blog newsletter ideas

What to Include in Your Book Blog’s Newsletter

Posted 5 January, 2015 in Blogging Tips / 5 Comments

January’s Be a Better Blogger Challenge is all about email marketing, so many of this month’s blogging tips will focus on how you can get better at it.

Personally, I don’t have a newsletter for this blog (yet). Book bloggers spend so much time preparing for and writing content, sometimes the last thing we want to do is write more of it, for a smaller number of readers. But blog newsletters are still a great idea for many reasons.

Why?

  • It gives email subscribers exclusive content, which gives people another reason to subscribe.
  • The exclusive content makes current subscribers get warm and fuzzy feelings that you’re sending them something not everyone can read.
  • Newsletters are often more personal than blog posts, building a closer relationship with your readers.

But you write so much for your blog and social media channels already; how are you supposed to come up with even more ideas for you newsletter?

Actually, it’s quite easy, especially since a main goal of your newsletter will be to drive traffic to your blog and social channels.

Before you start: When you set up your email marketing account, you have to decide if you want your newsletter and blog post emails to go out to the same list, or let people choose if they want to subscribe to one or both mailings. There are pros and cons to both options, so it will really depend on your content and your readers.

12 Ideas for Blog Newsletter Content

1. Write a personal note to your subscribers

This is great for building those relationships and letting your readers get to know you as a person instead of as a blogger. Let them know what you’ve been up to since your last newsletter, outside of blogging. Similar to what a lot of bloggers do in weekly recap posts.

2. Highlight recent reviews and blog posts

While I recommend sending your subscribers blog posts through RSS-to-email campaigns, this is another way to get your blog posts in your readers’ inboxes. It’s especially important for bloggers who choose to keep the newsletter and RSS campaigns separate or forego RSS-to-email campaigns completely.

How many posts you should include will depend on how often you publish posts and how frequently you send out newsletters. You don’t want to include a long list of posts, so if you’ve published a lot since your last newsletter, you should pick out a few of your favorite or most popular posts since the last mailing.

On the other hand, if you send out a weekly newsletter but only publish 2-3 posts per week, you obviously don’t want to include more than that many recent posts and risk boring your subscribers with repetitiveness.

3. Bring back older posts

Another way to drive traffic to your posts is to feature older posts that may not get as much traffic as they used to. You can highlight old reviews, author interviews, or excerpts that have been popular in the past or are particularly timely (for example, share an interview with an author who has a new book coming out soon).

I would recommend choosing either new posts or old posts to feature, instead of having sections for both. Or you could just have one general blog posts section and include links to a mix of both.

4. Spotlight a book, author, or another blogger

You could also start a book, author, or blogger of the month feature. If you run a similar feature on your blog, this is another great way to drive traffic to your book blog. Simply choose a book, author, or blogger, add a photo, and write a few sentences on why you’re making the recommendation.

Make sure to give whoever you’re spotlighting a heads up before you send out your newsletter. That way they may promote your newsletter to their fans in time for them to subscribe before the mailing with the spotlight goes out.

Important note: If you’re linking to books, do not use a link with your Amazon Associates tag in it. It’s against the program’s terms of service to use affiliate links in emails.

5. Offer a giveaway for subscribers

Very few people can resist a freebie. That’s why half of my dresser is dedicated solely to free t-shirts, obviously. And us bookish fold, we practically salivate at the prospect of a new ebook or gift card to our favorite ebook site (I hoard Amazon gift cards like no other).

It doesn’t need to be a huge prize; in fact, I would recommend doing something small. If you give away something big, like a Kindle, you’ll probably end up with a lot of subscribers who are only there for the prize, and will unsubscribe or mark you as spam once the giveaway is over or they get too bored to stick around until they win.

6. Provide a sneak peek of upcoming content

Give readers a heads up of what they can expect on your blog between now and the next newsletter. If you read ARCs or participate in blog tours, you know what you’re going to be posting pretty far in advance.

Let people know what the next few blog tours you’re doing, what you’re reading and planning to review soon, etc. It will help build anticipation.

7. Link to interesting content from other people

The book blogger community is a close-knit one, and I’m sure you have a few blogger friends you’d love to promote to your own audience. This is your chance.

Find a few reviews, author interviews, funny posts from BuzzFeed Books, or anything else a bookworm might love.

And hey, who says this has to be book related? Maybe just find something hilarious on Buzzfeed, a playlist you can’t stop listening to, or a TV show you think everyone should check out.

8. Announce upcoming events

If you go to book signings, book expos, or author events, or participate in Facebook events like parties and takeovers, make sure your readers know about them. Give them a rundown of what authors are taking over your Facebook page and when, what signings you’ll be out, and what Twitter chats or Facebook parties you’re going to.

What’s more, most email marketing providers make it easy to insert a link that will let the reader easily add the event to their phone or computer’s calendar.

9. Start a discussion

Ask your readers questions and let them reply. When they reply, read the emails and keep the conversation going. Now’s your chance to ask things you may be too self-conscious to post publicly on your blog where absolutely anyone can read it.

It’s also a chance for readers to give you a personal response, which means you may get more honest answers than if they had to publicly comment on a blog post. This is a great way to get feedback on your blog!

10. Reader spotlights

Make those subscribers feel loved! Pick an active blog commenter, someone who always likes your Facebook posts, or just a random subscriber and give them a big, public ‘thank you.’

11. Feature reader recommendations

Another way to feature your readers is to let them share their own book recommendations in your newsletter. Just put something in one newsletter asking “What’s your favorite book right now? Respond with your answer and it may be in my next newsletter,” or post something similar on your blog or social media.

It’s a great way to show readers that you value their opinions, and an excellent way to find new books to read. 🙂

12. Links to subscriber-only content

This may be a little trickier to implement, but I really love this idea. If you can get an author to agree to a private interview or exclusive book excerpt, offer it only to your newsletter subscribers.

You can either upload it as a word document or PDF to your email marketing provider, and link to it that way, or publish it as a password-protected post on your blog and include the password in your newsletter.

What do you put in your book blog’s newsletters? Share your ideas in the comments!

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What to Include in Your Book Blog's Newsletter

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