Newsletters work well as content products because they serve both audience and creator. You give your audience a reason to provide their contact information, limiting your reliance on faceless social media followers and fans. It also gives your audience the opportunity to be regularly informed or entertained by your content business.

Here are five things you should do when launching or updating your newsletter strategy:

1. Pick your success metric: Newsletters have two key metrics – open rate and click-through rate (CTR). Each one indicates a different aspect of your audience’s behavior. Pick the one that best relates to your goals for the newsletter.

If you use the newsletter to promote your content so readers will read, view, or listen to the full version, use the CTR as the primary metric.

If your newsletter is self-contained – readers don’t need to go anywhere else to get the rest of the story – then open rates should matter more.

Of course, you can do a hybrid of open rates and CTR; just make sure to distinguish between the two – have a primary and secondary.

2. Create a content calendar tracker: Solo creators can be tempted to forgo a formal editorial calendar because you already know what you’re doing. But a content calendar tracker lets you take in the big picture. For example, track your key topic categories and see if you spend too much time on one subject or too little on another. 

You can also add column(s) for your success metrics to see how well each issue’s content performs.

3. Add calls to action: As your subscribers evolve from passive readers to active fans, they want to know what to do next. By incorporating CTAs, you can guide them in your preferred direction. Should they click to read the rest of the story? Do you want them to register for an upcoming event? Would you like them to share the article on social media?

4. Repurpose the content: Don’t be done once you publish the newsletter. Repurpose that valuable content to expand your reach. For example, turn a newsletter entry into a blog article, add relevant keywords, include links to related content on your site (and other sites), and optimize the headline for search. Or you could convert the content into an audio format and make it a podcast episode. If you want to go bigger, use the newsletter as the foundation for a video script to record.

5. Involve your community: Create a referral rewards program to incentivize subscribers to recommend the newsletter to their friends. Ask subscribers to contribute ideas (and use their name with “h/t” to give them a public hat tip). Consider a guest author program – that content also can be repurposed.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.