The Ultimate Guide:

Company Newsletter

The company newsletter has one of the highest returns of any marketing tactic.

So why is it so under utilized?

Why do most companies get it so wrong?

For the majority of businesses the company newsletter is seen as a box ticking exercise.

So they get poor results and wonder whats the point.

Few realise that with just a few tweaks they could transform their company newsletter into one of the strongest marketing tactics they have.

In this guide you will learn everything that you need to know in order to start and run a company newsletter that gets you results.

Company Newsletter: The Ultimate Guide

Why Have A Company Newsletter?

Company newsletters are a very inexpensive and efficient marketing channel.
Typically, businesses experience 1 or more of these 6 benefits from having a successful company newsletter;

  • Strengthened relationships with customers
  • Creation of culture and personality around your business
  • Reengagement and upselling to existing clients
  • Establishing your position as a trusted source of knowledge within an industry
  • Growing your mailing list and building brand awareness
  • Selling more products or services

The benefits of newsletters are well publicised, with lots of stats and success strories, proving email as one of the most efficient and successful forms of marketing available.

Company Newsletter Statistic 1
Company Newsletter Statistic 2
Company Newsletter Statistic 3

For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. Campaign Monitor

72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. MarketingSherpa

Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. Monetate

Email subscribers are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources. QuickSprout

Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey

What Makes A Good Company Newsletter?

To create a “good” company newsletter you need to be clear on what good means. What would make it good for you and your business?

What Makes A Good Company Newsletter

Start by asking yourself, why do you want a company newsletter, what result are you trying to achieve by having one?
Don’t create a company newsletter just because you have heard some success stories and you want in on the action. That will just lead to a negative effect on your business as you spam your customers with content they don’t care about.
Like any marketing tactic you need to consider it properly and have a plan for it.

Once you understand the purpose of your company newsletter, think about how it fits alongside your other marketing efforts, and how you will use the newsletter to help you achieve the desired result.

Having a clear understanding of your business objectives and purpose for your newsletter is a great place to start. For it to be successful though, it needs to be “good” in the eyes of the customer.

Your Company Newsletter Should Start And End With Your Customers

Successful marketing, is all about 2 sided relationships. If you want customers to take action and help you to achieve your business objectives, then you need to give them value first.

To do this you need to understand and empathise with them. If you are not already, start talking to them regularly, bribe them with goods if you have to, but talk to them regularly.

The answer to what makes a good company newsletter for your customers lies within the conversations you have with them, and the questions you ask.

Company Newsletter Customers
  • Who are they, what do you need to know about them to help you make decisions?
  • What are their needs, goals and motivations?
  • Where do they hangout online?
  • What are they reading, viewing and listening too, why?
  • What makes content good or bad for them?
  • What problems do they have as part of their daily role?
  • Why are these a challenge and why are they important to them?
  • Where is the overlap with what you are offering as a business and what they need as customers?

Once you have spoken with ±10 customers you should start to see some clear trends and correlations between them. Pointing to possible segments into which you could group customers, based on their behaviours, needs and goals.

Once you have some clear segments, create some simple one slide customer personas based on the archetypes. The visual representations of these personas will help you empathise with your customers and make deicsions on what goes into your company newsletter and allow you to improve over time.
Including a picture of the persona will help you to humanise them, but remember, personas are a fictional archetyope of a subset of customers, they should not be one real customer.

Here are some excellent examples from Mailchimp, they are simple, emotive and help you to understand what might be important to each. It is also interesting to note that because their customers’ key behaviours, goals and needs coincide with their job titles, Mailchimp have choosen to segment them around that. Figure out what makes sense to you as to how you will split your segments.

Mailchimp Company Newsletter PersonasMailchimp Company Newsletter Personas

Once you understand the answers to these questions and have some clear customer segments or archetypes, finding the overlap between what’s important to your customers, and your business objectives becomes much easier. Then all you need to do is figure out a strategy for the company newsletter so that it will bridge this gap and help you acheive results.

Company Newsletter Examples

Let’s take a look at some company newsletter examples from businesses that have really understood their customers and their business objectives. Going on to create successful company newsletters.

WE are a charity that helps to empower people in impoverished countries to help themselves.

This company newsletter is a great example because of its simplicity. It is really made up of just 3 sections, keeping it clear and focused.

  1. 1

    Large emotive call to action, inspiring people to change the world and take action - which is obviously their core objective with this newsletter, to increase donations. Putting it large and upfront helps to make it clear.

