3 Types Of Awesome Newsletters For Your WordPress Blog

Newspaper
This is a "newspaper". They used to be big, apparently. But we're talking about newsletters, which are kind of similar...

Okay guys. If you have been paying attention (even you there, at the back), we’re a fair way along the road in terms of putting together a totally kickass newsletter for your blog. We’ve talked about which service to use, how to set up your list, how to install forms, and how to boost your subscription rate. It seems rather sensible to me that we now talk about how to actually make your newsletter good.

Bizarrely, taking time to consider how you can make your newsletter the best it can possibly be is often neglected. You can get so caught up in installing fancy forms and marketing your list that you stop paying attention to the most important part – the content. After all, getting all of the subscribers in the world is pointless if they all unsubscribe after one message, isn’t it?

So let’s get straight on with it. There are three broad types of newsletter. Let’s look at each in turn.

1. The “Traditional” Newsletter

This type of newsletter is in the mold of “old media”  (you know – typewriters, loud cigar-chomping editors and funny hats).

Reporter's Hat
Kermit, rockin' the old fashioned reporter's garb.

With this type of newsletter, you send out periodical editions (say weekly, fortnightly or monthly). Once an edition has been sent out, it is resigned to the annals of history. With this type of newsletter, you can keep things very current. For instance, I used to run a weekly newsletter, in which I would remind my subscribers of my blog posts in that week, give a little update on my progress, and also round up “The Best of the Rest on the Web” (catchy, right?).

What are the advantages of this type of newsletter? Well, I’ve already mentioned one – it is very current. It is also a great way of getting your subscribers reengaged with your content on a regular basis. The main disadvantage is that it never ends – you will always have to produce new newsletters.

2. The Autoresponder

This is new-fangled stuff. Kermit wouldn’t be seen within a mile of an autoresponder. But it can also be a highly effective tool for your blog.

An autoresponder is essentially a series of emails that are sent out to subscribers at predetermined times. For instance, you might have a 10 email autoresponder series, with each email being sent 4 days after the next. So your series would last for 40 days.

Autoresponder
Give your keyboard a break. Use an autoresponder.

Every new subscriber gets sent through the same series of emails, regardless of when they sign up. With autoresponders, you can carefully craft your series of emails to give the subscriber exactly what they want (and in turn get them to give you what you want, if that’s how you’re playing it). They are standard fare with internet marketers.

Autoresponders are great for those who want to take their subscribers through some sort of series – perhaps a course (like, “How to be awesome at life in 10 easy steps”). In terms of time they are a useful tool, because you can set them and forget them. Once your series is up and running, the maintenance is low. You can of course choose to refine and edit your emails, or add to them, but it is not a necessity.

3. The Hybrid

In my opinion, this is the best type of newsletter to go with.

Liger
This is a Liger, which is a cross between a Tiger and a Lion - another great example of a hybrid. Who wants to give me the award for "most tenuous photo/content connection"?

Choose a topic for an autoresponder series, and get that up and running. And whenever you have something of real interest to inform your subscribers of, just fire them off a one-time email. In this way, you can get the best of both worlds. It also means that when your autoresponder series does end, you’re not just leaving your historic subscribers to rot (metaphorically speaking, of course!).

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which form of newsletter you want to go with. I have dabbled with all three and found my groove, but you might be dancing to a completely different tune. There is no “correct” way to keep in touch with your subscriber base. Just go with what is right for your blog.

Creative commons images courtesy of  muppetdanny, Shawn CampbellAli West and Dave Hitchborne