Tips for Creating a Successful Newsletter

August 17, 2017

Creating a newsletter was one of those things that sat on my to-do list forever. Because it seemed like such a daunting task, it was often put on the backburner while I instead focused on things like marketing my brand through social media, new content creation, etc. Then one day, I decided to stop pushing it to the bottom of my list and to just do it.

I had heard it a million times – branded newsletters can drive major traffic to your blog – and that’s great, but that didn’t even begin to tell me the first thing about creating one.

So overwhelmed AF, I set out researching everything there was to know – and you want to know what? After I was done, I was still overwhelmed AF; which is why I want to walk you through the most important parts of creating a successful newsletter in this post.


Do You Even Need
A Newsletter?

This is such an important question to ask yourself before you dive in, and it all starts with your audience. As a blogger, it’s important to look at successful newsletters that audiences similar to yours subscribe to.

Ask yourself,

What’s in them?

Would my audience be interested in this type of content too?

Does this type of successful content from other producers in my industry align with my personal brand?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then a newsletter is likely to benefit your brand!

Where to Start

There are a number of different email marketing platforms out there for you to use, two of the most popular being Mailchimp and ConvertKit.

Here’s why I recommend Mailchimp for newsletter newbies:

+ Cost / It’s free for up to 2,500 subscribers

+ Ease of use / You don’t need design experience to create something beautiful with pre-made templates and drag-and-drop features

+ Integration tools / Mailchimp is compatible with most platforms and makes finding new subscribers easy

+ Customization / Mailchimp supports outside templates along with customized code if you’re looking to create a design from scratch

Once you’ve decided on your platform, it’s time to think about your newsletter content.

Save the Pretty Stuff for Last
and Focus on Content First

I will be the first one to tell you how important aesthetic is when it comes to your newsletter. However, it’s more important to put your design on hold until you develop a solid content strategy.

What can you give your audience that you don’t already provide to them on your blog?

You have to cater to that exclusivity factor as a part of your marketing strategy – here’s what you’re getting out of this newsletter if you sign up that non-subscribers aren’t, and here’s why it’s awesome.

How will you organize your content within your newsletter?

Just as you house categories on your blog, think along the lines of categories in the form of content blocks within your newsletter.

How are you going to block out your content so that it makes sense, is easy to understand, flows well, and is not ‘too much’ all at once for your readers?

If you’re creating a general newsletter for your blog, focus on creating 2-4 sections of your newsletter that will become a familiar format for your subscribers.

For example, my blog newsletter follows the following format:

  1. Informal update / I use this section to share what’s going on in my life with my readers, whether it’s weekend plans, an upcoming event or something new coming to the blog. This is a great place to connect with your readers as your exclusive subscribers, and share more personal tidbits with them.
  2. New Beauty Favorites / I've found that a lot of my subscribers are interested in products or clothing I'm using/wearing so I round up a few new favorites each month here
  3. Style Finds Under $100 / Again, relevant to the season and popular based what I've learned my readers like to see!
  4. Trend I'm Crushing OnThis section gives my subscribers a chance to stay updated on the latest trends and pieces I’m loving, and provides an easy way to shop with the click of a button (a great monetization tool, too!)
  5. The Latest on P&P / Many of my subscribers rely on my newsletters to see the latest posts, so I use this section to quickly highlight all of the posts published on P&P since the last newsletter.

Create an Eye-Catching, Interactive Design

What’s great about waiting until the end to tackle your design process is that if you’ve taken the time to block out your content, you’ve already unknowingly done some of your design work.

When it comes to aesthetic, it’s okay to not know what you want. Now is the time to view other newsletters from bloggers within your niche, and make a list of the design elements you love most about each of them. Here's a recent example of my custom template I created.

If you get to this point and find that you know you want something pretty and cohesive, but also don’t want to spend the time creating your own template from scratch, Etsy is a great place to find the perfect newsletter template!

Keep in mind that you want your design to be eye-catching yet clean, with an easy-to-navigate format and multiple CTA (call to action) elements.

Wait, But Who's Going to
Read My Newsletter?

