A central pillar of successful relationship marketing through email newsletters is delivering valuable content to your readers. One of the newsletter marketer's key jobs is to identify the kind of content that provides this value, and then to adapt and present it in a way that best fits newsletter objectives.

Coming up with the right content causes many marketers to furrow their collective brows as planning or delivery deadlines near. This is one of the reasons so many newsletters fall back on bland promotional material or free syndicated content, often to the detriment of subscriber numbers and response.

If you're facing the black pit of creativity, here are a few tasks you can undertake to identify and develop the kind of content that will bind (rather than blind) your customers or prospects to your email publication.

1. Profile your target readership

Use your existing information on the demographics of your (potential) readership, or define your own theoretical "target" reader(s) in as much detail as possible. Once you know who you're trying to reach, then you can extrapolate their likely needs, problems and interests, which you can then address with your content.

For a reader, valuable content doesn't have to have an intimate connection to your specific organization. So be generous in terms of content scope. Think of the broader context in which your particular organization operates when considering those needs, problems and interests.

Of course, it would be unwise to rely solely on intuition and interpretation, so...

2. Talk to customer service and sales staff

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Mark Brownlow, Ph.D., is a writer, traveler, and footbal (soccer) fan (www.lostopinions.com).