How to Generate Content for Your Newsletter

You’ve been collecting email addresses from your answering service clients and prospects for months. You know you need to do something with this information or it’s just a wasted effort. You know you should have an email newsletter. Making this decision is the easy part. And you know how to send a newsletter. But finding content for it is much harder. Don’t do what too many people do when they launch their newsletter. They spend months writing the first one and work hard to generate a killer issue. They send it and receive positive feedback. Then they need to repeat their feat—and they can’t. They don’t have enough time to do it again and they struggle to find enough content. Their grand newsletter lasts for one issue and then dies. Don’t suffer this same outcome. Instead, start small with the goal of sustainability. Here’s how: Have a Modest Goal: The adage that “less is more” fits email newsletters perfectly. People skip long ones or put off reading them for later when they have time—which never happens. Plan two or three sections for each newsletter. Pick themes or topics you can repeat issue after issue. In doing this, provide value and don’t promote. Seek Contributors: A common mistake is to assign writing to department heads. If each manager produces one piece for the newsletter, you’ll be all set, or so the thinking goes. If your managers are writers, this makes for a great strategy. However, most department leaders lack polished writing skills; their strengths lie in other areas. Instead ask your other employees if any of them wants to submit work. You likely have some budding writers working for you who would jump at this opportunity. Solicit Suggestions: While not everyone is a writer, anyone can offer ideas for topics or share ideas. While not every suggestion is useable, some will provide fodder for a great piece. However, don’t just ask for ideas. Set expectations. Ask: “What do you think our clients would like to read? or “If your friends read our newsletter, what would they enjoy learning about?” This will point staff toward generating actionable ideas. Maintain an Idea File: Always look for inspiration. Document each thought as soon as you discover it. Once you train yourself to look for ideas, it’s amazing what you will find. Often the basis for future content hits writers while working on their piece for the current issue. Also record the suggestions from your employees, including the ones you don’t use. Hire a Writer: Hiring someone to produce your entire newsletter may not be cost-effective. However, you could tap a freelance writer or journalist to produce one piece per issue or to help out, as needed, when writer’s block hits or a time crunch makes writing impossible. By approaching your first newsletter with careful intention, you will produce something people like to read and you can sustain. Then you can begin to enjoy the benefits of having an email newsletter.   Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at or call 800-901-7706. Peter DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.