A Beginner's Guide to Writing Newsletters

Newsletter speech bubble

Almost all savvy internet users receive newsletters in their inboxes. These newsletters are one of the most potent and powerful forms of marketing and promotion. That's why companies spend thousands of dollars on email lists and newsletters. Creating a big and healthy email list is only profitable if you know how to leverage it fully through good newsletters. And, that's what we're going to learn in this tutorial. Because, it is aimed at beginners, we'll touch on the main aspects without deep diving into details. If you've never created newsletters before, this is the springboard you need to get started. Here we go!

Newsletter speech bubble

Creating appealing newsletters requires both a working knowledge of the design aspect as well as the knowledge of writing persuasive copies for the target audience. We'll touch on both of them in this guide.

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And remember, it's a kind of rinse-and-repeat exercise. No matter how quickly you pick up the process and methodology, the actual application requires continuous refinement and improvement.

1. Identify Your Target Audience and Your Goals

This applies to almost every marketing effort. If you're not sure about your audience and the purpose of your newsletter, you're not going to get any visible results from it.

Identification of prospects can be a time-consuming task as it depends on variable factors which may change depending on your goals and your niche. But, some of these factors are generic and applicable to almost every type of newsletter.

A sketch of people

Let's take a quick look at these factors to get a fair idea about approaching the identification of the type of audience ideal for our newsletter. Almost all of these factors are more or less generic.

  • Interests: Quite naturally the interest of a prospect is of prime importance when it comes to creating content for the same. If you're not identifying the interests of your potential subscribers, your newsletter is going to be a flop even before it reaches them.
  • Geolocation: The geographical location is critical as helps in sending the newsletter at the right time. It helps in increasing the open rate and click-through rate of the newsletter. It also helps in assessing the general traits and interests of the users.
  • Age: If your newsletter is targeting a specific age group, identifying the same is of prime importance. Sending the newsletter to an age group other than what you're targeting can be disastrous.
  • Gender: It is possible that your newsletter is aimed at a specific gender. Naturally, your subscribers should be of that gender if you want to taste success through your newsletter. Thus, identifying gender is one of the important factors while launching a newsletter.
  • Purchasing power: Most newsletters either include advertisements from sponsors or the owner himself trying to market or sell different types of products. If that's the case with your newsletter, assessing the purchasing power of your subscribers is important. It'll help in generating more sales and leads through your newsletter.
  • Native language: Last but not least, if you're publishing a multilingual newsletter, segmenting your subscriber list on the basis of their language can do wonders. Subscribers receiving the newsletter in their native language are more likely to engage and interact with your content.

And now comes the question of how to identify these traits. In almost every case, you build your subscriber list through a web form embedded on a website. So, there should be some mechanism to identify the traits of the people signing up through this form.

There are several tools to do so. The best and simplest free tool available for marketers is our good old Google Analytics platform. If you're a startup or a company and need advanced analytics with loads of features, premium solutions like Amplitude and WebEngage can help.

2. Focus on Creating an Unambiguous and Alluring Subject Line

Whether you're creating a newsletter, a video, a blog post, or an editorial, titles and subject lines play a vital role in getting more engagement from the readers.

If we talk specifically about newsletters, their subject line is clearly visible when an email lands in the inbox even before the subscriber had opened it. This opens an opportunity for email marketers to take advantage of this feature.

Newsletter title

Create a highly persuasive and alluring subject line for your newsletter. Make sure it is unambiguous as well. In other words, the subject line should be such that raises the curiosity of the reader and invites him to click and open the newsletter.

Once you master the art of creating the right kind of subject lines for your newsletters, you'll experience higher open rates for the same.

3. Make the Content Concise as Well as Visually Appealing

Now that you know how to entice subscribers to open the newsletter, you must now work on the content of the newsletter. The majority of readers do not like reading long (boring) text paragraphs in newsletters.

In summary, your content should be both concise as well as visually appealing at the same time. How to achieve this as a newsletter offers you limited space to show your creativity and writing skills?

Visually appealing content

Divide your newsletters into multiple sections dedicating each one to a specific type of content. Write short summaries or paras for each piece of content with a link to the original page.

