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Professional Email Marketing

How to Write Compelling Content, Clever Copy, and Hard-to-Ignore Headlines for your Email Newsletter

by Andrew Lutts, Founder & CEO

If you write email newsletters, blog posts, web pages, and other assorted email and web content, the overriding piece of advice you will hear is to create good content. You must have good content. It’s all about your content.

Okay, but how do you create great content? Here are some ideas to help get you thinking. Perhaps one of these could be a good starting point for your idea generation, content creation, and writing tasks.


Here are some content ideas to consider:

  1. Write about what nobody else is brave enough to write about
  2. Reveal industry insights and hidden trade secrets (Insider's Guide to)
  3. Challenge conventional wisdom with a startling statement
  4. Tell how to make money doing ______________________
  5. Take an unfavorable position and defend it well
  6. Predict the future for your industry, and make it bold!
  7. Describe great ways to get free publicity, free tools, and free stuff
  8. Write an Open Letter to some famous business leader or politician
  9. Create the “Ultimate List” about your industry
  10. Use a unique slant, angle or contrarian position on something timely
  11. Tell a fascinating story about something
  12. Suggest an outrageous idea or solution to solve a big problem
  13. Write about the Myths, then include the real Truths
  14. Write drunk, edit sober

In addition to these above strategies, you can try mind mapping, free writing, automatic writing, brainstorming, free association, meditation, listening to instrumental music, retreating into nature to think, and other strategies to percolate fresh new ideas that turn into compelling content.


So you’ve chosen a compelling topic. You’ve written some great content for your audience. And now you need to get some attention. Try some fun and catchy headlines. Here’s a few that might catch attention:

  1. Here’s why we would fire you as a customer
  2. Five Great movies themes we’ve seen that made memorable advertising campaigns
  3. I wish I knew this one thing before I got into this business
  4. The three most embarrassing blunders I’ve witnessed with email
  5. Thank God Facebook wasn’t invented yet when this happened to my friend
  6. Confessions of a jaded _____________________
  7. The best business idea I got was from a 7-year old
  8. This is the single biggest business myth I’ve uncovered in my years in business
  9. I didn’t regret doing this in college, but would it work in business?
  10. This was the most politically-incorrect thing I’ve ever done
  11. Your mother would disown you if she saw you trying this strategy to get new customers
  12. Nine reasons your next product launch will fail miserably
  13. You won’t believe what our interns did at our last company outing in the park


Once you have crafted your message, try some of these writing tools to help you check your writing. Some of these tools can be quite comprehensive, and valuable. Here’s a few:

Grammarly: a great resource for all things writing. Excellent articles and tips. Try out the new free online proofreader:

Pro Writing Aid: a comprehensive writing tool for all kinds of writers and editors.

Hemingway App: don’t you just love the way Hemingway wrote? Now you can too, with the Hemingway app. Because simple and easy is good!

Smart Edit: a Microsoft Word plug-in that helps the writing process. Performs several checks on your content throughout the process. Very thorough.

Word Counter: shows word count, level of writing, reading time and keyword density.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator: generates ideas for articles, blogs, headlines, and other content to write. Fun to use!

Email Subject Line Grader: Generates an objective numerical score up to 100 on your email subject lines. Includes character count, word count, word mixture and balance, and word characterizations.


Have some fun with your writing! If you don’t enjoy the writing process and you don’t enjoy what you have written, it makes it hard for others to like it too.

Write like you talk. Keep it simple. And short.

Be specific, go deep, and go long tail. This is the age of specialization. Nobody wants generalities.

Create value in your writing by:

  • Sharing something you know to help your readers
  • Suggesting a new method to address your application or problem
  • Taking a fresh view or perspective on something
  • Creating a new combination of existing elements for an improved outcome
  • Observing and reporting on unique relationships of people, concepts and ideas
  • Uncovering a new problem solved with age-old eternal wisdom
  • Helping your readers expand their thinking “outside the box” of conventional thinking