  2. 2

    Company updates, they have 2 concise content pieces. First, on the work that WE has been doing, and the second on the company and their ethics. This tackles a core barrier in some peoples minds about how the money is spent. Both of these pieces strengthen the core call to action.

  3. 3

    Different ways to help. They have 3 clear call to action. Making it easy for people to take action and give in a way that suits them.

Enabling the reader to quickly know how to take action, in which ways, and easily find out more about the work WE do and overcoming some possible objections they might have.

WE Company Newsletter Example

Tookapic is a photo service that helps you to create a visual diary of your life, one picture a day. For them building a community is a key aspect of growing their business. Which shows in the company newsletter.

This is a great example of a company newsletter that is hitting its business objectives and providing the reader with value.

  1. 1

    The email is conversational to start, with a friendly opening blurb, giving it that community feel right away.

  2. 2

    This is followed by a big call to action prompting readers to check out each social network. They have done this in a really nice way, as it lets people know what to expect from each social network, and why each is different and worth visiting.

  3. 3

    Community engagement. Tookapic run a weekly survey to engage the community to choose a weekly theme. Including this in the company newsletter makes the community feel involved and celebrated.

  4. 4

    From the blog. Including blog content in the company newsletter is a great way of promoting it to readers who may not have visited the blog recently or have missed some of the key posts.

  5. 5

    Fostering ambassadors. Perks in exchange for social promotion, with clear share buttons is a great way to encourage your community and increase your reach.

Overall it’s clear they care about community, and make it easy for them to be involved and involve others. Using the customer newsletter to help them to grow their business in a positive way.

Tookapic Company Newsletter Example

LiveChat offers a live chat service for businesses. To allow them to chat with users live on their website and help them with questions and support.

Their customer base would obviously be interested in knowing the customer support performance of other businesses. Helping them to benchmark against other companies in the industry and hopefully learn how to improve.

Which is why this is a great example of using the company newsletter to support a wider marketing tactic. LiveChat have obviously spent a lot of time and effort creating a marketing report on the State Of Customer service. This company’s newsletters aim is to promote that content and increase sign ups to the main service.

  1. 1

    The first section has a a great set up, with a key statistic about the success of customer service, hinting to the value of having this report. The clear call to action makes getting your hands on the full report simple.

  2. 2

    The next section is used to highlight some of the other key stats from the report giving people a snippet of the benchmarks available. Again with another clear call to action to see the report.

  3. 3

    Check your customer satisfaction results, making the call to action personal and tapping into the desire to compare your performance against others. All whilst driving customers to the live chat product.

  4. 4

    A final section backs up the data with validation from other thought leaders in the industry. Showing that it is not just LiveChats’ opinion.

LiveChat have used this company newsletter to promote a larger marketing tactic - the downloadable report. At the same time they have managed to put a spotlight on the importance of customer support and have tapped into peoples’ desire to benchmark and compare. All whilst keeping their service front of mind with customers.

Livechat Company newsletter Example

How To Start A Company Newsletter

So you want a killer company newsletter that gets you results, but where do you start?

The company newsletter runs on content.

Where and how do you get enough of the good stuff?

What tools can you use to save hours every week?

How can you use your company newsletter to amplify and support other marketing efforts?

In this section you’ll find the answers to these questions and learn the right processes and tools to save time and supercharge your company newsletter

How To Start A Company Newsletter

How To Use The Company Newsletter To Support Other Marketing Efforts

To start a company newsletter we need to be clear on the goal of having one in the first place, and how each issue contributes to the overall business objective.

Let’s say we are a clothing company and the company newsletter goal is to sell more products, and the March edition’s objective is to sell the left over spring stock before the summer range arrives. When we know what the goal of each issue is, selecting the right content for it becomes easier.

This is where the content schedule comes in.
The company newsletter should compliment and support your other marketing tactics as a key distribution channel to customers. So a good place to start is by being clear on any events, promotions and other marketing that you have planned. This will help you to utilise the company newsletter and help you to start thinking about and planning any content that needs to be included in each issue.

I personally use Trello to create my content schedule. It makes creating tasks on a calendar simple, and I can add key information to each card to help with planning and creation.

