35 Content Ideas for B2B eNewsletters

Galen De Young ( @GalenDY ) | November 5, 2009 · 5 comments | B2B Email Marketing

This is not another “How to” article for creating newsletters. Rather, this is a “What to” article, with 35 B2B eNewsletter content ideas to help you think about “what” to write about. There are in fact, a number of excellent resources with “How to” tips for creating, producing, publishing, and managing newsletters—including our own B2B Email Marketing Best Practices eBook. This list on the other hand, is intended to poke you, prod you, make you think and give you ideas about where to look to generate stories that make relevant, meaningful, engaging, and entertaining content for B2B email marketing. Of course, the ideas are also great for business blogging as well. Have more ideas? Please use the comments to add to the list.

Create a “Best of” Article

Research and rank the “Best of [You Name It]” in a compilation article with brief descriptions and opinions to validate your selections and rankings. Share your expert opinion and rate best new products, technologies, innovations, solutions, tradeshows, websites, industry blogs, places to do business—you get the idea, and include links to their websites. A well-researched list is appreciated as a resource and often generates return visits and increased “forward to a friend” referrals.

Cover a Trade Show

Of course, it’s where the industry’s latest and greatest is showcased, but only a fraction of us make it to the tradeshows and expositions. When you go, cover show highlights, best exhibits, presentations, new product launches, designs, innovations, and solutions. Review exhibitors. Offer comparisons. Go to show with an open mind and conscious intentions of finding good content to write about. Then share what you see, hear, do and learn.

Summarize Recent Research

Summarize key findings from either your own research or recently published business and industry studies in a concise, easy-to-read article and format. Share your insight into the potential implications of this new knowledge and what it might mean to your industry, suppliers, customers, etc.

Interview a Thought Leader for an Article or Podcast

Conduct an in-person interview with an industry thought leader for an article or podcast. An objective question and answer session with a high-profile thought leader on current industry issues adds interest, authenticity, and credibility to your publication. Contributors value the reciprocal benefits of networking and connecting with relevant audiences your eNewsletter delivers.

Cover an Issue in the News

Sure, you can write about news in your industry, but many current issues covered in mainstream media are also highly relevant to your customers’ business and industry. Green technology, climate change, cap and trade, the global economy, the credit crunch, bailouts, China, healthcare all come to mind at this particular instant. Write about mainstream media issues in context to their impact on your and your customers’ industries.

Publish a List of Resources

Where do you go to find reliable information, solutions, and answers to your business questions? Publish your recommended list of favorite “Go-To” resources and share links to your online resources. It’s another list that can generate return visits and increased “forward to a friend” referrals.

Preview Upcoming Events

Do you have a tradeshow, conference, seminar, webinar, or other event coming soon? Preview upcoming events with sneak peaks, agenda highlights, and what attendees can expect to take away from attending the event.

Promote Upcoming Presentations

Are you a guest presenter at upcoming industry event? Even better. Promote your presentation. Create intrigue and interest. Tell them what knowledge they can expect to leave with by attending your presentation, and include examples.

Create a How-To Article

“How to” articles are always popular and well read as long as content is original with new, useful, good-to-know “how to” information that that hasn’t been over-published. And qualify it with a frame of reference if needed, for example, if it’s a “primer” for beginners call it that. If it’s “advanced” content for professionals, then call it that. It helps readers understand the intended audience and put the level of content in perspective.

Create a What-Not-To-Do Article

Sometimes the “How To” tips are clearly obvious, but the “What-Not-To-Do”, not so much. A What-Not-To-Do article can offer a “I never thought of that” list of possibilities to help readers avoid the frequently overlooked hazards, pitfalls, embarrassments, and outright disasters just looking for a place to happen.

Serialize a Topic

Choose a topic and present it in a multi-part series. Got a lot of material to cover? A process to explain? An evolving subject? A series is a great way to approach lengthy, complex, and changing content and break it up into palatable, bite-size segments.

Summarize Legal and Regulatory Changes

When the government’s help arrives, it seems like it usually shows up in a document the size of the phone book. Anytime you can itemize and summarize key changes and compliance concerns in an article, you’ve done everyone a tremendous service.

Tell Them What You’re Thinking About.

Got something on your mind? Offer a personal perspective or thought-provoking observations on a topic that’s been on your radar.

Highlight Contributions to the Community

Are you involved? Corporation citizenship is recognized, valued, and appreciated. Share insight into your community and social initiatives, sponsorships, employee participation, and service recognition.

Summarize Technological Changes

How has technology changed the way your company performs? Your people perform? Your products perform? Summarize technological changes that are changing your business and industry. Share your insights. And think about other technologies too that are common across industries, i.e. office software, hardware, mobile, media applications etc. Are you using these technologies and applications in unique, innovative, and productive ways that also might apply to customers or suppliers and others in vertical industries?

Interview your Customers

Hearing about other companies who do business with you helps customers, prospects, suppliers and others reinforce and confirm their own decisions to do the same. Interview your customers, let them share their companies’ successes and in their words, how you contribute to those efforts.

Address a Shared Problem

Need a solution? Think you found one? Address a shared problem to provoke thought, spark engagement, and create dialogue. Ask for others’ insights in the problem and potential solutions.

