Email newsletters have long been an essential distribution channel for publishers, but new engagement strategies are evolving to help publishers stand out in a crowded inbox and build an enthusiastic readership.
The Wall Street Journal's Head of Product for Newsletters Annemarie Dooling led a discussion among news audience engagement and product professionals from a dozen publications about the ways in which publishers are keeping readers engaged after they've left the inbox.
The tactics the conversation surfaced for encouraging engagement through the inbox are diverse, and depend on reshaping the newsletter from a one-to-many medium into a one-to-one conversation. By redefining success through meaningful interactions with readers, newsletter editors are building stronger communities of engaged audiences that support the business models powering journalism.
The discussion was convened on August 14 by Tow-Knight Center at CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism for members of its news Audience and Product communities of practice, which bring together journalists working to develop bigger, more engaged audiences and compelling products for a variety of global, national, and innovative niche publishers.
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Richmond's growing reputation as a prime "foodie town" now has a new newsletter to keep score on what's new, interesting and delicious.
Subscribers to Richmond Dines, the Richmond Times-Dispatch's latest email newsletter, will be treated to restaurant reviews, dining news and updates on beer, wine and more in the Richmond area.MORE
Reprinted from News & Tech
Newsletters can be gold. But they require a little more digging than most publishers are doing today.
A lot of publishers use newsletters to push their news content out to readers each day, reaching an audience that wants the news to come to them rather than buying a paper or going to a website. A few also do calendar-oriented newsletters, telling readers about things to do for the weekend.
Those are a good start (and if you aren't doing both of these yet, you should get going), but that isn't where the gold is.
Newsletters also are a great way to create niche products and to test new concepts.MORE
The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., is growing revenue by monetizing newsletters. During last month's P2P video conference call, SNPA members heard how the paper has changed its focus, added or redirected staffing to oversee all newsletters and craft daily news newsletters, and changed its sales approach.
If you missed the call, here's where you can catch up on this GREAT IDEA.MORE
This free, easy-to-use tool was built for newsrooms and freelancers to begin addressing the challenges of newsletter curation. As it stands, newsrooms no longer have the time nor the resources to maintain unfocused newsletter programs that don’t achieve their goals. Opt In is an online tool that gives news organizations, freelancers and regular people the ability to build an e-newsletter strategy from scratch, or create a plan to improve upon an existing one.MORE
When it comes to newsletters, the meat of your product should be the content of the email. However, after launching a brand-new letter or reviving an old one, it's critical that newsrooms make a concentrated push for sign-ups. Many newsrooms use ads in house and on other websites, or opt for an embedded sign-up box in the body of an article or on their landing page. But some are still using the good old pop-up form.
But there's a catch: The pop-up form can be tricky. Sites can be dinged by Google for interrupting or obscuring the reader's experience. So why bother? At nearly 2 percent, the conversion rate for pop-ups is remarkably high, and while using them may interrupt usability, gaining immediate access to a reader's inbox is a powerful tool for newsrooms.
Pop-up forms get a bad rap, but for those sites that are willing to take the risk by using ads to garner subscribers, they make it worth their while.
We've listed five of our favorite, most eye-catching pop-up forms from across the web. Not only are these forms interesting, they actually convince us to sign up for a newsletter we otherwise may have overlooked.MORE
Newsrooms can no longer afford to distribute poorly curated newsletters. Yet executives from many modern newsrooms say they lack the financial and staff capacity to do otherwise. Crosscut Public Media, in partnership with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, will soon be releasing a new, free tool for newsrooms and newsletter curators to begin addressing this challenge.MORE
By Tracy Clark, founder of the technology platform Reportory and a 2015-2016 RJI Fellow
Over the past year, an RJI fellow partnered with the Austin American-Statesman to compare e-newsletter content chosen by the readers to e-newsletter content selected by an editor. See what the paper learned. Does increased personalization of news content result in more satisfied customers?MORE
Email newsletters are far from new, but recently there’s been a resurgence in their popularity. With this renewed interest come new techniques. We look at five innovative approaches to delivering newsletters, inspired by Clover Letter, BuzzFeed and TheSkimm. Reporting by Whitney Matewe.MORE
Tracy Clark, a 2015-2016 RJI Fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, believes newspapers with editor-selected email newsletters would have better engagement rates if the content were personalized to each user’s interest. She is in the midst of a pilot study with a large U.S. newspaper, which is simultaneously publishing two email newsletters: one includes editor-selected news content, the other features reader-selected stories. The personalized newsletters are based on Clark’s Reportory platform.MORE
You get what you measure.
Count the number of bylines a newspaper reporter produces, and you'll likely get more bylines. Track page views closely, and your newsroom will be far more attune to what is driving page views and how to get more of them.
What a news organization includes in the set of metrics that leadership and staff monitor regularly can have some unintended consequences. Distraction from things that are more important, if nothing else. Google Analytics can measure a lot of different things, and there's a temptation to include as many ways of measuring audience as one can cram into a spreadsheet. In the process, staff can get hung up on measuring changes in process instead of changes in outcomes.More
The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., is getting into the horse racing business, acquiring the ownership rights to Steeplechase of Charleston.
P.J. Browning, publisher of The Post and Courier, said at a Thursday announcement at The Dewberry that acquiring the event helps the media company to diversify its portfolio and invest in its community.
"It makes good business sense for all of us here to pay attention to the ways in which Charleston residents and visitors alike embrace our unique events," Browning said. "Thousands of people attend festivals around town each year, and there's every reason that this can and should happen with Steeplechase."More