PR Agency Buzz: Five Things You Must Know About Launching a Successful Agency Newsletter
So, you’ve decided to launch an agency newsletter. Now what? In a world where email blasts, corporate blogs and a myriad of social media channels are vying for digital eyeballs on a daily basis, an effective agency newsletter should carve out its own niche. Instead of attempting to cover every area of your agency’s expertise, conceive an editorial vision that establishes thought leadership in a specific area of interest. Consider strong practice areas or specialized services that have the potential for growth.
At Hunter PR, we focus each edition of The 511 e-newsletter on five things our audience of marketers and PR professionals needs to know about a particular facet of social & digital media. In that vein, here are the five things you need to know (and avoid!) when launching an agency newsletter:
1. Education earns trust.
Take a moment to think about the industry newsletters you enjoy. Why do you take the time to read them? It probably has something to do with adding value to the way you do your job. The same motivation should drive the content created for your audience. Prove your expertise by recalling industry trends and adding your viewpoint. Real-world brand examples help dimensionalize abstract concepts, but the best case study won’t always exist inside your office. Position your newsletter as a true news source by including successful campaigns from all around the industry.
2. Focus on your audience, not yourself.
It’s not about what you’ve done lately; it’s about what your current and prospective clients need to know. Coyne PR does a great job of this with its HotSheet, which aggregates the coolest PR campaigns of the week. It’s important to stay up to speed with other industry publications and avoid duplicating information that your audience has already seen. Treat your readers as collaborators and create ways for them to provide feedback and editorial suggestions. Include an email address or simple form in every issue and craft text that invites comments and suggestions. Consider enlisting a guest editor to help legitimize your newsletter’s thought leadership and reach untapped audiences.
3. Don’t just talk. Show and tell.
Whether your newsletter will focus on social media and PR, corporate communications or a completely unrelated topic, it will exist in the digital age. Even educational newsletters must create engaging experiences for readers, and line after line of copy won’t suffice. Utilize infographics and other data visualizations to illustrate powerful statistics, reposition narrative text in storyboard form or give in to everyone’s love of Internet memes to showcase your company’s humorous side. A healthy media mix is also important in maintaining reader interest. Each issue of our 511 features some form of multimedia, ranging from YouTube videos to interactive polls, which breathes new life into every edition.
4. Embrace electronic delivery and encourage social sharing.
There is still a time and place for a hard-copy newsletter; however, most successful newsletters rely at least partially on e-delivery of news. For starters, costs associated with e-distribution are much lower than conventional printing. The real value of e-delivery, though, lies in its innate share-ability. Treat your audience as content ambassadors, and ensure that every edition prominently features social media sharing buttons and a ‘forward to a friend’ email option. This is especially crucial early on, as you’re working to secure regular readership. If your target audience prefers mobile-ready news, consider creating mp3s to reach them while commuting. Peppercom does this well in its PepperTown Hall podcast series.
5. Master the art of the soft sell.
Every agency wants to grow its business, but there are right and wrong ways to approach these efforts. Lead with news your audience can use, relevant statistics and dynamic visuals. Let your work experience speak for itself in the form of case studies that support the larger topics being addressed. One of the best things about owned media is that content created and conversations born from it are attributed to the authoring institution. Even when leveraging content from other sources, you are the curator of a one-of-a-kind collection of information. As mentioned earlier, a trusted thought leader is more impressive than a fast-talking salesman.
To read or subscribe to Hunter PR’s The 511 newsletter, visit http://www.hunterpr.com/the511/
Michael J. Lamp is Hunter PR’s Social & Digital Media Strategist, where he has coupled his enthusiasm for all things social media with his commitment to worthwhile causes. He helped drive more than 15,000 click-throughs to an online video about preserving America’s beaches and worked on a campaign to spread national awareness about climate change and its affect on mountain communities. As an entertainment blogger in his spare time, covering pop culture mainstays like American Idol and Top Chef, Michael is quite literally always plugged in and forever on the hunt for what’s coming next. Follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/mjlamp) or LinkedIn.
Published: June 27, 2012 By: