Creating An Effective Newsletter That Gets Read

I sign up for a lot of digital newsletters. Mostly because I anticipate one of these three benefits from being on that person or company’s list:

1. Receive details on sales and discounts

2. Be entertained or inspired

3. Learn something of value

Most people are like me and will gladly provide their name and email address for at least one of the above benefits.

I’ve written a lot about the reasons WHY an entrepreneur or business should be sending out regular newsletters and today’s article focuses on the 3rd reason provided above – creating information-based newsletters that your subscribers will love.

What To Keep In Mind for Your Newsletter

First, here’s a few tips on what you want to be thinking about as you compose your next email send out. You’ll want to:

– Offer something of value; be informative.

– Lose the sales-pitch, aim to educate instead. Aim for 90% educational content and 10% promotional. (The exception to this rule is if you are a B2C company that sells products where people are signing up to receive special discounts to subscribers.)

– Be personable; let people get to know, like and trust you.

– Be concise.

– Be consistent.

– Use a compelling subject and opening line.

– Adhere to Anti-Spam and CASL laws – ensure it’s easy for people to unsubscribe while using a trusted newsletter service provider.

– Use graphics, headings and white space to make the newsletter visually appealing and easy to read.

So before you dive into writing, it’s important to plan your newsletter to get optimal results.

Here is a summary of the components that should make up your value-driven newsletter:

7 Important Format Components to Include In Your Information-Based Newsletter

1. Begin With a Personal Note

In order to build a “know like and trust” factor with your readers, you want to give them some insight to who you are personally. I’m not saying you have to share what you ate for breakfast that morning (unless nutrition is your business!) but do share something casual or interesting that your readers would love to know more about.

If you feel uncomfortable with sharing personal information, then share what seminars you’ve taken, what books you’ve read, what hobby you’re into – anything so people make a connection that you are a human being just like them!

Include a photo pertaining to what you’re talking about if you can as this enhances the relationship building you want to achieve.

2. Have a Client Showcase/Raving Fans Section

This can be in the form of showcasing new clients or a way to post client testimonials who are your raving fans.

Make this section more than just a couple of sentences – you want this to be more a short case study that details the benefits of what you did for a client and why they are so happy with your product/service.

Have a photo of the client and link to their website so it becomes a win-win scenario and they get good exposure for writing you such a rave review.

3. Include a Feature Article

When it comes to providing something of value to your readers, this should the main feature of your newsletter.

There are a couple of ways to do this and I suggest you give them both a try and monitor your results:

1. Place the full article in the body of the newsletter OR

2. Have just the first couple of paragraphs of the article in the newsletter and then link to the full article that is also posted in your blog. This serves a couple of purposes:

1. Sends people back to your website and

2. The article posted in the blog is great for search engines and can also be posted to your social media sites at the same time.

Be sure to add a note at the bottom of your article inviting readers to repurpose it in their own newsletters or website and/or share it to their social media followers.

Give them a short paragraph that must accompany the repurposed article that provides a call to action for the reader to go to your site and get your free giveaway or sign up for your newsletter.

4. Add a Schedule of Where You Will Be

If you do presentations, talks, webinars, podcasts, demonstrations or anything where the public could come and see or hear you, add this section that details the dates of these events and what you’ll be doing.

If you are wanting to showcase yourself as an expert in your industry, include other events such as attending seminars, high-end coaching sessions or travel destinations.

5. Have a Promotional Section

Just because we don’t want the newsletter to be salesy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let our subscribers know what we have to offer.

In fact, I highly recommend adding such a section to your newsletter so you don’t become known as someone who ONLY provides valuable content and then when you DO want to promote something, they will leave in disgust! (Yes, I’ve learned this lesson myself.)

So create a section that is either image based or text and image that provides enough information to compel people to click and read more about your offer.

6. Provide Recommendations

This section can be used for you to recommend something you would find of value to your readers. This can be a book, a recipe, a service or product… whatever you wish!