So now that you’ve put hours of work into creating your newsletter, it’s time to put more hours in to building a list of subscribers. Yay!

But wait – building subscribers doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems.

Here are a list of ways I recommend marketing your newsletter once your content and design is done:

  • Create a pop-up on your blog where readers can subscribe to your newsletter. (I love Pop-Up Ally)
  • In addition, create a static widget on your blog, either on your header, footer or sidebar above the fold where readers can subscribe to your newsletter
  • Create a subscribe tab as a part of your main menu. Remember, it’s all about getting the word out!
  • Market your newsletter EVERYWHERE! Plan dedicated posts on your socials (and blog) directing your readers to sign up
creating a successful newsletter

So – where are you at in your newsletter creation process? Is it still sitting at the bottom of your to-do list or have you started the process but never finished? Let me know how I can help in the comments below! In the mean time, make sure you're signed up for my Blogger-only newsletters (check off blogging tips) and the Blogging Resource Library!

What topic do you want to see next?
Let me know in the comments below!

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39 responses to “Tips for Creating a Successful Newsletter”

  1. Tessa Machen says:

    As always, you killed it. How many times do you send out a newsletter in a week? Much love and support from Charlotte – Tessa http://www.tessamachen.com

    • Danielle says:

      Ah, thanks girlfriend! I send my blogger newsletter typically 1x per month, and my general newsletter to subscribers bi-monthly (every other Tuesday). I tried weekly and found that it wasn’t relevant for my audience, so this is what works best for me! 🙂

  2. Needed this. Thank you very much.

  3. Emily says:

    I just read this post and created my newsletter! Thanks so much for all the helpful tips 🙂

    -Emily
    http://norepeatsorhesitations.com

  4. Thank you! This is so helpful. I’m only just starting out with a lifestyle/fashion blog and I think this is too early for me but I’m bookmarking it to come back and re-read when I’m ready. I appreciate you sharing your experience.
    http://lunchwithagirlfriend.com

    • Danielle says:

      Congrats on launching your blog Sapna! The great part is that this will always be there for when you’re ready! Feel free to reach out with any Q’s once you dive in 🙂

  5. Sarah Lennon says:

    I jut bookmarked this! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Annette says:

    These are great tips. I think a newsletter is such an important extension of the blog.

  7. This is incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for sharing your strategy! Question: How often do you send out your newsletter?

  8. This is so helpful! I’ve been wanting to start a newsletter but did not know where to begin. Thank you so much for sharing.

    XO,Tay
    http://www.taylermalott.com`

  9. Good thing I do all of those steps. Great article!

    xoxo,
    Emma
    http://petitemaisonoffashion.blogspot.com/

  10. love this! i think we as bloggers all feel the need to have a newsletter, but sometimes it’s just not necessary (like for me, though i do send them out for my e-commerce children’s shoppe)… this was a GREAT post my dear!!!

  11. Makayla M. says:

    I needed this post!! I’ve been wanting to create one for a while but had noo idea on where to even start. Definitely will be coming back here when I decided to create one!! xo

  12. Taylor says:

    I have been wanting to start a email list forever, but I could never figure out what I wanted to do with it. Thanks for this@

  13. Nita says:

    Bookmarking this now!!! This was such a great post <3

  14. Kayla says:

    One of my to-do’s for this summer is to get my newsletter started. Definitely need to get on it!

  15. Shannon says:

    Such a great post! I definitely need to work on mine and get back to doing it on a regular basis! Thanks for the little push 🙂

    Shannon
    Clothes & Quotes

  16. Sarah K Tripp says:

    Such a great post! Bookmarking this for when I’m ready!

  17. Laura says:

    Such great tips!! Having a newsletter is so important and an easy way to reach your most engaged audience.

    xo, Laura
    http://www.have-need-want.com/blog

  18. Amy M Loochtan says:

    I really need to start doing a newsletter! Thanks for the motivation gf!

  19. This post is so helpful! I struggle with aspect of my business and I am left with some confidence after reading your tips!

    • Danielle says:

      It seems to always be something that gets pushed to the back burner, so you’re not alone Debbie! So glad to hear that though! 🙂

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