You don’t need to write a 1,000-word blog post to have content for your next email newsletter or automated email series. In fact, you don’t need to write anything at all.
You can forget about writer’s block and try one of these 21 creative ideas instead. They’re simple, easy, and proven to work — the pros use them all the time!
Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%, according to one study from MarTech Advisor. To put that in perspective, if you average 1,000 clicks each email, adding a video would increase to that 4,000.
If you create videos regularly, promote them in your emails. Fitness Expert Betty Rocker shares her new and popular workout videos with email marketing.
2. Podcast episodes
Have a podcast? Add it to your next email newsletter to increase downloads. Notice how Productivity Expert Michael Hyatt uses a captivating story to introduce his latest podcast episode in the email below.
Did you know that subscribers can actually play and listen to your podcast episode directly from an email? With AWeber’s Curate app, you can simply add your new episode to a newsletter, and the app will automatically generate the code for you.
You can see this feature in action below with the Would You Rather Newsletter, a weekly message that presents “Would you rather… ?” scenarios.
“The right quote can inspire people to change their ways,” said Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker.
People love inspiring or motivating quotes. We know, because we include a quote in many of our FWD: Thinking newsletters, and our readers love it. And many of the most successful newsletters mix quotes into their content as well, like financial newsletter Finimize with this quote from Pearl S. Buck.
Need quote inspiration? Check out BrainyQuote. It’s like an encyclopedia of quotes.
4. Webinars, tutorials, and workshops
What’s the #1 way to get people to register for your webinars? For us, it’s email. A single email can contribute hundreds, even thousands, of registrants.
Email is what other experts rely on too. Below, Joanna Wiebe, Founder of Copy Hackers, promotes her workshop with an email that explains the key takeaways subscribers will get.
5. Industry news or updates
You’re an expert in your industry, whether that’s fitness, writing, nutrition, travel, or business. Subscribers join your list to learn important information about your industry, like the latest news and updates.
For example, if you’re a fitness expert, this might be a brand-new meta-analysis or research study that further proves the science behind high intensity interval training.
Morning Brew, a newsletter that relays the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley, adds stock market updates to the top of their emails to keep subscribers up-to-date on the market.
6. Instagram posts
Your Instagram posts don’t need to stay on Instagram. Repurpose them in your next email newsletter. Your post will get more exposure, and you won’t need to hope and pray that Instagram’s algorithm will display it in your followers’ feeds.
Take a look at how Marketing Expert Gary Vaynerchuk links off to one of his popular Instagram posts in the email below.
Pro tip: You can use AWeber’s Curate app to drag Instagram posts (or any content!) into your next newsletter in seconds.
7. Facebook live videos
If you create Facebook live videos, promote them in your email newsletters.
More people will watch the video. (Facebook loves that.) And you can save time by reusing your social content for your email newsletter. (You love that.)
Fitness and productivity expert Chalene Johnson gets thousands of people to watch her Facebook live videos. Her secret? She promotes her videos on social and in her email newsletters.
The lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes. Which means your carefully-crafted Tweets gathers cobwebs after only 18 short minutes. What are the chances your followers will actually be on Twitter during that brief period? I wouldn’t bet your business on it.
Increase the lifespan of your great Twitter content by talking about it in your next email newsletter.
You can even include Tweets from other successful companies, like Brass Ring Daily — a newsletter for career, productivity, and writing advice — does below.
9. Social campaigns
Sharing social content isn’t the only way to use email to increase your social success. You can also encourage your subscribers to post about your brand on social. Ask them to share a testimonial on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Or, get them to post with a hashtag on a social platform, like travel company Topdeck does in this email.
10. Subscriber information
People love to see their name in lights. Mention subscribers in your newsletter if it’s their birthday or when they take a certain action.
The daily newsletter theSkimm has millions of subscribers. Yet, in every newsletter, they still call out their subscribers’ birthdays and highlight people who are doing great things.
Have beautiful or funny photos and an audience who would love to see them? Put them in your next newsletter.
Buzzfeed has a weekly newsletter about cats (Sorry, dog people. There’s not a dog newsletter . . . yet.). Readers send Buzzfeed pictures of their cats, and Buzzfeed adds them to the newsletter with a brief description.
