Publishing Your Newsletter in 2012 (Part 1): Content Ideas Worksheet

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For many builders and remodelers, you are determined to make 2012 the year that you finally publish your newsletter. You understand how important it is to “stay in touch” with your past customers and prospects and know that a newsletter is an excellent way to accomplish this goal.

With that being said, there are usually two big stumbling points in publishing a newsletter consistently: ideas and time. (By the way, these happen to be the same places many businesses stumble.)

When you first start publishing your newsletter, you are full of inspiration and motivated to make it work – no matter what! You set your goal on an aggressive publishing schedule (once a month for print newsletters and/or once a week for e-newsletters), but quickly, you find yourself in the pit of “catching up” – because your nemeses no-time and no-ideas get the better of you. Soon, your newsletter program is completely off schedule and becomes a task of “when I get around to it.” (Can you tell I’ve also been there a time or two?)

Listen – a haphazard newsletter publishing schedule is the death of the program! Any momentum you gained over the weeks or months that you published regularly will get destroyed faster than kids ripping into presents on Christmas morning. More important than what type of content is within your newsletter is the time it arrives. Your newsletter must be consistent – and be counted on to arrive at the same publishing schedule, week after week and month after month. If it doesn’t arrive regularly, it is quickly seen as junk mail (and you don’t want that).

To help you with the ideas, I’ve developed and successfully used a Content Ideas Worksheet with my clients. You can download it here >>>

Here’s how it works. On the left side of the sheet, list all the products and services you provide. If you are a kitchen remodeler, for example, your list may look like this:

  • Design
  • Cabinetry
  • Refacing
  • Countertops
  • Appliances
  • Storage Options
  • Flooring
  • Blacksplash
  • Islands/Bar Areas
  • Breakfast Nook
  • Faucet and Sink Options

When you build your list, don’t be afraid to write down even the minutest service, such as installing new hardware on cabinets (I’ll explain why in a second.).

On the right side of the worksheet, write down at least one specific customer who used that service or purchased that product from you.

Once your worksheet is filled out, you’re left with a long list of article ideas! For instance, if you decide to write about countertops, you can write: 1) a general article about the various countertop options, 2) two or three articles on the pros and cons of the different types of countertops, and/or 3) a “project spotlight” article on a customer who had their countertops replaced.

That’s three solid article choices from just one of your services!

And to go back to the topic of switching out hardware, here’s why you want to include that, too. Yes, this very well could be a DIY project for the homeowner (and it usually is), but you can inspire them to take action to begin the process of transforming their kitchen into a space they love. They’ll appreciate the idea and when they are ready to tap into their savings for a more expensive renovation project, because of your consistent newsletter, they’ll think of you. That’s the power of newsletters!

Do you have other ways you gather newsletter ideas? I’d love to hear them.

P.S. Watch in the days ahead for more articles on Publishing Your Newsletter in 2012 (I will post titles and links here as they are published – so they are all connected.).

UPDATE:

Part II – Building the Frame

Part III – Your Final Critical Step

You can download the Content Ideas Worksheet here >>>

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