Here is the key information I include in each card to help me with planning;

  • The objective of each issue
  • Any master marketing event that this edition is supporting
  • Ideas for the content that needs to be included
  • Link to the folder containing all of the relevant content
  • Link to the newsletter draft
Planning Company Newsletter In Trello

How To Find The Right Content For Your Company Newsletter

Once you’ve understood your customers and the kind of content that will resonate with them, there are lots of great sources available to help you discover the real gems.

There is a lot of content out there, so setting up the right processes to filter through sources and organise the content will stop you from wasting time and feeling overwhelmed.

Content Curation Tools & Sources

Content curation in newsletters has exploded in popularity in recent years, and for good reason.
Creating your own content is very challanging and time consuming, and what customers really care about is recieving valuable content, regardless of who has created it.
If you are seen to be the one curating and sharing relevant content, you’ll get the credit for providing value. Ultimately using content curation in your company newsletter is a very efficient way of engaging customers and providing them with value on a regular basis.

Using curated content in your company newsletter will ease up the pressure of having to create enough content yourself. Whilst also reinforcing your own messages with content from trusted sources.

To get the tools and processes right, first we need to understand the major steps in conten curation.
Think of it as a large funnel.

  • Inputting Relevant Sources
  • Filter Valuable Content
  • Organise To Make Actionable
  • Put Into Action
Company Newsletter Content Curation Tools & Sources

Valuable Content Curation Sources

This is the most important step in the funnel, good content in, good content out. Thankfully there are lots of great sources out there to help you get this right.

Saving and organising this content as you produce it will save you a lot of time down the line. Especially when you have your content schedule set up, as you will know what you need and when.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Company Content

Company Content

In the previous section we covered an extensive list of types of content that you can add into your company newsletter. Most of which is content that you can or are already creating as a company.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Your Team

Your Team

The people you work with are a great source of valuable content as they are reading relevant stuff daily. Set up a content channel on a team messenger app like Slack, and encourage people to post any interesting content they find to that channel.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Your Customers

Your Customers

Hopefully customer reasearch will reveal a number of popular sources. Customers themselves may also be creating and sharing content that you could add to your company newsletter.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Search

Search

Search is an obvious choice for finding good content. A few searches for “Top <target industry> blogs” or “Top <target industry> influencers” will pull up some great resources to start you off.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a fantastic tool that will help you to find the most popular content on any subject and key influencers by keyword.
A great place to start when looking for influential content and sources.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Twitter

Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter has a powerful advanced search that will let you hone in on influencers around any keyword or hashtag. You can even filter by location and language.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Twitter

Twitter Lists

Twitter feeds can become very noisy once you are following a decent number. Use Twitter lists to group sources into relevant lists so the stream is focused and relevant.

For best practices on using Twitter Lists check out this post.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Medium

Medium

Medium is a fantastic blogging platform and community. You can use the search and tags to find the most popular posts from the community. A great source for original, opinion based and intelligent content.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Pocket

Pocket

Sometimes you find great content whilst you are just browsing, or on your mobile. Pocket is the best “Save for later” app out there so you can save everything you find with a handy browser extension and mobile app.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Feedly

Feedly

Aside from being able to pull all of your sources into one place (more on that later), you can also bookmark content as you browse with Feedly. Add content from Chrome, Firefox and Safari and organise on your boards as you go.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Publicate

Publicate

The biggest bonus of using Publicate to save and organise your content is that your content and the newsletter editor are both in the same place.
Making it easy to create company newsletters from any content you have saved and organised.

All you need to do is drag the content from your library to a template whenever you want to create your company newsletter.

Processes & Tools For Filtering Out The Best Content

This is the most important step in the funnel, good content in, good content out. Thankfully there are lots of great sources out there to help you get this right.

Saving and organising this content as you produce it will save you a lot of time down the line. Especially when you have your content schedule set up, as you will know what you need and when.

RSS - Your Secret Filtering & Organisation Weapon

Once you have a big list of sources, you need to set up a process to filter out the good stuff. This is where RSS is your best friend.

RSS makes it possible to get the content from all of your sources into one place. Making it easy to filter through without having to jump from source to source. Saving you lots of time and effort.

There are several great RSS readers out there, but my first choice is Feedly. As we’ll see shortly, it really comes into its own when organising content.

Once you’ve chosen your RSS reader, you then need to set about adding all of the sources to it.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: RSS

Adding Blogs & Websites To RSS

Adding blogs and websites is pretty straight forward. Most website's RSS feeds can be found by adding a “/feed” to the end of the website's URL like so - www.thewebsite.com/feed.

