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3 reasons why it’s better to write your own.

I was commenting earlier this week on a LinkedIn group discussion about email newsletter content. The thread was about the best places to buy pre-written (canned) content. I was shocked that this was even a consideration, and surprised that the discussion was so matter-of-fact. A large number of people were exploring different companies that sell the exact same newsletter to multiple firms.

My response was simple – don’t do it! Why not just write your own content? Then I listed three reasons not to purchase content by the can:

  1. You’re not really talking to your audience. You work hard to differentiate your firm, show how you’re better than your competitors, and stand out to prospective clients. What does it say to them when you send a generic newsletter or article? No one understands your clients and their unique needs as well as you do, so no one can communicate like you can.
  2. Other firms buy that same content. Do you really want clients to see your pre-built (as one vendor calls it) newsletter on your competitor’s website? These vendors make money on volume, so they are going to sell as many copies as they can. If you don’t believe you’ll get caught, I received the same quarterly newsletter from two financial planners this week.
  3. Your audience won’t read it. Well, at least not after they see that it is generic content. Your clients and prospects are smarter than you think, and they already have their sources for general and industry news. They want to hear from you.

If you are already buying canned newsletters, here’s a little test. Check the open and click-through rates, which I typically find are around 20% and 33% respectively. How many of your clients are opening your newsletter? If your vendor doesn’t provide that information, now you know why.

You receive questions and comments from clients every single day that are perfect for short articles, blog posts, or whatever you want to call them. No one has time to read dissertations, so just write 3-5 paragraphs about a topic, or dictate your thoughts and have someone else write your message. If there’s an important news story, provide the link and then your brief commentary. Every message will not apply to all readers, but they will still appreciate your effort and will keep opening your emails.

Before you plunk down (more) money to buy a canned newsletter, article, or blog post, ask yourself this question. Would you proudly proclaim in a big headline that you bought this content from XYZ vendor rather than writing something yourself? You know the answer.

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.SM

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