Horrible Holiday Newsletters Can Help Your Own Newsletter

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you don’t like getting those overly-saccharine holiday newsletters from people you barely know. The truth is that most of us roll our eyes when we open up a holiday card and see a folded, rambling newsletter shoved inside. Overly-boastful, bland and unnecessary, the Christmas newsletter has become the subject of scrutiny, parody and dread. Yet for those of us whose content marketing strategies include email newsletters, these holiday hand-grenades can actually be seen as a gift that keeps on giving.

Really good email newsletters — you know, the kind that you actually open and read — have something most bad holiday newsletters don’t: a purpose. While spreading holiday cheer is definitely a worthwhile mission, the worst holiday newsletters blather about stuff that wouldn’t even make for good Facebook status updates. Similarly, before starting an email newsletter campaign, decide why you’re doing it. Is it to offer discounts and promotions? Is it to drive traffic to your company blog? Is it to catch followers up on the happenings in your company? Or do you want it to do a little of all of the above? Answer these questions and a purposeless newsletter will be a thing of the past.

Causing the biggest groans from Christmas newsletters is the needless bragging about how well a family is doing or how great their kids are. A boast-fest should likewise be avoided in branded email newsletters. A blurb here or there congratulating a staff member or touting a recent success is enough. Nobody is clamoring for another edition of the Aren’t We Amazing Times, so keep the self-high-fiving to a minimum. Another groan maker is a failed attempt at humor. Look, either you’re funny or you’re not. If your jokes fall flat, best to keep them out of your newsletter. But if humor is something you succeed at, by all means, keep the jokes in there.

Good holiday newsletters offer valuable lessons, too. The best among them contain memorable pictures. Whether it’s ironic, ugly sweaters or pets getting into the spirit, we tend to gravitate toward messages with fun images. So your company’s newsletter should do the same. Images and videos help elevate email newsletters out of Spam Town by containing something more than just advertising.

Finally, the best holiday newsletters are the ones that are short and sincere. Followers of your company presumably get your email newsletter because they like your company. Therefore, your newsletter should be fun, informative and authentic. Keep readers engaged with short articles and posts and leave the long, drawn-out storytelling for that yet-to-be-published autobiography.

Mainly, be yourself… and stay true to your brand in your newsletters. After all, the best greetings — regardless of the season — are the ones that are real and that come from the heart.

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