What Email Marketers Can Learn From the Newspaper Industry

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Photo by Elijah O'Donell on Unsplash

I often tell my email marketing clients at that they should think like a newspaper editor when building their email marketing campaigns. Despite the newspaper industry’s slide in fortunes in recent years, there is still plenty we can learn from the once great press barons.

  1. Make headline news: Your subject lines need to tell the full story to entice your recipients to read more. Just as a dull and uninspiring headline will do little to sell newspapers, a subject line like “January Newsletter” risks sending your email directly to the trash folder.
  2. Quality over quantity: In much the same way a newspaper with a targeted and affluent readership can demand higher advertising premiums than a mass-market publication, the quality of your list will always outweigh the physical size of it.
  3. Multiple editions: Just like a newspaper might publish different editions throughout the day or for the various regions it serves, you should segment your lists according to your subscribers' interests, previous purchases or subscription requests.
  4. The fold: Technically there is no fold online (or if there is — it moves around depending on what device you are viewing the email on). There has been a great deal of debate about how “the fold” affects email marketing. But one thing is for sure — a solid call to action at the top of your email will be far more clickable than one hidden at the bottom.
  5. Briefs: A brief is a short story that can be read in seconds as the reader scans the page. If you are to have more than one offer or piece of information in your email newsletter, keep any secondary offers short and to the point.
  6. Multiple streams of revenue: Newspapers make money from sales, sponsorship, advertising and reader promotions (where revenue is shared with third-party vendors). Could your email newsletter help you find alternative streams of revenue?
  7. Deadlines: There are no physical deadlines in email marketing, so don’t force self-impossed deadlines on yourself and commit to sending copy that you are not 100% happy with.
  8. Proofread: A Journalist very rarely edits his or her own copy. Before it goes to print it will have been seen by several copy editors/proofreaders. Whenever possible, always run your email copy past a fresh pair of eyes before hitting the send button.
  9. Canvas for subscriptions: Newspapers regularly call potential readers with special offers and incentives for subscriptions. You should always be looking for new email subscribers with prominent forms on every page of your website and regular social media promotions. Use incentives to drive subscriptions and remember a free newsletter isn’t a subscription.
  10. Don’t get complacent: The newspaper industry did and despite have a virtual monopoly in terms of news distribution and advertising, the industry has been brought to its knees by more agile, disruptive technologies. Keep your eyes on the horizon and focus on opportunities that drive value and engagement with your target audience.

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Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile: https://amzn.to/2OO5DR5

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