There aren’t many absolutes in being a web writer. You’re the boss, and you can write your own rules when it comes to your business. You set your work hours, your pricing, your office dress code…
Consider making it one of your rules that you absolutely must send a newsletter to clients and prospects on a regular basis.
Yes, it can be that important.
You probably became a web writer, at least in part, because you wanted the freedom of the writer’s life. That freedom to work for clients of your choice, to work when and where you want to, and on the projects you decide are a good fit for your skills and interest.
But the reality is this freedom comes with a price. The price is you also have to run your business. And that means you must do some marketing.
This is where your newsletter comes into play.
A newsletter is quite possibly the easiest marketing you’ll ever do. You’re simply keeping in touch with existing and past clients AND with people who have expressed interest in your services, even if they haven’t actually paid you money yet.
I can give you seven good reasons why you should send newsletters to your clients and prospects:
Sending a regular newsletter demonstrates your skill and ability to write. Showing is always better than telling. The added bonus is you always have current writing samples!
Sending a regular newsletter keeps you top of mind with ideas and reminders of how you can help. The content for your newsletter should be valuable, useful information related to the services you offer as a web writer.
For example, if you specialize in social media, you might share tips, strategies, updates on changes, and the newest best practices for using social media as a marketing channel. Of course, you’ll want to casually remind your reader you’re there to help if they need it. But remember, this should not be a sales pitch. It should be a genuine effort to be of service by providing value.
Sending a regular newsletter establishes your authority in your niche or field of expertise. It gives you somewhat similar benefits to writing a book. Who writes a book? An expert. Who publishes a regular newsletter? An expert. You!
Sending a regular newsletter keeps your blog/website updated with fresh content, which makes Google happy. This, in turn, rewards you with better search ranking. If you’re smart (and, of course, YOU are!), your newsletter won’t exist in a vacuum. Your content will take up permanent residence on your website.
Regular new content for your newsletter means regular new content for your website. Two for the price of one. Win-win!
Sending a regular newsletter builds your relationship with your clients and prospects. In your personal life, you probably stay in contact with the people who are most important to you. Right? The same applies in business.
When you get in the practice of sending newsletters to your clients and prospects, you’re showing them they’re important to you. It strengthens your relationship. It keeps them coming to you for the service you provide rather than straying off to another web writer.
Sending a regular newsletter shows you walk the walk and practice what you preach. This is especially true if you’re writing blog posts, articles, emails, or — ahem — newsletters for clients. If people are paying you to do it for them, shouldn’t you provide a good example of doing it for yourself?
As a mom, can I expect my teenager to make his bed every morning, if I don’t model that behavior by making mine? Can I expect him to show me care and respect, if I don’t let him see me show care for and respect to my parents?
Along with client testimonials and success stories, some of the strongest proof that you can deliver the goods is when you demonstrate by doing it in your own business.
Sending a regular newsletter trains your audience to open your emails. If your clients and prospects are used to receiving quality content from you in regular emails, they’ll be primed to open your email when you send a promo or special offer.
The simplest newsletter consists of a single piece of valuable content — a blog post, for example — delivered in an email.
If you’re publishing several blog posts a month, you could send a newsletter for each when you publish it (once a week, for example), then send a recap of all the new content in a monthly newsletter.
For this strategy, your monthly recap newsletter could have snippets of each blog post with links to your website for your reader to “Read more …” or a brief summary/description of the blog content with links back to your site.
As to what kind of content to create for your newsletter, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Case studies (clients’ or your own)
- Industry updates
- New certifications or specialties you’ve acquired
- Reviews of products, services or apps you use and love — that relate to your web-writing business
- Frequently asked questions
Develop a system for capturing content ideas as they come to you, so you’re never at a loss for something to write about. I have Evernote installed on every device I own — my phone, tablet, laptop — and I use it to make notes of my content ideas wherever I may be when I think of them. Borrow this idea from me and try it for yourself!
I believe when you’re learning something new, you should learn from an established expert. If you need more guidance on how to write your newsletter, check out AWAI’s Creating Email Newsletters for Professional Service Firms: A Step-by-Step Guide by Michael Katz. Your web-writing business IS a professional service firm, after all! And Michael has more than 15 years of successful experience with newsletters for you to learn from.
Newsletters aren’t new. They aren’t bright, shiny, or full of fun, new technology.
But they work. Still today… they work.
Yes, it’s a commitment to produce content on a regular basis and send it out there. But you’re a web writer. You’ve got this!
And after all, don’t you owe it to your writer’s life to invest the time and effort into building and maintaining an engaged audience?
I hope you’ll agree that the answer is a big ol’ HECK YES! Tell me and the rest of your fellow web writers you’ll commit to sending out a newsletter by simply typing YES in the comments below. Bonus points if you also tell us if you’ll send your newsletter out weekly or monthly.
Ready, set, GO!