts, reviews, and more. Showcasing a new client may involve a brief introduction but also what your company will be doing to help them. If industry appropriate, spotlights are a great place to get fun with your company personality.

Industry/Company Updates

Reviewing the latest and greatest news in your companies industry is extremely important. By sharing industry updates you’re not only educating them, but you’re also showing your readers you keep up with industry trends and you’re ready to compete. It proves your business is continuously learning and making strides to remain relevant. Updates may also include software or application announcements, especially if your business works with the applications or are widely popular within the industry.

Events

Events are a timeless resource that can hold huge value with customers. Types of events can vary and may include: webinars, networking, fundraising, educational workshops, tradeshows, and more. Newsletters can be a great space to announce these types of events as the email list typically includes the mass majority of your database. Many times hosting or attending an event can also help capture new leads.

If you’re already a pro at email newsletters, check out 8 Valuable Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without.

How to Create an Effective Editorial Calendar and Grow Your Business

An effective editorial calendar can get your business on the right track fast. It will help you stay organized, come up with new ideas, reveal gaps in your publishing schedule, and ensure everyone on your team is doing what they’re supposed to.

But more than that, a well thought out editorial calendar has the ability to help you drive more traffic to your site, encourage more people to subscribe to your email list, and boost sales so you generate more revenue than ever before.

If you currently have an editorial calendar (or are looking to create one very soon) and want to learn some surefire ways to maintain it so it works for you and not against you, check out these 4 tips for creating an effective editorial calendar.

1. Choose a Good Platform

In the past, we’ve discussed the importance of having a reliable editorial calendar solution. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your content management system (CMS), there are plenty of WordPress editorial calendar plugins on the market that have the features you need to run a successful content marketing strategy.

A good editorial calendar solution will have some (or all) of the following features:

  • Visual display of your posting schedule (daily, weekly, and monthly)
  • Drag & drop interface for easy rearrangement
  • Quickedit functionality for changing titles, content, and schedules
  • Editorial comments for communicating with your team
  • Social media posting ability
  • Analytics to measure success
  • Built-in email marketing
  • Integration with third-party tools

Some of the best editorial calendars on the market today include CoSchedule and Edit Flow.

Editorial Calendar Example

Every website will require a different type of editorial calendar. Some may need to be accessible within the WordPress dashboards as seen above with Editorial Calendar; others may prefer a third-party website. Take the time to see what you and your team need to streamline the content creation process as much as possible.

2. Have a Plan

The only way your editorial calendar is going to help you become more successful is if you have a plan in mind before your start randomly scheduling posts to go live.

Here are some good questions to ask yourself as you set out to create your editorial calendar:

  • What are your overall goals?
  • Who is your target audience and what are their pain points?
  • What type of content do you want to publish on your site?
  • How often can you consistently publish content?
  • What is your content marketing budget?
  • Will you have a team? What are their assigned roles?
  • How will you measure the success of your content marketing strategy?

Answering these questions before you start filling in your editorial calendar will give you (and your team) some direction.

3. Audit Existing Content

Sometimes coming up with fresh new ideas on a regular basis can be tough, especially if you want to publish content on your website many times a week.

That’s where auditing existing content comes in handy.

  • Fill in the Gaps. Going through content that has already been published on your website will help you see the categories that are lacking content so you can draft new content based on those topics. You’ll also find areas that can be expanded on that will be perfect for standalone blog posts.
  • Update Old Content. Old blog posts are perfect for filling in content gaps on your calendar. Interfaces, images, products, and ideas all change over time. By rewriting content that is old and outdated, you keep site visitors up to date and give your site some new content.
  • Repurpose Posts. Another way you can use old content is to repurpose it to seem like new. Maybe a popular blog post can be turned into an exciting infographic. Perhaps readers will appreciate a long blog post that’s broken into actionable steps. Or maybe you can take an existing post and branch off it, taking a small idea from it and turning it into its own standalone blog post.

Getting creative with your content is one of the best ways to fill your editorial calendar.

Full Calendar Example

By having your calendar filled out at all times, like the one in Nelio Content seen above, you can see what type of content you need and when it should publish on your site so site visitors are always given high quality and engaging content that makes them want to stick around.

4. Include it All

Editorial calendars are not just for blog posts. In fact, scheduling everything in your content marketing plan will make it easier to stay organized, fill in the gaps, and see what opportunities you’re missing out on.

Try scheduling blog posts, email campaigns, social media posts, infographics, webinars, and even video content into your editorial calendar. This will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s going on at all times.

If you have a team, scheduling in your entire content marketing plan will give everyone the ability to see what they’re responsible for individually and the status of all projects.

And don’t forget to take advantage of your editorial calendar’s built-in features. For example, add editorial metadata such as content topic, title, publish dates, like the WordPress plugin Edit Flow lets you do.

Editorial Metadata Example

If you want something that mimics the popular Trello content management system, check out Kanban Boards for WordPress. With it, you can set up your editorial calendar in stages so everyone knows what stage each piece of content is on, making tracking of the content creation process easy to do.

Content Creation Status Example

If you do use Trello, and want to include the data in Trello in your WordPress dashboard, be sure to check out the relatively new WordPress plugin WP Trello.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there’s a lot that goes into a content marketing plan that goes beyond just scheduling your site’s posts. However, having a reliable editorial calendar, and knowing what to do with it, can make a world of difference.

If you create an effective editorial calendar, and set up it up to include your entire content creation process, you can publish consistent content that will drive traffic, engage your audience, expose your brand to a broader audience, and even increase sales.

Adding to that, if you’re looking for a way to complement your editorial calendar, and automate your email campaigns, try adding FeedOtter into your content marketing strategy. With a quick setup process, integration with Marketo or Pardot, and the ability to email your blog content to anyone at any time, FeedOtter helps you generate more leads and land more conversions so your business can grow.