Similarly, do not forget to add relevant images in these sections. The addition of images makes the newsletter more engaging and appealing.

And last but not least is the design and layout of the newsletter. Use color theory while adding key elements to your newsletter. It'll increase the attention span of the reader by many folds.

Avoid creating 2-column newsletter layouts as the space is limited. Stick with a one-column version divided into multiple sections. And make sure to not overdo anything. Be minimalistic in design to avoid cluttering the available space.

4. Engage With Your Readers

No matter how good is your design and layout, subscribers will only stick with your newsletter (in the long run) when you personalize the copy and write in a conversational tone.

Engaging with your readers will enable you to make a strong connection with them. This in turn leads to building trust among your subscribers through a personalized copy of the text.


In fact, a newsletter author can pick some of the traits of a typical blog post to create a better version of the copy aimed at the subscribers. Here's how you can personalize the newsletter copy:

  • Write in the first person.
  • Use your own experiences.
  • Insert relatable or relevant (short) anecdotes—wherever possible.
  • Ask interesting questions to enhance their curiosity.

Remember, unless you do not converse with the subscribers, they're not going to engage with you and your newsletter content. It's an art that takes some time to learn and to get used it. But once you get it, the rewards are unimaginable.

5. Never Forget to Include a Call-to-Action

In the beginning, we mentioned identifying the goal of your newsletter. To fulfill that goal, you often need to persuade your subscribers to take a specific action. And, that's where a call-to-action button plays a big role.

But, such a button alone won't do wonders. You have to surround it with the USP of your offering. The subscriber should clearly know what are the advantages of your product/service when compared to the competitors.

Call-to-action in a newsletter

Pay special attention to the design of the call-to-action section. To get the best results, follow the best practices for making CTA buttons. If done correctly, you can witness skyrocketing sales and leads generated through your newsletter.

Make sure you do not overdo it. At most, include two call-to-action buttons in your newsletter. And, both of them should be at a reasonable distance from each other. In fact, the second one should be at the end of the newsletter content.

6. Make Your Newsletter Responsive (Device Optimization)

In this era of modern devices with different screen sizes, it's imperative to design a responsive newsletter. Failing to do so can result in poor conversions and a high unsubscribe rate.

Most newsletters render just fine on larger screens. The problem arises as you move toward smaller screen sizes. That's what your newsletter developer should target.

Make your newsletter responsive

As I mentioned in one of the previous sections, sticking to a one-column layout is one of the best ways to design a good newsletter. If you're designing a responsive email newsletter, make sure you're thoroughly testing it on real devices before sending it to your email list.

And, if you're using one of the popular email marketing services, you'll get a designer—baked—right into your account. It's the fastest and easiest way to come up with a complaint and responsive newsletter.

7. Track and Analyze Performance

Sending newsletters to an email list is just one side of the coin. On the other side, you need to track and analyze the performance. It's done for two primary reasons.

First, you need to track the sales or leads generated through your newsletter series. And secondly, you should use the analytics data to find the shortcomings or problem areas. The latter exercise helps in correcting and refining the newsletter to get more sales and leads.

Track and analyze newsletter performance

Some of the common KPIs to track for a newsletter are open rate and click rate. The health of an email list also plays a big role. If a good percentage of newsletter emails are not going through, it means, it's time to clean it up to get better results.

Tracking KPIs and improving newsletter performance is an ongoing exercise. You have to do it on a regular basis no matter how good results you're getting.

8. Be Consistent and Provide Useful Content

Your newsletter's design is great and you're observing steady growth in sales and leads. What next to take it to the next level? The two important aspect that needs your attention are consistency in delivering newsletters and how worthy is your content.

Consistency in churning out newsletters week after week keeps your subscribers content and hungry for more. To make it possible, go with a weekly newsletter instead of opting for a bi-weekly schedule.

Send newsletter every week

Now, when I say "Useful Content", what exactly does it mean? If your newsletter content addresses the most pressing problems, queries, and intrigue of the subscribers, and provides viable and practically-applicable solutions to those problems, it's definitely—useful content.

You can apply this definition to almost any type of marketing content. To summarize, killer content, when equipped with consistent delivery, skyrockets sales and leads. Apply it to your newsletter and see the difference.