Use storytelling to optimize your newsletter

Posted by Mia Meldgaard. Last updated: Wed, Apr 30, 2014

Are you seeking new inputs for your newsletter? Perhaps you have been going at it for a while and want to further develop your relationship-building content.

In this publication, we will give you five angles on how you can create more convincing content for your reader. These five ideas make use of elements from storytelling, in order to create a sense of engagement for the reader.

Regardless of what the overall goal for your newsletter is, you can increase interest in it with storytelling. By this, we mean that it is important that your content is introduced and appears directed to the individual reader, as opposed to a larger group.

It is important to dedicate your readers and make them want to come back to your newsletters. You need to create trust in your service, by letting your empathy be with your reader; be attentive to a need of theirs that you can fill.

Further, your have to make your readers react. They are, ultimately, your ambassadors, and have made a conscious decision to receive your newsletter and possibly use your service.

1 Tell, tell, tell

It’s all about being concrete and telling stories, all the way through. Think of your newsletter as a story that needs an introduction, a plot and a finale.

The introduction serves to engage the reader: give them an offer - and a part of yourself. You can, e.g., share a link that you like and that has relevance for your content. Or, if your newsletter concerns something simple like the opportunity to win an iPad, the link can say “Win an iPad - click here”. In order to be good story telling, this can be elaborated with reviews and references to a good blog, article, App, podcast, video etc. about the new iPad. This ‘wraps’ it in the value, that your recipient will experience by using the iPad in their everyday life.

During the plot, you have to provide a mood. This could be with a character description of your product/service. Continuing with the example, you could relay how an iPad can change someone’s work routine, meeting structure etc.

And last: the finale. What exclusive offer will you give your reader?

Remember to explain what your recipient is supposed to do. If it’s about winning an iPad, elaborate the steps they have to go through to participate.

Furthermore, you can try setting up a cliff hanger, giving a tip, adding a P.S. about your next newsletter and its content or link back to previous newsletters that are relevant to this one.

These are all ways of adding value for your reader, all the way to the end.

2 Include every-day-life

It may take some extra work: finding and making relevant videos, reviews, tests and articles that can help you wrap up your service. But: think of doing it as a gift for your reader to unwrap and learn from. Providing a telling/narrative kontekst makes your e-mail marketing more seductive to the reader. This is often better than being purely aggresive.

Don’t be scared of giving some of yourself and your organisation. Often, completely simple stories from your every-day-life can also be good marketing. This could be introducing new staff or providing portraits of your coworkers - or sharing little occurances in your business. This helps create trust towards you and your product, as well as showing that there is life throughout the organisation. As an example, you could share how much you’re looking forward to participating in the next trades fair.

Focusing on every day activites can also mean finding relevate, local activities for your readers - be it a link about fairs, conferences or webinars. Branch out a little: If you sell childrens’ clothing, you could inform about the cirkus being in town.

By sharing the simple things that you care about, you talk directly to the reader’s emotions and create authenticity. This can mean that both you and your service are remembered.

3 Choose your words carefully

Use your language to show interest and engagement, and target your text to the media Newsletter. Think in short text and part it into columns and sections. This makes it easier on the reader’s eyes.

Furthermore, you could also work with alliterations (pain-gain, luck and love) and lyrical phrases. When done right, this can help enhance your message - as long as you do it thoughtfully, so as to not create a text that doesn’t make sense.

Here, it’s all about trying different things and see what works with your newsletter and your style.

4 Reuse good content

Do not be afraid to reuse your content. Remember what has worked well - perhaps by building an index on succesful subject fields and content articles. Working together to both test and remember what works can also create a social synergy in your organisation.

Become wiser as you go along; become increasingly aware of positive and negative results, and use this understanding to optimise your newsletter.

When you reuse something, it does not have to be word for word. You can share stories from different angles, with a new focus. Or refer back to top stories from earlier. You can even cross-reference to other platforms, such as social media.

5 Remember the context

Remember that newsletters often enter a user’s private mail-flow. In the inbox, they are shoulder-to-shoulder with messages from family and friends, bulletins from public agents, library notes and so on.

Therefore, your communication has to be well-thought-out. Always be including rather than pushy; especially in your subject field. In fact, the subject field is an element that newsletter authors often use just as much time to concoct as the actual content.

Without a good subject, many readers won’t even get to the content - and that would render your hard work pointless.

Tip: it’ll often work to just ask a question: “Do you want to hear my only word for success?” (as written by a communications consultant in her own newsletter), or, for the retailer of childrens clothing: “Have you heard that there is a circus in town?”.

Think about what will awaken your reader’s curiosity and make them react with the most important thing they can - a ‘click’.

Summing up:

  • Tell, tell, tell
  • Include every-day life
  • Choose your words carefully
  • Reuse good content
  • Remember the context

What next?

Read more articles on these subjects: Newsletter, Build, Tips, Content, Engagement, Tell, Storytelling, Loyalty


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About the author

Mia Meldgaard
Customer Care Manager

Versatile support agent, especially savvy at social media strategy and social sharing. Handles direct contact with users and communication strategies.

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