If possible, you can use this opportunity to become an affiliate of the item you are promoting and gain commissions on any sales that might come of it.

7. End With Your Bio/Profile

Conclude your newsletter with a section at the bottom reminding your readers of who you are. Craft a concise “20 second elevator pitch” that speaks to the problems people have that you can solve for them.

Finish with a call to action by contacting you for a free ‘get acquainted’ session or whatever your free offer is.

Many clients shy away from writing a newsletter because they don’t know what to write about. Here’s a suggestion: think about a question a client asked you this week or think about an interesting idea you came across you want to share with your readers.

Start writing down what you want to say – don’t worry about the grammar, just get your thoughts onto paper. Once that hard part is done, then flush out the rest of your newsletter by following the formula above.

Writing a consistent newsletter does take commitment and I know it took me a few years before I got serious with my commitment of delivering valuable content to my readers every Tuesday.

Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit http://www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE “Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website’s Profitability – 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results”.

How To Find Free Blog Template Code

So long as you can use a search engine, it’s fairly easy to find a free blog template code to make your blog look good.

Remember that each blog service is different, so a WordPress template (or theme, as they prefer to call them) will take a lot of tweaking to make it work with a Blogger blog.

It’s a lot easier to narrow down your search to only return links to blog templates that match your particular blogging platform.

Of course, if you’re a wizard with HTML and have the spare time, you could design your own blog template code from scratch. But that’s not something that many people are comfortable with doing.

Most blogs come with a few standard blog templates. A standard WordPress installation will have a couple templates. Blogger has a larger number and you’re asked to choose your template in the new blog creation wizard.

Trouble is, these blog templates are so common it will look as though you haven’t put any effort into your blog if you use one of them.

Once you’ve typed in your search for your particular blog template, chances are that you’ll get hundreds of possible sites that you could choose from.

But even if you’ve used the word “free” in your search, that doesn’t mean that all (or even any!) of the templates you find on a particular site will actually be free for you to use. You see, sites know that you’re likely to be looking for free stuff and will construct their pages in such a way as to fool the search engines into showing their pages. A phrase like “we don’t offer free blog template code” will likely help the site to show up in a search for free templates.

So be careful – it’s easy to get hooked on a particular blog design and then suddenly find that when you click the “download” button you’re asked for money.

If the blog template code that you thought was free turns out to cost a few dollars, that may actually be a good thing. Since most fellow bloggers will be looking for true freebies, your blog could look more distinctive if you actually pay for a template. Ultimately, it’s your choice.

Find out more about how to find free blog template code and how to use your blog to best advantage. Learn the secrets of easy blogging.

The Popularity of Blogs As a Selling Tool

Blogging used to be seen as a social tool. It was a way of telling the world how you felt about things that mattered to you – and in a way that has never changed, even though many business owners have now cottoned on to the fact that blogging is a great way to attract new customers and visitors to their website.

The concept of blogging has clearly changed somewhat over the years, and while there are still people out there blogging about what matters to them, the format is now regularly bringing in fresh sales and new business to people who are players in the internet marketing field.

So why are blogs so popular in this way?

One of the main reasons is that online businesses have a tendency to be ‘faceless’. You cannot see the person or people behind that business and it can be all too easy to set up a bogus business that looks good on the outside but consists of nothing more than a way to fleece ordinary people of their cash.

Blogging helps to distinguish the honest traders from the bogus ones. It identifies those people who are passionate about their business and want to share the vast amounts of knowledge that they have on that subject.

This helps to establish trust between the business owner and their potential customers, and with links from their website to their blog they have an excellent chance of gaining new customers who don’t immediately buy something from the site, taking the time instead to explore first.

One of the advantages of having a blog as part of a website promotion drive is that blogs are generally viewed as being a ‘hands off’ form of promotion. They don’t directly try to sell to the customer in the same way that a website does; instead they strengthen the business by allowing the potential customer to find out more about that business and the person (or people) who runs it.

