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January 24, 2024

Do This One Thing When Launching a Newsletter // Local Marketing Insider #074

A brief guide to newsletter formatting with a tactic you can put to use right away.

Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider, where 13,000+ local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more with insights delivered 2x a month.

Read online. Subscribe.

Three years ago, when I launched this newsletter, my process was not particularly strategic. The idea was to write something every two weeks for local marketers.

Here’s how I summed it up back then:

Bite-sized, trend-driven, actionable local marketing tactics.

Twice a month we'll share stories, insights, and data points about reviews, search, social proof, local SEO and social media.

Honestly, this description holds up - pretty decent.

I had a suspicion before, and throughout the process of writing the last 74 issues of the LMI it’s been proven that consistency is the winning strategy.

Consistency wins because your readers want to know what they are getting into before investing their time. The most straightforward way to build an engaged readership is to set basic expectations and meet them every time.

For newsletters, I recommend keeping these components consistent:

Sender - e.g Jake from Widewail

Subject - Local Marketing Insider #000

Content Topic - Ideas for better local marketing

And the last is content format. 

LMI does not have a distinct format. It is not dramatically different from issue to issue, but the format does not define the newsletter.

But my recommendation to you is that it should be for your newsletter.

Let me show you how.

Format is the Content, Content is the Format

Lately, I’ve been reading two newsletters of note, coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) named “3-2-1.”

3-2-1 by James Clear, about developing good habits. And 3-2-1 by Harry Dry of Marketing Examples about marketing.

James Clear’s newsletter includes -> 3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder. 

3,000,000 people subscribe.

Harry’s newsletter includes -> 3 short examples, 2 copywriting tips, and 1 favorite tweet.

130,000 people subscribe.

For both, the format is clearly defined and even used as the title. I know what the newsletters are about – habits and marketing – and what I’ll “get” from each one, neatly explained by the name.

In November, we launched an automotive reputation data newsletter. We needed a name.

My first idea: 3-3-3. 3 important things, 3 short things, and 3 quotes from reviews.

No reason for me to be that creative, right?

Besides being unoriginal, it had one good thing going for it, and one bad. Good was the consistent structure. Further, each section concept was appropriately broad. It’s best not to make your format structure too narrow, it’ll cause problems down the road.

The bad? Nine original, quality ideas per article is a lot to keep up with. I’d be up late in angst, poring over data to find that one last good nugget to finish the newsletter. No thanks.

So, I killed the idea. I had hoped to find something vaguely auto-related to complement the theme.

I went back to my notes, and here were the options -

  • Customer-Driven
  • Roadmap
  • Highbeam
  • Auto Reputation Minute
  • Zero Stars
  • 3-3
  • R-E-P
  • Automotive Reputation Index Newsletter
  • R-E-V: rank, explore, visualize 

We went with REV. A name that is simultaneously auto-adjacent and communicates format.

In each article, we Rank, Explore and Visualize automotive reputation data. It’s tight. It explains a lot of what the reader should expect in a short space. Efficiency counts.

To revisit the example from above, the components of our newsletter that never change ->

Sender - Jake from Widewail

Subject - The REV #000

Content Topic - Automotive reputation data

Content Format - Rank, Explore & Visualize

Every article is the same. The insights update, but they fit into a consistent structure. Every. Single. Time. Read a REV article here to see for yourself.

If you’re designing a newsletter, or updating a newsletter, use consistency to push open rates reliably over 30%.

An engaged audience is a useful audience.

Newsletters are a great marketing tool. I can't recommend them enough.

Hopefully, this small tip gives yours an edge.

Jake - Marketing @Widewail



Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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