How To Build a Newsletter (That People Want to Read)

In a world of social media, the humble Email Newsletter may seem outdated and rather ineffective, but that’s where you’re wrong.

As a business, we’re always investing our time (and then our money) into making improvements. We understand that bringing valuable information to our viewers is just as important as good ol’ entertainment. When strategizing ways to broaden our outreach and adding useful features to our platforms, we pay attention to the most important piece of the puzzle: our audience, and measure the success of our methods by calculating the ROI.

Fun Fact: According to the Data and Marketing Association, Email offers an ROI of around 4,300%

So after months of building newsletters for our clients, we figured it was time to adopt the habit for Food Story Media, and send our own monthly assortment of information to our subscribers. Whether you’re a restaurant, digital media company, or flower shop; the format of building and executing your newsletter stays the same. Listen Up!

Create a Newsletter Project Plan  

Identifying your audience and creating content that they find interesting is the key to success.

Before you try and sell your brand, you have to prove yourself worthy, build trust, and develop a relationship with your viewers. Otherwise, you’re email goes into the trash during mass clean up.

Identifying your content and it’s delivery.

What do you want to communicate to your audience? Sales, New Happenings, Helpful Information? Keep in mind that your delivery needs to appeal to those reading your newsletter.

We recommend creating a template of four topics that you elaborate on each distribution cycle. This gives structure and consistency allowing your users to pick and choose what they want to read.

For example, a restaurant newsletter can contain the following:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Seasonal Menus
  • Special Offers (Gift vouchers.. etc)
  • Supplier of the Month

Cross utilize the visual content you already have. This not only helps with recognition and familiarity, but also reduces further invested time to create content specifically for the newsletter. Include your newsletter in your regular content strategy, just be sure to keep it all relevant, and meet your deadlines. Consistent distribution is of utmost importance.

Stay true to your style and follow your brand guidelines.

Strong brands retain consistency in every scenario. A blank page often sparks my creativity, and I let that shine in my layouts and headlines. However, I’m always strict about using the EXACT colors, fonts, language and image styles of the brand I’m writing a newsletter for.

Identify the platform.

Use Mailchimp and thank me later.


So you have your template, information and email list. Some things to keep in mind and take advantage of:

  1. Don’t forget the footer! Include your social media handles, website, and any other contact information.
  2. Auto-reply is an amazing tool to “stay in touch” when certain actions are performed by your subscribers. Confirm subscriptions, orders, and inquiries.
  3. Don’t reveal it all so fast. The goal is to make your subscriber take action, even if it’s a simple visit to your site to finish reading the article you teased them with.

Measure Your Success

Split Testing Your Emails

Creating a subject line is literally the most dreadful thing in the world. If you’re just starting out, try sending the same newsletter with three different subject lines. Most platforms include detailed analytics that give enormous insight to who likes your content.

Part of those analytics include reports on how many people opened your emails. Measure the success rate of the three varieties and use that to distinguish what kind of subject lines result in better read rates.

When writing subject lines try to be as personal as possible. For example, when announcing a new service or product

Don’t:  “This just in, we are now offering ___”

Do: “You asked, we listened”

Click Through Rates

These lovely insights also include which links are most liked in your newsletter. Analyze that. Stop linking the “contact” page on your website.

Tip: Link all of your photos to your website. This helps with SEO.


Sometimes people break up with you. Once again, use your analytics to measure the unsubscribe rate and evaluate the difference in content from a time where, well – people stuck around.

Top 2 reasons why users Unsubscribe:

  • You’re spammy. Stop sending so much emails.
  • There is zero value for the subscriber in the content you deliver.

Let us know how it goes! And feel free to reach out with any questions! We’re here to help.


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Alla Malina


I’ve always been in love with all things hospitality as I believe that food brings us together, and drinks keep us together. After some time operating restaurants, I ventured out to my own restaurant consulting company (CHIVE CREATIVE CO.) that focuses on the freedom of creativity in all respects and have had the honor to work with some top tier chefs and companies. I enjoy discussing topics of gastronomy and tapping into the undiscovered corners of the restaurant industry. Also, family meals need to be streamlined.

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