 

Plan, Create, & Share Content with these Top Tools

One thing content marketers care the most about is creating new fresh content that helps attract more traffic. We know that great content can be beneficial in a number of ways. Some include increasing your company’s online visibility, providing value to your prospective customers, and maintaining brand awareness. Whether you’re a newbie just getting started with content marketing or well-seasoned, the objectives of putting a content piece together are the same: Plan, Create, and Share.

Here are some of the top tools that help plan, create, and share your content:

Plan

When planning your content, there are typically 2 phases; Discovery and Organizing. Discovery might look something like exploring trending hashtags or keywords. One tool I like to use is Google Trends, which allows you to enter a keyword and Google will report the frequency of it being searched as well as any related key terms or phrases. The best part is, this tool is FREE!

By looking at the “related queries” content marketers are able to pinpoint exactly what their audience needs to hear from them. For example, I can see from Google Trends that there is a large interest peak regarding what content marketing is. This shows me that a large portion of my audience may still have some reservations about what content marketing entails.

google trends

Now, when it comes to organizing I am extremely biased. This is because I am obsessed with Quip. If you haven’t heard of Quip yet, they are a Salesforce product that allows users to collaborate real-time on shared documents, spreadsheets, project plans and more. They have a fair pricing structure for businesses, but if you are a one [wo]man show then Quip is absolutely free!

quip

The interface is extremely user-friendly and allows you to stay organized with the ability to create sub-folders and, my favorite, color code them! Natively through Quip, you can utilize a number of other tools like the process bar, project tracker, kanban board, and calendar as another way to keep organized. You can also drop comments anywhere within the document to spark a conversation or note a reminder. These examples just hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the different possibilities with Quip. Ultimately, Quip is a great tool that can help you integrate with other platforms and collaborate with colleagues or clients.

As a content marketer, we’re sometimes creating content, like social posts or blogs, that contain other related sources such as photos. Instead of saving the photos to my desktop, I outline my content then copy and paste my photos where they belong. Quip documents can also be shared with anyone, where others can solicit feedback in real-time via the internal chat function. Another awesome feature of Quip is the ability to great-looking documents using the native tools. Personally, I’ve used them to create client project plans, content calendars, and more. One of my favorite aspects about Quip is that it cuts down the number of emails to my inbox with the real-time notifications. I have no doubt this will become your favorite tool within Quip because who doesn’t want to cut out the number of work emails they receive!

quip folders

 

quip document

 

Create

When it comes to what type of content you should be creating, it’s best practice to put yourself in the reader’s shoes and determine the best way the content can be easily interpreted. Whether it’s writing blogs, creating infographics, or ebooks Canva has a variety of templates to help bring your content to the finish line. Canva is an online graphic design tool that offers easy editing with a drag and drop feature. While they do have paid versions of Canva, including enterprise levels, I have found the free version works just fine. The only feature I feel I am missing out on is the ability to create different folders for my content.

canva home

Canva allows you to choose from 50,000+ layout templates for different types of content and search thousands of icons. While many of these icons are free, users can decide to upgrade to other icons or images. There’s also the ability to drag and drop shapes, lines, and charts. Lastly, you can upload computer photos, which can then be edited by the built-in photo editor. Canva is another one of my favorite tools I’m biased about because it’s so easy! With a breeze, you can create ebooks, infographics, social graphics and much more. To top it all off, these graphics can easily be saved by selecting the download button in the upper right corner, where users are given the option to export as a PDF, JPEG, or PNG. Thankfully there is no fussing over the exported file type.

canva templates

canva layouts

canva builder

 

Share

At this point, you’ve come up with a great plan for your content. You’ve organized what you need to get done and taken the right steps on how to get that content created. Now, you’re ready to share and optimize your content.

With the existence of several types of marketing mediums, it’s important to pinpoint which one will best connect with your audience. There are a couple of different routes to take here. Whether it be through social media, blogging, or email marketing, there are a number of tools that can help with scheduling and overall distribution.

For social media management, my favorite tool is Sendible. Of course, the platform has the ability to schedule posts, including Instagram, but it also lets you engage with your audience right from the platform feed. This is extremely beneficial as it cuts down the time of jumping from platform to platform in order to connect with customers. You can also monitor keywords to stay in-front of trending topics and most importantly users can customize their reports and dashboards to measure what’s working.

sendible

As a content marketer, you know blogging can be a tremendous resource for your company. These blogs can also act as a great resource for email marketing, whether you’re blasting your monthly subscribers or using them as valuable content for new leads. There’s a great tool called FeedOtter that allows users to easily build email templates that pull in blog posts from your website. FeedOtter seamlessly integrates with Pardot and Marketo to immediately send or schedule emails of your new posts. The platform offers out-of-box newsletter templates or you can create your own style. The beauty of FeedOtter is all the email sending and management is being done through your marketing automation platform. Therefore, unsubscribes and bounces are still effectively being managed in one area.

feedotter

Optimize your content

One significant step when sharing your content is ensuring it has been optimized. The easiest way to enhance your blog post is to assign keywords, tags, and develop the SEO. When using WordPress, one of my favorite SEO plugins is Yoast SEO. It’s by far the most self-explanatory and user-friendly tool to use for SEO optimization. Once the WordPress Plugin is downloaded, a section of every page will be dedicated to Yoast SEO where you can not only develop SEO on blog posts, but also individual pages. The Yoast section will score the SEO on the page on a number of characteristics including title, keywords, meta description, readability, and more. Most beneficial, the Yoast SEO plugin will tell users exactly what they need to work on to get good SEO.

yoast seo

 

Learn more content marketing tools you can’t live without.