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Plan your content ahead of time and use categories

Lots of folks start their email campaign with great enthusiasm. Spirits are high, and content is “no problem”. Everybody in the company is in on it, because they’re expecting a great payoff. The first email is sent out, results are being analyzed and maybe some champagne finds its way down a couple of thirsty throats. Once all this passion fades, normal life kicks in. And before they know it, the deadline for the second issue is just around the corner. Oh dear Lord, please give us strength!


Half the people that contributed to the first newsletter are now busy / not as motivated anymore / on vacation / whatever. The other half is willing to put out, but most of them lack true inspiration. With their last breath, two die hards manage to scramble just enough content to make the newsletter worthy of existence. Hit “send”, quick! Pfew!


The deadline for the third newsletter passes without anyone noticing. The two die hards tried to raise the issue, but they failed to get their coworkers off their ###es. Too bad, no more email marketing.


Do not walk into the Cave of No Content. Plan ahead. Remember the 7 Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


What goes for British Soldiers (yes, that’s where the 7 Ps come from), goes for email marketers: if you fail to think about the move after your next one, you die. All right, not you personally. But your email campaign will be dead for sure. So you may want to wrap your head around some solid Email Campaign Survival Advice:


Before you send out even one campaign, know what you are going to talk about in your second and third campaign. Ideally, you would set up a timeline of about a year, or maybe six months. Whatever your business is, I’m pretty sure you can identify a lot (or at least some) events that you are going to want to cover in one of your newsletters. If you run a fashion store, you deal with stuff like spring collections and after summer sales. If you sell postcards, you know you’re going to stir things up before Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, et cetera.


Now that we have the obvious stuff out of the way, it’s time to come up with some categories of other subjects. Just a couple of suggestions:


  • Product reviews
  • Background information about how products or services are created
  • Tips on how to use or maintain your products or services
  • Product or service related contests.


Depending on how often you send out a newsletter, you can pick one or more categories every time. The trick is to come up with actual content for each of the categories before launching your campaign. That doesn’t mean you have to have complete articles on the shelf, but it does mean that you decide right now and right here, what you are going to talk about in future editions of your newsletter.


Leave room for creativity and spontaneity along the way.


All this planning and preparing might seem to make your campaign a bit rigid. Not to worry though, you can have all the flexibility you want. Just make room for it in advance. Don’t cram every possible subject in your timeline, just the major ones. How much is too much? Only you can answer that question. It’s your campaign, so you’ll figure out soon enough how much detail you need to put into your schedule.


Happy editing!

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