I'm working on putting together the slides for a webinar on this topic right now, and am amazed by the number of places you can find content for your newsletter.
Some of it takes the form of free articles.
Some of it you pay for, and can request any kind of content you like.
One way or another, whatever your industry and the focus of your e-newsletter, there are plenty of places to get good content for every issue you send.
Why would you look outside your company e-newsletter content?
That's a reasonable question.
In fact, one can often find more than enough original content within your own company.
But the last time I did a webinar on the topic of e-newsletters, a lot of people attending said they simply didn't have time to create newsletter content. The resources just weren't being made available to them.
My first reaction to that is that someone up the ladder should make those resources available. Newsletters are too important to be created only "if we have time."
But in the case of many online marketing groups, the fact is they don't have the internal resources to generate quality e-newsletter content on a regular basis.
For these people, the outcome of my research into content availability online is good news indeed.
As I mentioned, there are numerous sites where you can sign up and use free articles that relate to your business. And there are several services that will ask you what you want and then find freelance writers to write the content.
But before you outsource too much, think about the content you have in-house...
You might be surprised by how much content you generate in-house without even realizing it.
Here are some examples:
- How about your customer service email correspondence? Someone asks a great question and your company sends back a useful reply. Why not include that as a Q&A in your e-newsletter?
- How about the new product or service announcements you receive internally? Or drafts of press releases? With a little editing, isn't there something there your readers would find interesting?
- Check out some of the content on your intranet. Maybe there is something there that could be edited for use in your e-newsletter.
- How about some of your market research? You use it internally... but some of it might also be very interesting to your subscribers.
In other words, write "Might our newsletter subscribers be interested in this?" on sticky notes and place them on the walls in front of your colleagues' desks.
Wherever you find your content, be sure to have a great editor
Whether you get free content externally, edit internal materials, or write your e-newsletter with completely original and new content... be sure you have a great editor.
A good e-newsletter editor will take a collection of raw content and bring it to life. It's a matter of deciding what to include, how to present it, determining the best sequence... and ensuring that the voice flows evenly from beginning to end.
That last point is essential, particularly if you are using content from external sources.
The last thing you want in your e-newsletter is a collection of three blocks of content, all with different writing styles and voices.
It's the editor's job to edit... to make sure the whole newsletter has a consistent tone and feel from beginning to end.
So even if you do outsource content creation, just make sure someone has the role of editor. That person can be inside your company, or a supplier from outside.
Regardless of where your content comes from, the skills of your editor will be the most important factor in determining the quality of your e-newsletter.