Email newsletters are an important tool in the publishing toolkit — with a set of diverse uses for your enterprise. Unlike distributed content (like social and search), email is one of the few ways — and perhaps the most important way — news organizations can reach audiences digitally outside their own site. You control virtually the entire experience: the tone, timing, content, design. You have access to powerful analytics and can alter the product easily based on them.
But first you have to decide what exactly you’re trying to accomplish. Namely: Are you trying to offer a distinct, self-contained reading experience? Or are you trying to encourage audiences to come to your site?
You must grasp the broad, then specific, technical, editorial and management skills necessary for effective email. You must understand how newsletters function and the mechanics necessary to send them effectively. A good newsletter requires a valuable commodity in newsrooms: time. So you’ll also learn more about what’s required to consistently produce a good newsletter. Skill and discipline is required to build and grow an email subscriber list, which also requires technical expertise and tracking kill digital metrics. Email is also a tool that can deepen your audience’s engagement and loyalty with your newsroom. Email has a range of powerful analytics that can help you improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. But you must track the metrics most important to indicate whether your newsletters are working. (Spoiler: it’s more than open and click-through rates). Finally, you need to grasp how email can be monetized and the different ways to directly, or indirectly, create a new revenue stream with email.