Most business bloggers do still have links from their blog back to their website, and they will also indulge in deep linking to pages within the site instead of constantly linking back to the home page all the time. This in turn helps the blog to build more backlinks to different areas of the website, building an even better chance of attracting more customers from the search engines, even though they won’t directly visit the blog at all.

It is perhaps ironic that a blog which is designed to help an online business develop and increase its profits doesn’t actually have to sell very hard at all. In the end it is all about adding depth and value to an online business – in effect the owner is taking the opportunity to show his or her potential clients that they know a great deal about what they do and can help their clients or customers accordingly.

In the end, a blog certainly can be a selling tool, but it is often one step removed from the selling process itself.

Web Profits specialises in search engine optimization, online marketing & web design, helping businesses generate profits from the Internet. For a free report on ‘The Secrets of Online Marketing for Offline Businesses’ visit Web Design.

Blogging with WordPress

If you have decided that you might like to have a go at blogging whether as a pastime or as a potential business, there are quite a few programs out there that you can use free of charge (which makes a change!).

WordPress is one of the many free available software programs that allow you to set up a blog relatively quickly.

I think that WordPress for me has been one of the easiest things to use. I am not in the least technically minded and I do struggle with that side of things but for my money – or lack of it, WordPress is pretty easy to at least get going in a fairly basic way.

The only things you need in the short term are an email address and a username; you get a password and an activation code and can start up practically immediately. You can install it either via your hosting company or by FTP, if you know what that is!

If you have a Cpanel & Fantastico through your hosting company, there will usually be a facility there, or just make a search of the help files and find a WordPress install option. Depending on the hosting company it might be a simple one click installation. Whatever you do, keep a note of your database name, username and password. I keep mine in a text file on my desktop, just in case. You will also need to decide where to install the blog; it can either be in your domain root or in a subdirectory. You will usually get good support from your hosting company if you find it a struggle.

You can also install it via an FTP program, by downloading it to your computer and then uploading it to your server at your hosting company, but you need to create a database and change the configuration. The WordPress support is pretty good for all of this.

So what are the other advantages of WordPress? There are loads of templates which can easily be changed, you can put your posts into categories, do spell check, post text, audio and video files and get pretty neat statistical data. There is a facility to keep your blog private which can be important to some people and you can autosave and schedule your posts, which you may find useful if you are on a roll and post a number of entries that you want to publish over a few days.

I have found that the support offered to users is pretty good, important for those of us who are technically challenged and there are a number of active forums in which you can get help pretty much every hour of the day.

If you want quick free software to get a blog up, I don’t think you will go far wrong with WordPress at least on a basic level. Like everything else, there can be a lot to learn to get some of the more advanced features but you can be up and running pretty quick!

Create a Blog Site You Can Be Proud Of

To create a blog site worthy enough to attract repeat visitors and develop a blog following you need to really pay attention to detail when picking out a template, adjusting the template’s layout to your taste, and if you hire someone else to create it, you need to have a clear picture of what you want so you can be able to express to them what you need in your custom-made blog design.

In the early days of blogging, you could easily create any blog site, throw it up on the web, and blog to your heart’s content; and if you did most of your search engine optimization right, you stood a good chance of being successful. These days, with so much competition, if you don’t create a blog site that looks modern you’ll have one big strike against you. It’s all about the readers’ experience when they visit your blog site so you can keep them coming back for more, faithfully!

I’m a big fan of WordPress and Google’s “Blogger” when it comes to creating a blog site; both are effective, straightforward, and very easy to use. If you’re using WordPress, try to use a separate hosting plan such as Hostgator or any other inexpensive host with similar bang for your money; hosting plans are really cheap, but good nowadays! Although WordPress.com has free hosting like Google’s “Blogger,” at this time they don’t allow you to use AdSense ads unless you sign up for their VIP program, which is full of great features but very expensive.