Share a Mistake

This is not the 1950s; perfection is no longer expected (or believed). Greatness is of course, appreciated but it can easily be argued that honesty and transparency are appreciated even more. Even Microsoft has to send out a new patch once in a while, JetBlue left passengers on runways for hours and you’ve got to wonder how Apple’s Baby Shaker iPhone app even made it out the door. And gosh, GM, we won’t even go there, but it seems they put it all out on the table in their latest makeover. Sharing a mistake, lessons learned, solutions found, corrections made, enhancements realized—and (depending on the nature of the issue and the outcome) finding a little humor or humility through it all humanizes your company. Stuff happens and in this age of social media, people hear about it sooner rather than later anyway. Don’t be afraid to put it out there and turn it into a positive when it does.

Share a Review

There’s so much material out there; you can’t read or hear it all. Write and share your reviews and recommended books or whitepapers you’ve read or a seminar or webinar you’ve attended.

Share Interesting Statistics

Share interesting statistics—performance metrics, market shares, demographic trends, etc. and use charts and graphs for quick, visual reference. Add your opinions and insights regarding what it means for you and your key publics.

Humor

Lighten up. Share funny stories, jokes, quotes, parodies, spoofs, quirky photos cartoons, and other humor to share the funny side of life—and work. A little humor goes along way to personalize and humanize your company with the caution of course, to be tasteful, sensitive, and non-offensive.

Solicit Outside Authors

Solicit article submissions and feature column opportunities from guest authors, columnists, bloggers, or other recognized industry thought leaders. In addition to their expert industry insights, their independent status adds objectivity and authenticity and sharing space enhances your own positioning as a thought leader.

Cover Trends

What’s shaping and changing business in your industry? Global trade? Automation? The economy? The Internet? Social media? Cover the trends and potential game changers you see influencing your industry.

Share Your Successes

Don’t brag, but when you have success stories, share them. Share them in the context of how such successes are relevant to the reader’s perspective, and it might also be beneficial to those experiencing similar challenges.

Summarize Your White Papers, eBooks, and Podcasts

Summarize and share some white paper, eBook, and podcast content in a condensed format. Offer links and just enough key findings and critical insights to entice them to visit your website and read/download your materials.

Share a Presentation You Did

This is an easy one. The hard part is already done. If you or an associate in your organization have spoken at a conference, presented at a trade show, hosted a webinar, prepared a major capabilities or sales presentation etc., it’s likely you have some rich content, research, and insight, not to mention great visuals that have only been shared with a fraction of your audience. Repurpose it.

Solicit, Aggregate, and Publish

Ask others you know to contribute ideas, stories, insights, predictions, solutions, etc. around a given topic. Then aggregate that information and publish it to your readers. Engage your readers, elicit responses, and create a dialog.

Create and Share a Video

Two-thirds of B2B marketers in one survey expect online video to be part of their marketing strategy this year, and it can be a killer application if you use it right. Remove your B2B advertising hat (factory tour, product shot, sales pitch) and put on your thought leadership hat. Think educate, demonstrate, tell stories, and entertain while bringing your corporate brand personality to life with inviting, engaging B2B video content.

Share What the Future Holds

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe you do. Predictions of course can be risky business but they’re fun nonetheless. If you’ve got the knowledge to make an educated guess, share it, and of course qualify it with assumptions made and plenty of ifs, ands, or buts. What’s on the horizon in your mind? What changes are coming? What concerns you? What do you think people should plan for?

Share Where You’ve Been

Chronicle and narrate an experience with the invaluable voice of experience from someone who has been there, done that. Share the obstacles, hurdles, setbacks, small victories, and successes of a real-world business experience.

Share New Products and Services

Introduce new products and services as they long as they are truly new, innovative, and newsworthy. Find a story angle and remember, it’s news, not an ad, so tell—don’t sell.

Provide Inspiration

Did you run with an idea? Beat the odds? Do what they said couldn’t be done? Come from behind? Prove the naysayers wrong? Chances are, you’ve had ideas, rolled the dice, demonstrated courage, taken your lumps, and enjoyed successes. Share your inspiration and inspire others.

Share Best Practices

Evaluate and compile a list of best practices on a topic relevant to your customers. You have the benefit of a wealth of industry information and personal insights from all of your customers. Maybe it’s five things; maybe it’s thirty. But your ability to identify and convey best practices to your customers and prospects is a great indicator of your expertise and can help position you as thought leader in the subject.

Cover FAQs on a Particular Topic

Choose a particular topic and cover it in a frequently asked questions and answer format. FAQs and answers provide great content in an as easy-to-read format.

Aggregate Recent News

Aggregate recent news on a topic, injecting other content and perspectives to provoke thought, encourage comments, and create a dialog.

Got more ideas? Please let us know. Thanks!

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Janard September 14, 2010 at 10:16 am

This is very helpful! Thanks for posting. I especially like the “Interview Your Customers” suggestion. People powerfully respond to peer experiences and testimonials.

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Galen De Young ( @GalenDY ) September 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Stephanie. I think you’re right about customers’ words. They’re often much more powerful than our own.

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