What to do when you’re stumped for newsletter ideas

By Sophia Skinbjerg | sophia.skinbjerg@ungapped.com

Have you come back to the office after vacation only to find yourself totally and utterly stumped for newsletter ideas? Or maybe you’ve been working all summer but still suffering from the same thing: total and utter content block.

I feel your pain. Sometimes it feels like my brain has been sucked dry of all creative juices and ideas just cease to flow. But the good news is that there are some small, easy steps you can take that will (hopefully) get the creativity flowing from your brain cells to your fingertips and into your newsletters again.

Here’s the infographic that inspired this post.

This post continues after the infographic so remember to keep scrolling to read the information that’s actually going to help you get over your content block.

What to do when you're stumped for newsletter ideas

Let’s walk through each of the 6 steps.


1. Check what’s trending

What’s easier than trying to push out ideas yourself? See what everybody else is talking about.


2. Check forums

This is an especially good tactic if you’re looking to report content before it’s gone viral or mainstream. This is also a great idea if you’re looking to address problems of communities that either represent similarities to your own users or are indeed your own users.

For example, if you’re an IT consultant you could check forums like Quora for threads that people may have started in order to find out what the average consulting fee is. If you see that a lot of people are contributing or following this thread, why not address it in your newsletter?


3. Clear your mind

If you’ve tried the above two methods and still you’re blocked for newsletter ideas then take a moment to clear your mind. I know that sounds easier said than done but you need to be patient with yourself and find the thing that works for you.

For me, I know that I need to plug in some sweet tunes courtesy of Spotify and remove myself from my desk (and interruption). Spending an hour at a cafe or even in our ‘nap room’ is just the right amount of time for me to relax and start my mind afresh.


4. Brainstorm that sh*t

There’s been some research lately that points to the ineffectiveness of brainstorming within teams but I’m still in favor of using brainstorming when going solo. Jot down what it is you want to achieve from the newsletter and start thinking of ways you can reach that goal. Can one of your blog posts help? What about a video you made last year? Or maybe there is an event coming up (either your own or a public event) that your readers would find relevant? You’d be surprised how the humble piece of paper can spur on newsletter ideas.


5. Fill in the gaps

We’re all about bridging gaps at Ungapped, didn’t you know? If you’ve found a piece of content that covers a topic that interests you, or is related to your own business, why not extend the conversation or explore a point that was not covered in the original piece?

We do this often on our own blog when new research comes out within the email, survey or text message industries. Instead of trying to replicate our own studies (which we often cannot do at such short notice), we extend the conversation around that topic and add our own thoughts, perceptions and ideas that were missed in the original article. Remember though, you must always credit the original. Plagiarism doesn’t do you any favors.


6. Share your voice anyway

Even after all of these steps you’re still suffering from content block, share your opinion on something, anything! Write about what’s on your mind or what you’re working on at the moment. You might actually be surprised with who this resonates with.

This kind of concept has worked really well for companies like Thinx and their email series called ‘SHE-E-O’. Once a week the CEO Miki Agrawal sends an email that outlines what her week was like, what she found rewarding or challenging etc.

What to do when you're stumped for newsletter ideas

I’ve never directly purchased from this series but it has given me some invaluable advice and perspectives on navigating my daily routine which has ultimately improved my skill set. Because of these short emails I’ve come to trust the brand (and purchase more in their other emails) simply because the CEO shared her opinion.


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This awesome infographic was found on Marketingprofs courtesy of SEO Expert Page.

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