By now—if you’ve been following along in The Email Marketing Strategy That Works— you’ve set the tools in place to build your subscriber base, attract subscribers, recruit subscribers and have become a pro at onboarding subscribers (whew, that was a lot of posts to get through. Bravo, you brilliant unicorn of email marketing strategy, you). This part is where you get to have fun and be creative, because it’s all about email content ideas.
Email Content Ideas FTW
Again, if you read the last post about onboarding subscribers, you’ll have a steady stream of ideas coming to you straight from your readers thanks to your fabulous feedback prompting email. While those lovely readers will help you choose which topics to explore next, you may be wondering how to approach them.
That’s where my handy dandy list of email content ideas comes in.
Below is a list of 20+ email content ideas proven to be loved by readers in any niche. Try them all, measure success and figure out which ones you and your subscribers love most.
The To-Do List – This is a step-by-step guide for tackling a simple (or not so simple) task that affects most of your readership.
The Checklist – This is where you provide your readers with a rubric to grade their success or proficiency in a specific topic or niche.
The Curated List – When all else fails, you can deliver a list comprised of content from other places and still serve your readership valable content. This is such a successful content strategy that there are several types of curated lists to choose from:
The Resource List – This may be made up of tutorials, tools and guides to help solve one specific problem.
This Week in [Topic] – This is a timely email comprised of the latest trending articles around a specific topic or current event.
The Best Books on [Topic] – This is a roundup/book review list to help readers find the best places to dig deeper on a specific topic.
The Best Blogs on [Topic] – Similar to the “best books on” format, this could link readers to the best blogs, vlogs or podcasts about a specific topic or challenge.
The Best Examples of [Topic] – This type of email is a great way to help define best practices in your niche or topic area and connect with the people who do it best. Usually they’ll be delighted to be chosen and may give you a quote or shout out on their website for being included.
The Best Tools for [Topic] – This is a great prompt made even better if you can find free tools for your readers to try.
The “Tip of the Iceberg” Email – This type of email gives a brief overview or one part of a blog post or other web resource that will go into more detail. It’s a great way to funnel more traffic to your site.
The “Hard Lesson Learned” Email – This is a chance to tell a personal story and reveal a more vulnerable side, while showing how you solved a problem. The audience will feel closer to you, root for you and celebrate your victory with you. It’s a great way to build loyalty with your readership.
The “Success Story” Email – You can use this type of email to share the story of one of your clients or colleagues and how they succeeded (with your help). The goal is to tell the story in a way that gives the subject most of the credit, but doesn’t ignore the fact that you helped them get there.
The Failure Story – Similar to the hard lesson learned, there are some things we have to give up on based on the way the world changes. This email may talk about why you stopped doing something, using something or believing something, why, and what you do/use/believe now. It should ultimately be an inspiring type of email, not a cynical one. What is failure anyway, except another lesson on your road to success?
“How-To” Email – One of the most successful email content ideas on the lists, a well-written tutorial email will always win with readers. Try to keep the content short and pare it down to quick lessons on how to accomplish something your audience would like to know about.
“Why” Email– This is a great way to tell a story with meaning. Something like “why I decided to become a designer” or “why mobile is taking over the web” can be a compelling read.
Prediction Email – Everyone loves these, especially before big events happening in your niche or in popular culture. Otherwise these are very popular around the new year.
Company/Personal Goals – This is a great way to be transparent and authentic to your readers and help them learn about your values. It also keeps you accountable.
Personal Stories – These are always great, especially if they tie back to your core business. For example, “How Being in a Band taught me to be a Better Web Designer” is a great example of a personal story being transformed into meaningful content (in this case, for a blog, but it also applies to email content).
Questions and Answers – When your feedback emails return questions from subscribers, it’s great to give them credit for the question and devote a newsletter to answering it. Even better is when you can get multiple experts in your field to all weigh in on the answers.
Interviews – While these need to be short to fit into an email, sitting down with a local influencer or expert to share their unique perspective on the topics you write about can make a great newsletter. Bonus points if they’re a client of yours!
Facts and Stats– These can be about your company, city, industry, topic (like mobile) or audience and can make for intriguing newsletter content. Just be sure to ask yourself, “what kind of facts and stats would my readers want to share?”
Case Studies – These can also link to longer case studies you’ve just published on your site, but should quickly cover what the problem was, what you did to fix it, and what the results were. Everyone loves to see the actions that back up your words.
Demos – By incorporating some video in your email, you can demo something you did or made that’s related to your niche. Even making these into embeddable gifs will make your email more dynamic and engaging for readers.
Comparisons and “Versus” Content – These can be fun and even a bit controversial, which is a great way to start a conversation with your readers. It’s good if you ask them for their opinion at the end of the post and invite them to chime in on social media.
I hope this helps to get your email content ideas flowing! And as a bonus, I’ll share a little secret with you: these all work just as well as blog post ideas!
The last thing to remember is to make sure you schedule your newsletter consistantly. I can’t stress enough how important consistency is because to me, delivering a newsletter is a lot like delivering a promise to your reader. It can build trust, credibility and loyalty in your readership and those aren’t a small thing.
While I hope you always experience constant success in your business, the loyalty of your readers will often see you through some rainy days and tougher times. Be sure to treat them as if they already have.