Google’s “Blogger” is another great blogging platform and it’s free! The one drawback to Blogger is the in-house templates are a little outdated so you need to find one of the many free blogger templates available on the web. Blogger does allow you to put AdSense ads so this is the choice for the majority of bloggers starting out on the internet.

Once you create a blog site using WordPress or Blogger there are three areas you might want to adjust to your liking; the header, the sidebar, and the footer. Many WordPress templates allow you to replace the header with your own design and Blogger makes changing the header very easy! You can insert Google ads in your sidebar through HTML, and it’s a great idea to look at the footers on the bottom of other websites to figure out which type you like.

The bottom line is this; if you create a blog site you can be proud of, it will help inspire you to keep blogging and moving forward to success!

Useful Tools & Resources For Bloggers

No doubt you want to know what it takes to be a successful blogger if you are planning on launching your own blog. Keep in mind that a blog is something that requires patience and care and regular updating in order to succeed. You want to always be adding fresh and unique content to your blog so that you can stay ahead of your competition.

In this article, I will provide some recommended useful blogging tools & resources you can use to stay ahead of your competition.

The first item on the list of recommended blogging tools & resources is WordPress which is actually the simplest blogging software to use to build your blog. You can download this software at WordPress’s website. Just as a side note, the search engines love blogs and they also love WordPress blogs so this is another reason you will do well to make this your blogging software of choice.

Another useful tool you may want to use is a keyword research tool known as Wordtracker. At the time of writing this they have a 7 Day Free trial and you can find this resource at Wordtracker’s website. You want to have a main keyword that your blog is targeting and Wordtracker is an excellent tool to use for your research on keywords. There are also many free keyword research tools so you may want to do a search for this if you are on a tight budget.

When you get your WordPress blog setup, one of the most useful things with WordPress is the amount of plugins that are available. Plugins add functionality to your blog. For example, there are plugins that will update Twitter every time you submit a post. There are others that allow you to put Social Bookmarking tools after your posts so that your readers can bookmark your posts which help you to get backlinks to your blog which drives further traffic to your blog.

Since you will want to stay abreast of what your competitors are doing another recommended blogging tool you can make use of is Google’s blog search. Using this tool you can find all of your competitors and check out their traffic generation methods. You can also see what marketing methods they are using to attract and retain their readers.

You should do a Google search and look up blog directories as there are many that you should submit your blog to. One of the most important is Technorati so, at the very least make sure you submit your blog to Technorati and ping them with every post you make.

I hope you take these recommendations and make use of them to build yourself a successful blog.

Christine Imamshah is a full-time internet marketer. Visit my blog at http://www.christineimamshah.com and be sure to leave a comment or two. For new and excellent Traffic training head on over to http://www.explosionalmarketing.com

A Medical Blog As a Resource

What is a medical blog?

A medical blog is a web log that discusses various medical topics and provides great resources for all physicians.

What should a medical blog consist of?

-discussions of various medical topics

-a forum for all physicians at any stage of training to contribute or ask questions

-help pre-med students decide if medicine is right for them

-choosing the right medical school and getting into it

-resources that help students cope with medical school

-help medical students choose the right residency

-education to help residents cope with the tough residency years

-planning for the job after residency and the skills needed

As I went on my long journey to become a physician, I did not feel that I had the proper guidance. It seemed every time I needed an answer, I had to search deep and wide to find it. Not many were honest about their experiences in medical school, residency, and as an attending. There was so much uncertainty. What do I study? How long should I study? What books are the best? How do you balance medicine and life? These and a ton of other questions were always on my mind. I had to actively go and seek out the answers and a lot of times there was no direction, no clear answer. That’s why I wish I had a medical blog that guided me through my medical education. I feel that everyone that goes through medicine needs some direction. A medical blog is a great solution to this problem.

Hope you all the best! Ronny Abraham, MD