Is it worth you producing a newsletter as a freelance writer?
The web is awash with internet marketing advice saying that e-mail capture and a newsletter is a most effective means of communicating with customers. And some reputable newsletter producers like Cooperpress and Next Draft have created cracking businesses from their production.
Newsletters demonstrate copy writing and editorial skills in a way that little else can, and can be targeted towards a most specific client group – so your newsletter could be aimed at marketing directors of law or finance firms perhaps, or editors of environmental websites or women’s issues thought leaders on twitter, maybe. Your main aim needs to be to write extremely helpful content for your particular target client, and to build a relationship with them through this content.
If you’re a one-person freelance writing business, then this doesn’t need to be scaled to the grandiose. Once a month may suffice and you’re after a small number of meaningful relationships, rather than bombarding people with newsletters and content they have no interest in. You’re digging deep rather than sprawling wide…
CONTENT, CREATION AND COST
Your newsletter does not need a complex structure. You could start with your subject FAQs and concerns and create steers for these – and I’d suggest your opening is as much about your audience as you can possibly make it, only leading into what you’ve been up to, later in. You’ll need to decide how much original content to make and the extent to which you curate other people’s writing.
What you’re reading here currently is one structure for a newsletter: one fairly dense post, link and information-wise, followed by a few helpful links I’ve curated over the past month. In other newsletters I use a three-section structure: what’s helpful how-to info, what’s quirky and new, and what is locally relevant.
Your newsletter does not need to cost much to produce, apart from your valuable time and thinking of course… For the most modest update, you may want to look at Tiny Letter run by MailChimp, or its fuller offer Mailchimp, which has lots of help on its site and is free for up to 2000 subscribers. I know writers who are loyal to Madmimi and for cost effectiveness on a large scale Your Mailing List Provider has fans.
If you use software like MailChimp, it gives you terrific insights into what your clients are interested in, like this:
If you’re floundering over where to put your time and effort into writing online to showcase your work, a newsletter linked to your blog or portfolio and aimed at the niche you wish to serve seems to me to be the most efficient option. You can store your newsletters together, like I’ve done here, to show prospective clients.
And if you celebrate it, Easter is coming soon, the time of new beginnings… so it’s a perfect chance to get cracking.
Here are this month’s three useful links:
Freelance Writing Portfolio: Creating A Freelance Writing Portfolio From Scratch
Business Of Writing: Books About The Business Of Freelance Writing
How To Write (and the writer Chris Brecheen, has my favourite writer’s facebook page ):
And three newsletters especially useful to writers, I reckon: