Why Harvard Health Publications includes press releases in its email marketing mix
Harvard Health Publications makes its email newsletter subscribers feel like privileged members of the fourth estate.
As part of its email marketing strategy, the publisher sends out only four email messages monthly, often mailing a modification of its press releases to the 50,000 subscribers to HEALTHbeat, its free email newsletter.
“The feedback we got when we started mailing press releases to our subscribers was overwhelmingly positive,” say Ed Coburn, Publishing Director, Harvard Health Publications. “People love the press release format. We told subscribers that they’re getting the press release at the same time we’re sending it out to the media. When you’re Harvard Medical School, there’s an assumed importance to it. People are predisposed to read it.”
Press releases figure prominently in the publisher’s email marketing strategy. Each newsletter generates at least one press release monthly, and additional press releases announce the publication of various special health reports.
Syndicated articles that appear on other publisher’s websites, such as MSN.com and Newsweek.com, often refer back to health.harvard.edu, providing thousands of additional valuable incoming links that enhance search engine optimization and drive additional online traffic to the Harvard websites. According to Mr. Coburn, about 30-40 percent of the traffic to health.harvard.edu arrives via these routes.
A more significant amount of traffic comes to the site via organic search, Mr. Coburn says, because users tend to search at Google or Yahoo or MSN.com by illness or drug name, rather than at a specific health-related website.
So, as part of its email marketing strategy, the publisher also works to optimize its press releases for search engine optimization.