Most RSS readers will also let you search for the website within the platform and add the feed directly.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Twitter

Adding Twitter Lists, Searches & Hashtags To RSS

It isn’t automatically possible to add these sources from Twitter to an RSS reader.
You can however use this free Twitter RSS Feed generator to convert any Twitter list, search or hashtag URL into an RSS feed. Which can then be added to your RSS reader so all of the Tweets and content can be read in one place.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Medium

Adding Medium Profiles, Publications & Custom Domains To RSS

Medium supports RSS feeds, for profiles, publications and custom domains, you can find out more here.

Therefore any sources you find on Medium can also be added to your RSS reader.

Company Newsletter Content Curation Source: Pocket

Adding Pocket Items To RSS

It is possible to send content from Pocket to Feedly with IFTTT and Zapier. Here’s a rule already set up in IFTTT. Feedly have also just added support to bookmark content directly, so this will get even easier.

Once set up, you only have 2 places to review content, Feedly (or other RSS reader) and Slack.

Filtering The Best Content

Having everything in one place will save you a ton of time, and if you choose a tool like Feedly, you will be able to filter and organise the content as it comes in, for when you need it.
YYou can even send it directly to your favourite marketing tools with the preset integrations.

Avoid The Pitfalls

The biggest pitfall is not setting up a routine to check and filter the content regularly. I would suggest scheduling a small amount of time each day, say 30 minutes, to visit your RSS reader to filter and organise.

The second pitfall is worrying about inbox zero. The number of pieces of content that will come into your reader will grow quickly, and if you're not able to check it every day don’t worry.

Stick to the allotted time that you have set aside and don’t stress about the ones you didn’t manage to read. If you have to get through everything you will quickly give up and miss out on the content you could have benefitted from.

Create Relevant Boards Or Folders

Which ever tool you are using to collect and organise your content, think about setting up appropriate folders or boards.
Boards in Feedly are a great way to keep your content organised for when you need it. The boards you create are completely up to you, but think about categories or topics that make sense and will help you manage your content.

Here are some ideas to get you started;

  • If you are segmenting your mailing list, think about creating boards or folders relevant to each segment
  • You could create boards or folders based on the themes of content that you are going to add to your company newsletter
  • By industry topic, so if your industry was marketing you might have a board or folder for email marketing, conversion rate optimisation, growth hacks, PPC etc

Have A Quality Checklist

Being clear from the start on what you consider to be quality content will make the process of finding great content much faster.
Here is the quality checklist that I use to review content against.

  • Actionable - Did I learn something of importance, did the content inspire me to take action
  • Relevant- Is the learning and value of this content relevant to our readers
  • High Value - Was the value I got from this content worth more than the time it took to read
  • Well formatted - Is the content easy to scan, read and is it visually appealing
  • Backed by data and research - lots of examples and stats

Pulling It All Together

Once I have added all my sources to the RSS reader (I use Feedly) I first scan the titles and descriptions of the content in the main feed.
As a first round of filtering, I add any that seem like they would be interesting to our readers to the ‘Read Later’ board.

Then I go through the Read Later board, opening each post, and scanning against the quality checklist mentioned above.
If the content ticks all of the boxes I then add it to the relevant category board. Ready and organised for when I need it.

I’ve connected Feedly to Publicate, which means that all of the content I add to my boards is automatically added to my content library in Publicate. Ready for me to just drag and drop into my newsletters. It saves me having to open each piece of content and manually add the link, title, descriptions and images to my newsletter. Instead its just drag and drop.

It is really worth spending the time to organise and filter content properly here. The higher quality and more relevant the content is to your readers, the more valuable your company newsletter will be to them. Ensuring that it is something that they actually want to recieve, and giving you more chance of reaching your business objectives.

Pulling It All Together For A Curated Company Newsletter

Key Points About Company Newsletters

  • Company newsletters are one of the most effective marketing channels for engaging customers
  • Start by being clear on the purpose and business objective of your company newsletter
  • Understand your customers in detail to ensure that your company newsletter is relevant and valuable
  • Create customer personas to aid you in making customer focused decisions and improvements
  • Match your business objectives with customer needs to create a newsletter that aligns with your other marketing activities
  • Curating content for your newsletter is a real time saver, and there are lots of tools to help you
  • Setting up the right process upfront for curating and organising your content will ensure you always have fresh content without lots of effort