Beating “blank page” syndrome for email

Time is precious and it’s easy to put off writing that newsletter when you have meetings, clients, social accounts and business to run. At some point, you also want to spend time with your family and friends and even (whisper it) sleep!

So, your newsletter gets pushed to the back of the pile with your good intentions and expense receipts, to be done at a later date. That’s a pity as you are putting off the best thing in your world (your service) for the best people in your world (your clients). Writing to your email list should feel akin to meeting your best friend at a bar; something you enjoy doing as a voluntary activity. To feel that way, most of us need to shift our mindset from selling to communicating. 

Selling is easier. That’s why discounts, merchandising and time-limited offers are so popular; they are specific and straightforward to explain. However, they will only reach a small portion of your audience – the ones who are ready to buy (see this excellent Copyblogger post about the stages of awareness, for more details). Your sales emails will not address everyone else on your list, strangling your pipeline before it even has a chance to get started. 

However, if it’s Sunday evening and you are scrabbling around for ideas on what to write, steal one from the list below:  

10 ways to talk to your audience

  1. Ask them questions – offer a survey or one-click question option.
  2. Entertain them with anecdotes, pet tales or your grammar annoyances.
  3. Pick a recent question you have answered in an online forum and expand on it.
  4. Using Evernote or Pocket to capture your industry trends put together an infographic.
  5. Play the devil’s advocate on a controversial topic 
  6. Talk about your last mistake; and what you learned from it. To err is human. To learn from it; divine.
  7. Highlight the pleasure you’ve had from working with a recent client (but get their permission first!)
  8. Surprise your audience. There’s something going on almost every week of the year, so pick a cause and send an e-card to them all. Here’s the National Awareness Day calendar.
  9. Make a list of books, resources or speakers that have inspired you. Sharing good information elevates everyone. 
  10. Put together a brief case study on a new business habit, practice or theory you have tried recently. I kicked off three days of discussion in my Slack channel over the use of Focus Booster (Pomodoro timer) v Supporti (accountability partners).   

Above all, your writing should answer this one question succinctly; 

What value will my reader get from this?”.

 You don’t have to be original or even the best. You simply need to show up and keep serving them. Good luck. 

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