Canned newsletters can hurt your marketing

It takes time to write, format, and distribute newsletters. That’s why many of you turn to providers of canned newsletter content. It saves time when you must do nothing more than drop in your name, contact information, logo, and maybe your photo and some disclosures. Canned newsletters like this can save you time. But they undercut your reputation if readers realize that your content is prepared by someone else (and you haven’t acknowledged it).

Duplication of canned newsletters

For awhile, I’ve been receiving duplicate newsletters from two financial advisors. You can see the evidence in the screen shot from my email inbox. The email subject lines and the text previews are identical. Only the names of the senders, which I’ve blocked out, differ.

duplicate copies of canned newsletters

The text inside the newsletter is identical, too, except for the firm’s name, logo, and disclosures.

Both newsletters also share this clunky sentence: To help you enjoy the moment, consider delegating away as many worries to people you trust. What the heck does that mean? I suspect the writer meant to say “To help you enjoy the moment, consider delegating away as many worries as possible to people you trust.” If you’re going to use canned content, try to pick a provider who uses strong writers.

Initially, I only received newsletters from __ Advisory Group, not __ Management Group. Back then, I was impressed by the sender’s creativity in curating content from diverse sources.  But then duplicate newsletters started turning up. As you can see from the screen shot, the second newsletter arrived within two minutes of the first, making it easy to spot the duplication. The newsletter was no less clever, but its lack of originality became apparent.

If you must use a canned newsletter…

…customize it.

Some simple tweaks might have prevented me from noticing the duplication. For example:

    • Changing the email subject line
    • Sending your newsletter at a different time than your competitors—I imagine that the content provider suggests a default send time. If I’d received one of these newsletters on a Tuesday and another on a Friday, I might not have noticed the duplication. In fact, I might not have noticed it if one newsletter arrived at 8 a.m. and other at 4 p.m. on the same day.
    • Changing the message inside to show a bit of your personality—Of course, you should check that your licensing agreement with your provider allows you to edit their content. Need tips for showing some personality? Read “How to add personality and warmth to your financial writing–Part one.”

Looking for a provider of ready-to-use content? You’ll find some in “Ready-to-use content for financial advisors.”