Could your newsletter do with a bit of BuzzFeed’s stickiness? We asked Dan Oshinsky, their Newsletter Editor to share with us their secret sauce. Find out why personality and good content curation really count with Dan’s top 8 tips.
1. The Subject Line + Preheader Really Matter
Your emails are showing up in the same space as emails from family and friends. Subscribers are letting you into their lives. Embrace that. Whenever I’m writing a subject line, I try to make it about the reader as much as possible. And then the preheader just drives home the message. For instance, if the subject line of a Food email is, “This Is YOUR Month” the preheader reads, “February is here, and it’s time to take control and plan out a month’s worth of delicious recipes.” When they work together, it can really give subscribers a reason to click.
2. Don’t Just Have An Audience In Mind — Have A Person
I write every email with two very different BuzzFeed readers in mind. One is a twenty-something friend who’s always busy at work. The BuzzFeed daily email is her link to what’s happening on the internet. The other is my mother, and she’s got a great sense of humor — but I also don’t want to share anything that’s NSFW. Before I send an email, I ask myself: Would my friend like this? Would my mom? If the answer is “yes” to both, it’ll almost always do well.
3. Be Personable/Be Consistent
Again, your email lives in the same inbox as emails from family and friends. This is a space for humans. Be personable, and be a consistent source of awesome stuff. Do that, and subscribers will keep reading (and keep sharing your emails).
4. Write Honest (But Amazing) Headlines
At BuzzFeed, we work hard to make sure our headlines aren’t creating false expectations. If we’re promising the “The 27 Best Moments From The Golden Globe Awards” then those better be the best moments! Don’t trick readers into clicking — readers are too smart for that, and too busy not to unsubscribe from emails that deceive.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Share Stuff That Doesn’t Directly Help You
Our Sunday email of great feature stories is our most-opened email — 40-45% of subscribers open it every week — but it’s also the newsletter that features the most non-BuzzFeed content. Our team curates great stories from around the web, and readers really appreciate that approach. Sharing only BuzzFeed content would drive more clicks in the short run, but this approach has made this a more awesome newsletter that we can continue to grow.
6. Embrace the GIF
I won’t include one in every email. But if there’s a really amazing GIF, I always try to feature it. It’s a great way to make your emails stand out — and they also look great on mobile!
7. Mobile Is What Matters
If you’re not building your emails with mobile readers in mind, you’re losing half your audience. We try to keep the content easy to scroll through on your phone, and our newsletters are fluid-width, which mean that they’ll look fantastic on mobile — and also really good on your desktop.
8. When In Doubt, Feature A Photo Of A Puppy
Massive thanks to Dan for being not only a cool customer, but someone who sends newsletters that many of us regularly look forward to. To receive their regularly hilarious, sometimes animated and always irresistible emails, sign up here.