Developing a Company Newsletter Voice and Style
A company I worked for wanted to start a weekly email newsletter to engage clients and customers. Together with invested stakeholders, I developed the content strategy and initially created much of the content for the newsletter.
The weekly newsletter averaged a 30-40% open rate with very little dropoff over the first year of its existence.
Some of my favorite newsletters to date:
- Potential clients curious about how the company works.
- Company leaders interested in improving business culture in tech.
- Individuals in the business community interested in the agency workspace.
I developed the content strategy for this project. In its first year, I wrote about 75% of the content for this project.
The research effort took place over three stages.
I. Persona Development
First I developed a persona for the agency. This discovery process helped establish how the newsletter would sound and what topics were important for the newsletter to cover.
II. Competitive Analysis
I analyzed several existing email newsletters from companies in similar spaces.
I used this analysis to develop a structure for the email newsletter. I decided on
- A text-based structure, like a letter that arrives in your inbox.
- Regular links in topical areas relevant to the agency’s persona.
- A regular self-improvement section to nod to the need for mindfulness in business and life.
III. Style Guide
After conducting research, the strategy we decided on was to have the newsletter feel like a small weekly conversation from the agency that subscribers are “in” on. We also wanted subscribers to know that the agency was interested in their growth as well as its own. With input from other stakeholders, I created the following style guide:
- Written in a letter-type format, with a salutation of “Hi Friends” or something similar.
- Signed by the author for that week.
- Often includes an anecdote from a workday at the agency, or a story about something that happened at the agency. This anecdote often broadens out to discuss agency culture, management culture, or tech culture.
- Displays the humanity and fallibility of the agency.
- Is positive without bragging.
- Often discusses Hard Things or situations that helped the agency grow.
- Partners with a local business development consultant to include weekly journaling prompts, encouraging reflection and growth.
I implemented a weekly content strategy process that involved sessions to brainstorm new topics, a writing session, an editing session, and a review process to catch any issues and get feedback.
My writing partner and I also crafted evergreen newsletters and documented a replicable publishing process to handle unexpected absences.