As a copywriter, it should be no surprise that I have dedicated a page to newsletters. And while I touched upon this under direct mail, I think it warrants its own page, given the amount of work I have done in this area.
I used to write and produce a number of printed newsletters back in the day. This typically involved developing an editorial calendar, conducting research and interviews, and then writing and editing a variety of well-crafted stories for the space allotted.
Among the printed work I have done, I wrote regular 4C customer newsletters for companies like S.C. Johnson Wax and Windmoeller & Hoelscher. I helped rework a glossy in-house magazine for Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, earning an award in the process. I also wrote and edited employee newsletters for Creamer Dickson Basford and Magnet Communications. And as a freelancer, subcontracted to William Morrison Communications, I regularly wrote articles for the Latino Health Institute’s newsletter.
But with the advent of internet, it has become so much easier and cheaper to produce email newsletters. In fact, as the Marketing Director at Asphalt Green, I began to ween the organization off of traditional direct mail in favor of email blasts and email newsletters.
As a freelancer, I have helped a number of real estate sales professionals do the same, using Mail Chimp and Constant Contact to create monthly email newsletters. And while I am proficient with both platforms, I prefer Mail Chimp over Constant Contact because the former allows me to share templates, in case the client wants to distribute it themselves (normally I handle the distribution and then provide a detailed report analyzing the results).
Email newsletters also require less writing than traditional print newsletters, due in part to space limitations, and often link to long-form content posted elsewhere online. In many cases, email newsletters are simply another form of content marketing. However, they still require developing an editorial calendar (in this case, a content calendar), conducting research to find the most appropriate content, and then writing some copy for the space allotted.
I ended up with a number of real estate clients after conducting a seminar on email newsletters for Douglas Elliman, the fourth largest residential real estate company nationwide. For these real estate newsletters, I research ideas and then write a little teaser copy for each piece of content we want to share, as well as identify some graphics (images, infographics, and even the occasional video) to include – all of which are linked back to the original content. I typically feature three to five items designed to be of interest to their target demographic – the kind of content that makes people think about where they live, and why – along with a featured property listing.
It is a soft sell, as opposed to filling inboxes with blatant sales pitches. And the results speak for themselves. The open and click rates I have been generating for these newsletters regularly exceed the industry averages by 47 and 83 percent, respectively, which is quite impressive.
In addition to email newsletters, blogs and podcasts are other means of conveying the kind of information that used to be shared in traditional print newsletters. And, of course, there’s also social media, with platforms like Medium providing a large audience for think pieces and other long-form content.