Over the last few months, LinkedIn’s been gradually rolling out their newsletter feature. At this point, pretty much any business or individual (provided your account is set to Creator Mode) can use it. The question is—is it worth using?
And if so, what should your newsletter cover? Should it be long and research-driven? Short and cheeky? Should it go out every week or once a month?
Newsletters, like some of the greatest things in life, come in many shapes and sizes. But when it comes to your brand, you don’t want to play around and potentially convolute your messaging.
So how do you decide what to write, how often to send, and what platform to use?
Internal vs. LinkedIn Newsletter
There are two main ways to go about getting your company’s information and updates out to the masses: Internally (via your own mailing lists) or via LinkedIn (either through your company channel or through one of your executives). But which way is best? What will garner the most ROI?
We’ll admit it. It’s hard to say. With LinkedIn’s newsletter feature being relatively new, we’re still tracking to see if it’s a passing trend or the new frontier of newsletters.
Here’s what we do know:
Do you have an up-to-date mailing list of engaged customers and potential customers? Do you have a large LinkedIn following? If you answered yes to just one of these, start there.
When it comes to internal newsletters, you can target your B2B content (and your mailing list) to as narrow or as wide of a group as you want to reach. Do you want to create a newsletter that is just seen by prospects? You can do that. Do you want to send a monthly newsletter with updates and/or unique offerings to ongoing customers? You can do that too. And there are a number of platforms like SharpSpring, ConvertKit, and MailChimp that will help simplify the process.
The key here is that using an internal mailing list allows you to segment the audience, so the newsletter you send is specific to the audience you send it to.
When it comes to LinkedIn, the ability to segment is more in the hands of the reader. LinkedIn only allows one newsletter per user (company or individual), and when the first newsletter is published, every first connection will automatically be notified, so they can read and subscribe. From there, it’s really up to the readers. Your contacts can subscribe or unsubscribe. They can share your newsletter with friends and connections, who can also subscribe and unsubscribe as they wish.
In a sense, it’s not that different from the internal newsletter, where a mailing list is created by lead generation materials that collect email addresses, and users can choose to unsubscribe (generally via email) or subscribe (generally via the company website). The difference is merely that you can segment your email list at the start and choose who will receive your newsletter rather than automatically sending it to all of your connections.
This gives you two things to consider before starting a newsletter:
- What is your goal for your newsletter? If the goal is to create brand awareness, sending it to all of your 1st connections isn’t a bad idea. If your goal is to provide company updates and talk about the intricacies of new upgrades, well, you probably want to keep the mailing list to those that will find the info relevant. No one wants to be spammed with content that doesn’t apply to them, after all.
- What does your LinkedIn connections list look like? Do you have a large following (to start a LinkedIn newsletter, you must have at least 150 first connections)? Do you have something to say that will interest and appeal to those connections?
In the end, as with all content, the most important thing is providing relevant and interesting content to your readers. If the content you are writing will only engage a small group, look into making a newsletter through a platform that allows you to customize your mailing lists, like ConvertKit or MailChimp.
If you have great insights on the future of something more universal—like work/life balance, cultural trends, or the intersection of art and the written word—odds are, your connections across various roles and industries will be interested.
And—food for thought—it doesn’t need to be a question of internal vs. LinkedIn.
Maybe the right answer for you is internal + LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn newsletter platform is brand new—they haven’t even fully fleshed it out to all users yet! And while trying something new when it comes to your business might sound a little scary at first, the potential reach (and bragging rights for being on the cutting edge) may be worth it.
Our CEO, Shama Hyder, gave LinkedIn newsletters a shot—and her feedback has been positive.
Not only has she gained more than 97,000 subscribers without any real marketing or sales push, but all of her newsletters are archived in the above link. So when someone subscribes, they’re able to see all of the previous newsletters, too.
It’s essentially another great way that she can provide her thoughts and insights to her audience (in this case, subscribers), and they can engage with it. They can react. They can even write comments.
And our guess is that comment-writing is going to be more prevalent than responding to newsletters sent via email, which means the LinkedIn newsletter feature may open a pathway to more engaged newsletter readers.
When it comes to newsletters, we’d recommend aiming to get as much engagement as possible, no matter which avenue you choose. After all, according to a McKinsey report, email marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than other strategies.
Related reading: The Ultimate Guide to B2B Email Marketing
So we suppose the real question is: Why should your B2B be launching a newsletter to begin with?
Everyone has an email address—or a LinkedIn account, or both. Email is a universally-accepted communication platform.
Now, this should go without saying, but while the purpose of a newsletter is typically to create awareness, the focus of your newsletter should be on helping. How can you help your readers see/understand what you’re talking about? How can you not only get them to read but get them to relate and want to reach out?
Now, we’re not talking about TMI—that’s never a good idea. But the more you engage in personalized storytelling, the more likely your content will resonate. Have a story about that one time that you thought you’d fail, but you succeeded as a business instead? Tell it. Want to share how others can follow in your footsteps? Spread the word! You’ll not only get to share, but you’ll likely hear from readers, too. And the more they comment, the more likely they’ll share your business with others.
We’ve talked a lot about buyer journeys and how hearing what potential customers—and current customers too—really want is the key to scaling your B2B. But something that makes customers really feel appreciated? Feedback!
Your newsletter is a great way to reach out to that audience and ask a question, whether it be in a long-form article that ponders a topic or in a simple closing statement that says, “how are we doing?” You can gauge what your audience is responding to, what’s working, and when you should pivot.
And best of all, this information won’t cost you a thing.
Sure, the concept of drafting a newsletter takes time. But reaping the benefits of getting your newsletter in front of the right people? Totally worth it.
We already know what you’re thinking: Who’s got time for that?
A good newsletter—one that is worth reading—will take time and resources to put together. Need help? We’re here for you.