Article first published in June 2015, updated June 2019
Email marketing is the most effective channel available to marketers today.
It can help keep your business top of mind, build thought leadership around your brand, and generate sales.
However, it also requires content, and content can be time-consuming to create.
So how can marketers like you send engaging email newsletters without spending hours creating content?
The answer is creating a curated newsletter.
In this post, we’ll show you what a curated email newsletter is and walk you through the process of setting up a curated newsletter that drives results for your business. However, before we dive into curated newsletters, let’s first touch on the basics of newsletters, in general.
How do I start an email newsletter for a business?
Before a business dives into creating curated newsletters, they must have a solid understanding of what an email newsletter is. An email newsletter is an email communication that’s sent out to inform your subscribers of various topics, such as:
- Latest news
- Product updates/launches
- Important dates
These emails can cover general topics and user-generated topics that are sent out on a set schedule, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
Starting an email newsletter really isn’t all that difficult, especially if you’ve already built an email user list. From there, you’ll simply need to send out email opt-ins to your subscribers to ensure they want to receive your marketing materials, and, once they do, you can start sending to them based on your predetermined schedule.
Source: Really Good Emails
How do you make a good newsletter?
What makes a good newsletter really comes down to the brand, industry, and your target audience. The reason for this is that everyone wants something a little bit different, which is why they choose specific businesses to follow.
However, there are several ways to help your email marketing team put together an email newsletter that’ll perform well.
- Don’t try to sell. Mentioning a product is one thing, and you will during product launches/updates, but it needs to be about the reader, not you selling them something.
- Keep it short and simple. It needs to be informative, while also encouraging to readers to click to learn more.
- Make sure it’s compelling. Again, you should be aiming for a click-through.
- Make it easy to opt out. It’s vitally important make opting out simple for those who want to stop receiving your communications.
What is a curated newsletter?
First of all, it’s essential to understand what it means to curate.
Curate: To pull together, sift through, and select for presentation.
Therefore, a curated newsletter is one that aggregates interesting and/or popular content around a specific subject. Curated newsletters find the best of the best material and then pull it together in one place.
Oftentimes, along with links to the contents’ external locations, the newsletter will offer a brief comment or summary about the pieces as well.
Here’s an example from Campaign Monitor customer SitePoint:
The newsletter curates the best web design and development content from across the web and delivers it daily to subscribers in a simple, convenient format.
Why create a curated newsletter?
There are many reasons people take the curated newsletter approach. For many, it helps build their businesses by:
- Staying top of mind with subscribers
- Building thought leadership around their brand
- Sharing interesting findings and resources
Curated newsletters are a chance for you to offer readers a vast variety of material you’ve hand-selected for them. Moreover, with so much content being published on the web, a curated newsletter has serious value.
How to create a curated newsletter
1. Choose your topic.
The first step in creating your curated email newsletter is to choose your topic.
Will your curated newsletter contain email marketing tips and tricks? Alternatively, will you be curating content about web design trends?
Choosing your topic is one of the most critical parts of starting a curated email newsletter, and there are two key things to consider when choosing your topic:
- Audience Value – As a marketer, you likely have a target market you focus on, and that target market is probably interested in specific types of content. The value of a curated newsletter for subscribers is the convenience of having all the best content about a particular subject selected and sent directly to them, so you need to make sure the topic you choose aligns with the types of content your target market’s interested in.
- Business Alignment – The goal of starting a curated newsletter is to keep your business top of mind and to build thought leadership around your brand. You won’t achieve those goals if the content you curate isn’t aligned with the products and services your business provides.
It’s by striking a balance between those two considerations that you’ll find the right topic.
SitePoint does a great job of this with their curated email newsletter titled Versioning.
SitePoint sells educational resources and training to web designers and developers, and their newsletter curates the latest web design and development news into a daily email.
Not only does it provide value to their audience, who need to keep up with the latest trends to stay relevant in their jobs, but it perfectly aligns with their products and services and positions SitePoint as the go-to company for resources and education on web design and development.
2. Start building your list.
Once you’ve established your topic, you need to start building your email list.
In our email list building guide, we outline a two-part formula for attracting subscribers and building your list.
A valuable incentive + simple subscribe opportunities = large email list
Here’s an example of how SitePoint does it for their newsletter:
The subscribe page clearly presents the incentive and showcases its value with clever copy that shows how Versioning “helps subscribers keep up to date with the latest web development news so they can get back to building what they love.”
3. Gather amazing content to send your subscribers.
Now that you have your topic and a growing list of email list subscribers, it’s time to start finding amazing content to send them.
You’ll likely need to read a lot of content about your chosen topic to find the best stuff for your subscribers, so it’ll help to set up some basic systems to ensure this is as quick and easy as possible.
Rather than spending hours manually browsing different sources, use tools like Feedly and Flipboard to help bring all that content together in one place.
These tools will pull all of your favorite sources into a customized magazine-style layout, which makes it really easy to browse articles and find interesting content.
When you find something you want to include in your curated newsletter, you can use tools like Evernote or Pocket to save them for later, so it’s ready to go when you’re creating and sending your newsletter.
Bonus tip: Include user-generated content to make your curated newsletters really stand out.
Here’s a number you won’t soon forget: Eighty-one percent of consumers consider a product that’s endorsed by an “ordinary person” more trustworthy than a product that’s recommended by a celebrity.
This is why including user-generated content in your curated newsletters is an excellent idea, especially when it comes to standing apart from everyone else.
If the goal of your newsletter happens to be sales related, studies have proven that including user-generated content, such as review and testimonials, has a much higher impact on overall conversion rates.
Source: Search Engine Journal
If the goal of your newsletter isn’t to sell or recommend a product, including user-generated content is still a great idea to show that you’re investing in what your audience’s thoughts are on a topic.
Some of the best examples of non-sales-related user-generated content comes in the form of recipes shared amongst the culinary industry. While most of these newsletters include recipes, they also tend to allow comments for sharing alterations and some even feature readers’ recipes.
Source: Really Good Emails
4. Send your first curated newsletter.
With your topic chosen, list built, and content gathered, it’s time to send your first curated newsletter to your subscribers.
If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, you can select from one of our newsletter templates and simply drag and drop your content into the email builder to create your campaign.
Once you’ve created your campaign, you can preview how it’ll look on both desktop and mobile devices so you know it’ll look great wherever your subscribers are reading it.
Once you’ve tested your campaign, you’re ready to hit send on your very first curated email newsletter.
5. Track your email newsletter’s performance.
The work doesn’t end once you’ve sent your newsletters off to your subscribers. If you truly want to see success from your email newsletters, you’ll want to track and monitor your newsletter performance carefully.
This is done by monitoring industry benchmarks and key performance indicators that’ll show you just how well your newsletter is performing. A few KPIs to monitor include:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Unsubscribe rate
These figures will show you what’s working and what isn’t. For example, if you see an increase in your open and click-through rates, you know your readers are enjoying the material enough to act.
Creating and sending a curated newsletter can be a simple way to boost your email marketing efforts and drive more sales and revenue for your business.
Using the tips mentioned today, along with reviewing our guide, the Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019, will help you get the results you want. So dive on in and let Campaign Monitor walk you through the journey of creating your next curated newsletter.