Section 3:

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 chapter you’ll find the answers to these questions, you’ll also learn the right processes to save time and you’ll discover the best tools to supercharge your company newsletter

How To Start A Company Newsletter
How To Start A Company Newsletter Guide Index

Guide Index

  1. 1Why Have A Company Newsletter With Examples
  2. 2 What Should Go In a Company Newsletter
  3. 3How To Start A Company Newsletter
  4. 4List Building Strategies. Grow & Manage Your Email List
  5. 5How To Create A Company Newsletter Template

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

Now that we have our content schedule and our content sorted, it’s time to get the email list setup and growing.

How To Start A Company Newsletter Guide Index

Guide Index

  1. 1Why Have A Company Newsletter With Examples
  2. 2 What Should Go In a Company Newsletter
  3. 3How To Start A Company Newsletter
  4. 4List Building Strategies. Grow & Manage Your Email List
  5. 5How To Create A Company Newsletter Template