A new way to reach your niche audience
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is the sheer volume of the overall online audience. But for most brands, that value has nothing to do with the ability to reach millions or even billions of people. Rather, the opportunity lies in your ability to identify and engage with a niche audience that may be spread across different regions and industries.
The volume lends itself to scalability. And greater scalability means content can become more specialized than ever. One of the results of this scalability is the growing popularity of the journalistic email newsletter, which has been championed by some early adopters and is becoming a more popular method of audience engagement.
As brands invest in a hybrid form of marketing that organizes trained journalists into brand newsrooms, new formats and content are beginning to develop, especially when it comes to content that marketers don’t. couldn’t have created on their own before, either due to a lack of writing skills. or time. Journalistic newsletters are a perfect illustration of how incorporating journalistic elements has taken the newsletter game to a new level while creating a new experience for consumers to enjoy.
Personalized content with a personal touch
Journalistic newsletters do not replace the traditional newsletter, which repackages relevant and recently published content to redistribute it in an email format that can be sent monthly, weekly or even daily.
Instead, journalistic email newsletters are written specifically for your inbox. In many cases, this content cannot even be found publicly at an online destination. You must be a subscriber to access this original and expert content, which creates intimacy and a strong selling point to add your email to the list of subscribers. If the topic of the newsletter is relevant to your professional interests, you are almost obligated to sign up, otherwise you risk missing out on insider content that is freely available to your competitors.
In general, journalistic newsletters should be viewed as smaller publication footprints related to the larger, more general brand newsletter. An outdoor retailer may find a lot of value in a consumer newsletter that highlights new products or sales alongside general content for outdoor adventurers, but they may also see an opportunity to create personalized journalistic newsletters created for a community with specific interests. One of these newsletters can be written by a climbing expert turned journalist, who reports on trends within this discipline while sharing his personal experiences. A similar approach could be taken for consumers interested in triathlons or ultramarathons.
Journalistic newsletters leverage individual expertise to provide a deeper dive into areas of interest to an audience. These can be topics with a broad appeal – personal finance or stock investing, for example – but they can also focus on topics with a much more specialized audience. Thanks to the scalable audience found online, a niche publication can still add tremendous value to broader marketing strategies. That ROI hinges on creating a post that engages its audience and builds a relationship through the email inbox.
Using email to start a dialogue
Whatever form they take, newsletters offer incredible ROI when executed correctly. Digiday reported in 2015 that the New York Times employs a team of 12 responsible for managing dozens of different newsletters, and the organization has seen incredible success with this engagement strategy, with the average newsletter enjoying a gross open rate of over 50%.
Some of these newsletters are built around individual blogs and columns and were created in response to a dedicated audience that wanted deeper engagement with the content. More recently, emerging journalistic newsletters are establishing some best practices for creating content that uses email as a non-public, semi-exclusive channel to increase audience reach and retain audiences.
Image attribution: green chameleon
There are a handful of consistent themes among successful journalistic newsletter imprints.
Newsletters should be written by humans, not RSS feeds
Linking the newsletter to existing website content is an important part of these successful newsletters, but it’s not enough to simply create a newsletter template that embeds the main stories into predefined spaces on the page. the New York Times makes a concerted effort to have human writers create their newsletters, even though those newsletters are primarily aimed at directing traffic to existing articles featured on their website. Journalistic newsletters will inevitably feature similar links, but with the added disadvantage that the written content is the main attraction, rather than just an intro link promotion.
Some content must be exclusive to the newsletter
This is a practical decision affecting your newsletter subscription rate: if consumers can simply visit a page that collects and archives every newsletter you send, their incentive to subscribe drops. Consumers should understand that this content is tailor-made for email and email is the only place it can be found. Turning their inbox into an engagement destination will improve your customer relationships and audience reach.
The author must have a certain weight in the industry
Many successful examples of journalistic newsletters feature an expert content author under the banner of a larger brand. Axios‘ succeeded Pro rata The newsletter is written and published by its renowned editor, Dan Primack. Erin Griffith is managing editor for Wired with a long track record of success, but its popular”Tribute to corporate heroes“TinyLetter is an operation independent of its full-time reporting job.
The key to designing a newsletter: keep it simple, silly
RSS feed style templates for newsletter are based on good web design concepts, but they also have issues when it comes to displaying correctly in different email formats, and they can overwhelm the eye. of the reader with too many links and stories to choose from. If you think of the journalistic newsletter as an intimate correspondence between a brand and its audience, it should reflect this clean approach with a simple and clean design. Pro rata and Completely biasedanother experimental newsletter that saw early success, features very basic designs that take a step back and let the written content speak for itself.
Standard email newsletters still have their place, but a growing trend toward brand journalism is revealing new opportunities to build and deepen connections through content. The journalistic email newsletter is one such way to merge journalism and brand marketing to create a better experience for consumers and create a new asset that generates ROI for years to come.
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