I asked Twitter what made great newsletters and I noticed that their answers all applied to content in general. Take a look at what they said!
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The ultimate content
As you read through these seven good content qualities, think about how you can begin to incorporate them into what you make! Some content doesn’t require all of these seven things at once depending on what it is, but it’s good to keep them in mind as you work through different pieces.
Here they are. Great content:
- Includes an original story. Just like anything in marketing, storytelling is essential. It’s what makes your content unique, interesting, and sometimes easier to relate to or understand. There’s never a bad time for a relevant story to supplement your idea.
- Has a great subject line or title. You could have a rockstar-worthy newsletter or blog post/article/etc, but if the subject line or title doesn’t draw anyone in, nobody will ever know. Learn more about creating the best email subject lines here.
- Offers value. If there is nothing that your reader’s walk away with after reading your content, they probably won’t return. So you always have to ask yourself how the audience will benefit. If your content is just packed with information about your services or products, your audience may not be so interested. They don’t always want to be sold to. Give them something else to walk away with. Something entertaining, educational, or inspiring.
- Has appropriate length. You’ve probably heard someone say, “That’s too long, nobody’s going to read this.” But what’s important to understand is that if a piece of content is good (social media post, blog post, newsletter, ebook, etc) then people will read it and enjoy it. Shorter doesn’t necessarily mean better, so if you pack your content with lots of value, you could get away with making it longer. For example, my newsletters are typically on the shorter side, but you can experiment with what works best for your brand/clients.
- Is actionable. Just like with most content, you want your reader to take action. So once someone reads yours, what do you want them to do next? Be sure to include a strong call to action, even if it’s something small like following you on social media or asking them to complete a relevant exercise.
- Is simple to comprehend. Just like with everything else in marketing, you want to keep it simple. It’s better to be simple than clever, and you want to present your ideas in a way that is digestible. Resist the temptation to always be clever. Simplicity is wonderful!
- Is engaging. If your content falls flat, you may not connect with your audience and see a lot of returning readers. Make sure you make your audience think about something differently, feel empowered, make them want to actually engage with you personally (bonus), or really take action. Think about when you read a great book—if you’re engaged, you are hanging on every word and clearly visualizing everything in your mind. You want the same from your newsletter readers.
Everything is content
The other day, I was talking to my sister about how she shares some of her fitness journey on Instagram. She told me about how she hasn’t really posted anything in a while because she’s kind of in a lull right now and doesn’t have anything worth sharing.
This, of course, prompted me to assure her that even during a lull, that’s content-worthy! People want to see relatable, real content. If they see someone express how they’re in a lull with their workouts, that adds a sense of trust with her audience that she won’t only share her high points, she’ll also document her lows. And maybe they’re in a lull, too! Now, my sister is super relatable to them.
No matter what, there is always something new my sister learned the day before, something she started thinking differently about, or something she could share about a conversation she had with someone.
Everything is content. Think about what you’ve learned recently, what you started thinking differently about, or a conversation you had with someone. Whatever you’re experiencing, it can most likely be turned into something worth sharing. Like stated above, if it:
…then it’s worth creating content around it because those three points all offer some type of value. Don’t overthink what to create.
The past and future
I encourage you to look back at content you’ve created in the past—whether that’s social media posts, blog posts, website copy, newsletters, etc.—and see if you’ve integrated any of these seven characteristics into anything. Imagine how you might revise some of your content if you were to go back and add some of these characteristics in.
Now, I’m not saying to go back and revise all past content based on this blog post. No, no. But I do think it’s important to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can improve compared to the work you’ve done in the past.