As a Managed Service Provider, you’ve got this whole content thing in the bag. For once in your life, you are the popular kid. You are king of online engagement, and everything you create drips of interesting, useful, and exciting information. Right…? Let’s hope so.
You have the freedom to write on topics like smart gadgets, technology trends, security tips, emerging cyber threats, office productivity, mobile apps… Basically, if the topic touches technology in any way, it’s fair game. And all of this stuff is legitimately interesting to the majority of business professionals.
In other words, you’re lucky. Just imagine the kind of content that lawyers, insurance providers, and dentists are stuck with… or don’t imagine it, because it’s really boring.
So where exactly are we headed with this…? Well, at the end of the day, we just want to make sure you’re using this surplus of really good stuff to your advantage. This content will help your business hook new leads, engage current clients, come off as an expert, and look like a company who gets it.
And one of the best ways to pull this off is with an online newsletter. Yeahhh, go ahead and groan, but it won’t make this any less true. A newsletter is a simple way to pull people to your website, to engage local businesses, and to differentiate yourself from the competition. And if you can manage to find your niche (or sweet spot as the Content Marketing Institute likes to call it), then you might actually have a little fun with it.
But… and this is a big but… an online newsletter isn’t just about the content, and it’s never about the sell (which a lot of MSPs struggle to comprehend). Here are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your deliciously wonderful online newsletter.
We know. You want to come off as an expert, as highly intelligent, as a genius… but nobody cares. Normal people want to read content that is easy to understand and flows like a conversation. An online newsletter from an MSP to local businesses is not the place for microscopic specifications, complicated explanations, or 15-letter words. Keep things simple, fun, and engaging, and don’t be afraid to use a little comedy. Not to mention, it’s often been said that simpler writing tends to make people sound more intelligent than writing that’s denser than the rainforests of South America.
Like we said before, a newsletter is not about the sell. It’s about engagement. It’s about providing your readers with something they want to read. If they wanted to read about your services or products, then they’d look on your website or email you or give you a call. So stop being selfish and write about something that’s actually interesting.
If you haven’t noticed, photos are a pretty big deal these days. People will literally spend hours at a time flipping through photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. But, unfortunately, the imagery that most MSPs like to use on their websites, blogs, and, yes, online newsletters all basically look exactly the same. A hacker wearing a hoodie. A woman holding a coffee cup. A bearded man typing on a laptop. None of these images would even be interesting to a 17th century peasant. So if you want your newsletter to be impactful, think outside the box. Your article may focus on office productivity, but there are many other ways to represent this topic visually aside from a group of people smiling at a conference table. If you need ideas, check out the Harvard Business Review. They accomplish this feat better than most anyone else who is creating content on the web.
Whether your content is going to be laid out into multiple columns or placed into one column like AdWeek’s newsletter, it must be balanced. No hanging words, no awkward widths, and no off-center headlines. Keep it together, people. If you don’t, it’ll look like you just stepped into a horror flick from 1993.
Everything doesn’t have to match, and it certainly doesn’t need to look like your newsletter just popped out of Pantone’s Spring Fashion Report (although that wouldn’t necessarily hurt). However, it is important to make sure you maintain a standard theme and color template.
Yes, font is fun. But there is a time and a place to experiment with different fonts, and your newsletter is not it. Pick one font and stick with it. Keep everything uniform, clean, and professional.