It seems like we hear year after year that publishers are going to go the way of the dinosaur. Yet, here we are, with publishers continuing to find new ways to connect with readers. In fact, one of the main reasons publishers like magazines and newspapers have avoided going out of business in our modern connected world is because they have embraced digital communication methods.
The New York Times, for example, has completely redesigned their online platform to appeal to digital readers. Many online publishers have also welcomed email marketing with open arms. Delivering an email, after all, is like the modern way of delivering a newspaper or magazine to someone’s doorstep. In fact, it may actually be more convenient than doorstep delivery because most people check their smartphones before they even get out of bed.
Why do publishers need email newsletters?
Why would a publisher with a popular online platform, and possibly even a physical platform, use email newsletters to reach their readers? Wouldn’t people just go straight to the source for information?
The purpose of an email newsletter is not to replace a website or physical publication but to enhance the complete information sharing experience.
Newsletters allow publishers an additional touchpoint with their readers which can help them stay top of mind in an increasingly competitive environment. Plus, email newsletters allow publishers to put personalization into action with targeted newsletters that share the stories certain subscribers will be most interested in.
In fact, studies have shown that personalized emails increase open rates by 26%. A weekly roundup of relevant stories that will most appeal to a subscriber is a great way to increase engagement with that subscriber while also keeping the marketing budget in check. After all, email marketing has an ROI that delivers $38 for every $1 spent.
Want to see the best email newsletters from publishers and get some inspiration to engage and delight your own subscribers? Take a look at these awesome examples of email newsletters that publishers have sent out in the past year:
1. Get your Daily Dose of good stories
If you feel like you can’t keep up with the news these days, you aren’t alone. In fact, 68% of people say they feel “worn out” by all of the news that seems to happen throughout the day. This is largely due to our connected world that allows us to share information from all corners of the Earth faster than ever before.
It also means that many people miss out on great headlines or stories that don’t feature prominent politicians or celebrities. So, how do publications ensure their subscribers see these stories of interest?
Ozy.com delivers the Daily Dose to their email subscribers which offers a look at some of the most interesting stories of the day.
The layout is perfect for a publication newsletter since it shares large images and a small introduction to the story that gets readers hooked. After reading the short paragraph, it’s difficult to simply move on without clicking through and reading the rest of the story.
Using this Daily Dose newsletter, Ozy.com ensures their readers get to see daily content that may not end up being the biggest headlines of the day on major news networks. For their subscribers, it’s a nice way to get information that may not be covered elsewhere.
2. Sharing value-added content
AngelList is not necessarily a publisher. For the most part, it is a hub that connects startups with employees, contractors, and investors. However, in order to differentiate their website from other basic job boards, AngelList has begun to develop relevant content that their users would enjoy.
Of course, such niche content is unlikely to be seen on mainstream media or even social networks. And, unless people are searching for jobs, AngelList is probably not a website they would regularly choose to visit for news or information.
Therefore, AngelList uses email marketing as a method to engage with their subscribers and position their blog as a publication that should be consulted even if you aren’t on the hunt for a new job.
Many brands are becoming publishers, just not in the traditional sense of the word. Blogging has become a popular way to position your brand as an expert in your industry and provide value to subscribers beyond your basic services or products.
AngelList understands the importance of this and uses an email newsletter to grow their brand and keep their subscribers engaged.
3. You don’t have to forget the hard copies
Some publishers fear that embracing digital marketing means giving up on the hard copy they’re known for. However, as Iron and Air shows, your email newsletter can be a tool to grow, support, and enhance your physical copy, not replace it.
Iron and Air announces all of their new issues with an email newsletter that highlights the feature stories, gives glimpses at some of the pages inside the publication, and reinforces the high-quality product people can purchase.
The best email newsletters from publishers don’t give up on the hard copy; they double down on it.
For a publication like Iron and Air, the quality of their publication is a major selling feature. They clearly show off that quality in their email newsletter and get people excited to hold the newest issue in their hands.
4. Bring together similar stories and interests
Many publications cover a wide range of topics. An email newsletter can be used to bring together similar topics into one place for a quick breakdown.
This also offers a hub for readers to see multiple articles or blogs they may not have seen on the front page or in their main feed.
This strategy can obviously be leveraged to improve personalization and relevance for your readers.
By tracking the interests and preferences of users, you can send them more targeted and relevant content that will encourage your subscribers to click through to your website and spend more time reading your content.
National Geographic brought together several pieces of similar content in a newsletter-style announcement of their plastic waste awareness campaign. This newsletter combined an awareness effort with relevant content that helped solidify the importance of this campaign for National Geographic.
The images and headlines used are powerful. Readers can quickly identify what the campaign is about and click on stories they may be interested in to learn more about the situation. Best of all, there is a clear call-to-action.
5. Look back on a year of great content
Publishers are delivering more and more content every day. This means that, over an entire year, there is a lot of content to look back on.
Many publishers, including The New York Times, use the New Year as an opportunity to look back on the previous year and highlight the powerful stories and content that readers have been able to enjoy.
Many brands have opted for year in review campaigns recently. Facebook, Spotify, Uber, and many publications recognize that people want to look back as they move into the next calendar year.
This also provides brands a great opportunity to highlight their best content and remind subscribers about the value they deliver to their inbox with each newsletter.
Don’t be afraid to share the highlights and content that you are proud of. A year in review campaign is a popular way to bring the best of the entire year into one, convenient newsletter.
As a publisher, you know that content is king. Email marketing is simply another effective vehicle by which you can deliver that great content to your subscribers.
Now that you have seen some of the best email newsletters from publishers, hopefully you feel inspired to create your own. Decide when you will deliver your newsletter, how often you want to deliver it, and what kind of content you want to highlight in order to support and enhance your publication.
If publishers are going the way of the dinosaur, they’re following a Jurassic Park trajectory: publishers aren’t dying, but they are using new technology to evolve and become more powerful and more effective than ever before.