Strengthening Online PR Efforts with Email Newsletter Best Practices

Tips shared by Jeanne Jennings at the SIPA Conference in Washington, DC

Jeanne Jennings is no stranger to Mequoda. In fact, Jeanne was the guest speaker for a past webinar of ours, entitled Solving Email Delivery Problems. She has also authored several email newsletter design reviews for Mequoda.

At this past SIPA Conference, I took the opportunity to attend the session presented by Jennings. Her session was all about creating a great email newsletter, and reinforced some best practices. As an online editor, I felt it necessary to take good notes while attending this session.

An effective content strategy

All online publishers already know it’s important to have an effective content strategy. But at times, with all of the other tasks we have, it can be easy to lose sight of the components needed for doing so.

During the session, Jennings mentioned three parts that when put together, will make a strong strategy for your content development.

First, always remember that editorials are designed to provide value without requiring a purchase. Share instructions on how to do something that will benefit your audience. I aim to do this every time I sit down to write a post for the Mequoda Daily. Hopefully the information gets to you with some value attached.

Then, when you are creating your promotional materials, make sure they call people to action. If you are promoting a webinar, physical product or special report, incorporate links into the text that point readers directly to the signup page.

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Finally, make sure there is a split between your content and your promotional material. Jeanne recommends following the 60/40 rule, so your content outweighs the promotion, but only slightly.

Effective ways of enhancing your content

Ideal content will have different voices. Constantly having the same voice in your articles can become redundant and begin boring your audience. At the Mequoda Daily we currently have six active writers, which allows for different topics and styles to take the spotlight.

Engaging your audience is another way of keeping users coming back. Offer them polls and quizzes so they can feel part of the site. Their answers may lead you to ways of better meeting their needs as well. For example, you can ask them which ways they prefer to consume your content. If a majority of users responded by asking for apps to use on mobile devices, you’d potentially have a new revenue stream.

Additionally, asking your readers for content submissions would help in gaining a new perspective and engaging the audience. The additional content generation would also help create more depth within your website.

Finally, take some steps to get industry experts to add commentary to your site. You could ask them for interviews or commission them for articles. Bringing in another professional viewpoint will add credibility to your content.

Using email as a source for online PR

After you create a polished email newsletter that utilizes these steps, you can leverage its strength in the world of online PR.

For example, if you have a long email newsletter with five main stories, you can create a press release discussing the educational value and relevance behind each story. You can then submit the press release to online PR distribution websites.

Include a link to a landing page for the email newsletter, complete with the ability to collect the email address of new visitors.

For more about Online PR tips, join me for our Online PR Tips, Tricks and Traps webinar.

Comments
    Bill T.

    I was curious about the 60/40 split.

    We publish a very niche newsletter focusing on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle. We have managed to create a great core group of subscribers really quickly and are planning on offering more content and products to them eventually. Right now our content/promotion ratio is probably 90/10 and we have an open rate of just about 100%. We don’t want to hurt the open rate to promote more but would like to add some promotion.

    Why 60/40, have they done optimization testing to that number and is that kind of a rule of thumb, or is every list a lot different?

    Thanks,

    Bill

    Reply
      Chris S.

      Hi Bill,

      I would say it’s a bit of both. It’s rule of thumb for those who haven’t tested any other ratios, yet all lists are different. It’s important to keep editorial content higher than promotion or people will likely start dropping off the list. It’s great to hear you are experiencing an extremely high open rate. Having strong content and a very niche focus can have some impressive results.

      Thanks for the comment.

      -Chris

      Reply

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