12. Book recommendations
If you like to read, this tip is for you! Recommend the good books you’re reading to your subscribers. If the books are relevant to them, they’ll appreciate it. Plus, it’s an easy newsletter content idea for you.
The Brain Food Weekly Digest is a newsletter dedicated to helping you become a better version of yourself by sharing educational content. Shane Parrish, the creator of the newsletter, often shares what he’s currently reading.
13. Questions and answers
Do your subscribers ask you certain questions again and again? Answer one of those common questions in your next newsletter. This will increase engagement by making your newsletter interactive.
See how financial newsletter Finimize adds a question and answer to their email below.
14. Special offers or deals
If you have a limited-time or can’t-miss deal, add it your newsletter so subscribers don’t miss out.
Liberty Travel always includes vacation deals in their popular email newsletter.
Events, whether they’re virtual or at a physical location, take a lot of preparation and effort. Make the most of all that work and fill more seats by promoting your next event in an email newsletter.
Nomadic Matt, a successful travel blogger, promotes all of his Travel Meet-ups with email.
Calling all authors! This idea is for you. Your subscribers love to read. Share short stories, poems, or chapters from your book in your email newsletter. It’s the perfect content for your bookworm audience, and can help increase your book sales or downloads.
Publisher Penguin Random House sends a newsletter with one section from a short story inside. You have to read the next email to continue the story, which keeps subscribers coming back for more.
Great newsletters solve their audience’s problems and answer their questions. That’s why subscribers continue to open and read them.
While educational content is an excellent way to teach your audience, it doesn’t help them actually do the work to resolve their problems. Tools, on the other hand, make it easier for them to accomplish tasks.
For example, we created a tool called Email Libs to help our audience write their email content in a few minutes. They just answer a few simple questions about their business, and the tool generates email content.
If you know of a tool that could save your subscribers’ time, whether you created it or someone else did, link off to it in your newsletter.
In a recent TotalAnnarchy newsletter, MarketingProf’s Chief Content Officer Ann Handley dedicates an entire section to useful tools she used that week.
18. Plans or steps
If your subscribers would like to accomplish something and they’re not sure how to do it, add a plan or detailed steps to your newsletter to show them how.
Every week, Food blogger and founder of Skinnytaste Gina Homolka sends her subscribers a meal plan filled with healthy recipes. It makes her subscribers’ lives easier. Instead of spending hours planning their weekly meals, they can use Gina’s simple plan.
19. Trivia questions or riddles
Asking questions in your newsletter is a great way to increase engagement. Instead of simply reading your newsletter, your subscribers will interact with it.
Morning Brew often includes a trivia question in their newsletters. They give the answer at the bottom of the email so subscribers have to keep reading to see it.
The global market for online education reached $255 billion in 2017, and it’s not slowing down (according to World Economic Forum). Millions of people buy online courses in order to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
Dreaming of creating your own free course for email subscribers? You don’t need a course platform to do it. Just use email.
Build an automated email series with 1 or 2 days between emails. Then, each email in your series can be 1 lesson of your course. The entire lesson could be within the email or you could link off to a video or landing page that hosts the lesson.
Talia, conversion expert and Founder of GetUplift, promotes her email course as a lead magnet (a.k.a freebie) on her email sign up form. Once people sign up, she deliver the course lessons through a daily message.
21. Blog posts or articles
“Wait a minute … At the beginning, you said I didn’t need to write a blog post!”
You don’t. Include great blog posts and articles created by other companies in your next newsletter. This is called curation, and it saves people time from finding great content for themselves.
Dave Pell writes NextDraft, a successful newsletter with thousands of subscribers. He fills each email with educational blog posts and articles.
The surprising part? The majority of the articles aren’t written by Pell. They’re written by other people. But they’re still valuable to his subscribers, which is why they keep reading.
Put these ideas to the test.
These 21 ideas prove that you can add any kind of content to your next newsletter, as long as it’s valuable to your subscribers.
Now that your creative juices are flowing, it’s time to try these ideas out! Create a free AWeber account today and get started.
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