Here’s what to do if you struggle to find and create content for your e-newsletters:
Always keep the reader in mind. It helps to clearly define and describe your ideal reader. He/she is probably similar to your ideal client, so that step should be easy.
Determine what your ideal reader wants to know. You can probably estimate this pretty well, and you should also explore this with them. Ask. Ask in your newsletter, on your blog, through surveys, even on your website by creating an “ask” page whereby they can submit questions. You might also provide incentives to readers for submitting questions.
Remember to use your content antennae, scanning for these two criteria:
1. What do readers want to know?
2. What can your business do for them?
Next, you can turn to these resources to become inspired for content:
• Where is the pain?
• What current event ties in with readers’ problems?
• What client situation can you use as a case study?
• What unusual or unique story could benefit your readers?
• How do you differ from other competitors?
• What Web or blogs resources would your readers love to know about?
• Who can you interview to provide readers information from other experts?
• What personal experience or mistake can you turn into a valuable lesson for readers?
• Google Alerts can send you notification of web content in your field.
• You can set up blog feeds for all your keywords.
• Using a services such as HitTail.com on your blog will give you specific keywords that readers use to find you and suggest article topics using “long tail” search terms.
• Use a keyword tracking tool such as Overture to find out what terms people use most frequently when searching on the Web. Then create content using those specific keywords.
• Scan the online article directories for articles in your field. You could use OPC – other people’s content – as long as you keep their name and URL intact.
• Instead of using OPC, however, use articles as inspiration to write your own version on a topic.
• Professional organizations, trade shows, keynote speakers all provide targeted information in your field that your clients would love to know about.
• Use quotations. There are many books as well as online quotation directories.
• Use Amazon books to find out the hot topics that are popular in your field.
Whenever doing research on the Web, stay focused on your purpose: find information your readers can use, and tie it into how they can benefit from your products or services. Be careful not to get screen-sucked for hours. Always ask yourself, what’s in it for readers? Ask the “so what?” question to determine if information is merely interesting, or if it is useful.
Once you decide on a topic, the fun begins! Write to deliver the most pertinent information in the most concise manner: short, sweet and to the point. Create a compelling headline, use keywords, create an emotional connection with readers, inspire a response to your call to action.
When you consistently deliver valuable content in a way that inspires or connects, you will see your subscriber list grow, and better responsiveness to your call to action.