How to Make Sure That Your Email List Reads Your Stuff

We’re all in constant information overload. Make sure the content that you’re sending out cuts through the cluttered inbox.

Write and Prosper | How to make sure that your email list reads your stuff

If you’re a freelance writer, and you’re working hard to build an email list to market your services to, you may have had moments of doubt. What am I supposed to send to my list? What kind of information would actually be valuable to them? Am I just spamming people? Have I crossed the line from being “top of mind” to being annoying?

These are not idle thoughts of neurotic minds. These are thoughts that have merit in today’s environment, where we’re all drowning in content, and useful information is often hard to find in the tidal wave. So how do we make sure we don’t add to this tidal wave, but instead stand out for the usefulness of what we share?

Here are five tips for sending better content to your list.

1.    Consider curating helpful information from other sources, not just writing your own.

If you can be the person who sends around a list of interesting conferences, or recent regulatory updates or new drug approvals, you’d be doing two things: (1) you’d be helping your list keep on top of what they need to know in a streamlined, easy fashion; and (2) you’d show yourself to be keeping up with developments in your field. Both are worthy things to do.

2.    Try to elicit feedback from (and build rapport with) your list.

Good content writers have an arsenal of tricks, but none is as important as the ability to increase engagement with their audience. If you can develop rapport with people on your list, it’ll both increase the perceived value of your content to them, and it’ll give you insight into what your audience cares about and how it thinks. That’s huge in terms of crafting spot-on future content!

How do you elicit feedback and build rapport? One simple way is to ask questions. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get responses right away – they will start trickling in with time.

3.    Before sending something to your list, think about how that material may land with your readers, and aim for material that cannot be misinterpreted as a veiled dig at the recipient.

You may find an article titled “Six Ways To Be Less Annoying At Work” fascinating. And it may have really, really good tips about being a better human that all of us could use.

But sending it to your list, where each email is individualized with the recipient’s name, can come across as saying something about that recipient. And you don’t want that.

If you do want to share this kind of article, post it to your social media feeds, thereby making it clear that you’re simply sharing something you found interesting.

4.    Don’t share dry technical tips about your trade.

Would a dentist send emails to patients with detailed pros and cons of various filler resins?  I sure hope not!

Even if the technical tips can be applied by the reader, they’re dry and generally not interesting to anyone but you and your professional peers.

So DON’T send a checklist of grammar rules if you’re trying to be hired as a freelance writer. DO share stories about how the wrong grammar can have serious consequences, such as making a hiring manager lose confidence in a potential candidate. Or share horror stories about how an Oxford comma resulted in a huge contract dispute.

5.    You don’t have to send an email every week.

Even if you promised yourself that you would diligently write an email to your list and not miss a single one. If you don’t have anything useful to share, it’s better to skip a week than to send meaningless fluff. The majority of your list isn’t going to notice if you skipped a week, but it will notice – and will be annoyed by – receiving a placeholder email with filler content.

And a bonus tip:

Spend time thinking about your subject line.

A good subject line teases the content of the email, promising an interesting read. And it appeals to emotions.

Some bloggers spend 20% on their time on the substance of their posts and 80% on their titles. This may be extreme, but it points out just how important the right title/subject line is. After all, if the goal is for people to pay attention to your content, it’s imperative that they open the damned email!

If you haven't done so already, be sure to grab your copy of the free guide, 5 Simple Writing Tweaks to Create Sticky Clients, by entering your info below. These are simple strategies that I use daily when I’m working on projects.

Maria Granovsky