One aspect of your branding is your blog newsletter. Yes, every blog these days has a newsletter.
The question is, what will you offer readers in your newsletter?
What is your newsletter?
Is it simply a well formatted way for them to subscribe to your blog via email?
Or do you offer exclusive content in your newsletter?
Or a little of both?
If you’re not sure, start with a simple “subscribe via email” approach. It’s much better to just get started, have an opt-in option on your blog and evolve from there than to do nothing at all.
As your blog grows, you’ll become more comfortable with what your readers are looking for which will give you a better idea of what to offer in a newsletter to attract more subscribers. Until then, having everything in place will begin to build connections with your readers.
There are several newsletters providers, primarily MailChimp, AWeber and Convert Kit. MailChimp is FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers so it’s a great place to start. As a new blogger you likely want manage your budget as closely as possible. MailChimp is am excellent way get a great service and save money. When you cross past 2,000 subscribers into MailChimp paid services you may want to compare it to the other providers.
Once you set up your account you’ll create two things:
- A list
- A campaign
MailChimp’s interface makes it easy to see where to create both of these. The list is easiest – it’s all the names and email addresses to whom you’ll send your newsletter.
The campaign is only a bit trickier. If you just want people to subscribe to your newsletter via email, you’ll set up a rss campaign (not too difficult, even if you don’t know what rss is). Otherwise you’ll create a regular campaign.
The nice thing is you can use the same list for both an rss campaign and regular campaigns. So if you build a list with your rss campaign and then find you have a promotion or exclusive content you’d like to share with your readers, create a regular campaign and send it to your list!
The branding aspect is in designing the email template you’ll use for that campaign (which will be sent to the list you created). MailChimp makes it very easy to walk through the steps to connect your list and your campaign and then design the look of the emails.
You can select a single column design, multiple columns to segment out the information, text pods, image pods and even mix and match your columns and pods. This allows you to send a fully customized email to your readers.
If you don’t know what you want the emails to look like, subscribe to a few newsletters and see what they do. Find a way to use and reinvent the things you like (inspiration rocks – mimicry not so much). The nice thing about Mail Chimp, like Tweak Me, is you can keep it simple with easy, basic customization. Or you can really dig in and get specific.
Also, if you created a brand header for social media you can resize it and put it at the top of your newsletter. And you can customize the colors to match your brand palette.
Basically, the newsletter is an extension of your blog. Whether it’s a way to subscribe via email or has exclusive content, you want both the design and content to align with your blog.
Now you want to help people subscribe to your newsletter. If you are using Tweak Me as your theme, Ashley has an Opt In page in the Theme Settings to customize the look of your opt in box. Once set, you can copy and paste the code at the bottom of blog posts or in a widgets in your footer or side bar.
If you’re not using Tweak Me, MailChimp has a plugin you can use to integrate their opt in forms into widgets on your site.
If you’re not sure where to go next, head over back to the tutorial page to see all eight steps to create a blog you’ll love!