The Growing Value of Standalone Newsletters | What’s New in Publishing

Publishers view newsletters as separate products, driving engagement and revenue

Previously, newsletter strategy focused exclusively on driving traffic to publisher websites, with click-through rates being the most important metric. Increasingly, however, publishers see newsletters as more than traffic engines, developing them as distinct, standalone products that will cement audience engagement and even drive e-commerce revenue.

Take away food

  • According to members of a panel at the Newsrewired conference in London last May, newsletters should be treated as “stand-alone products of value”. Representatives from The Guardian, FT and The Economist agreed the form could now stand on its own.
  • To realize their full potential, publishers seek to bring both personality and utility to newsletters. Direct feedback channels are important for creating a sense of community and click-through and open rates, once a key metric, have become secondary to retention and engagement through feedback and survey responses.
  • The deprecation of third-party cookies has shed light on the potential role of newsletters in audience segmentation. And for some time, the focus on subscription revenue has highlighted the role newsletters can play in conversion and retention. FT newsletter manager Sarah Ebner said:

People on a trial are 134% more likely to subscribe if they are signed up for a newsletter. Newsletters are therefore absolutely essential for any type of business offering a subscription or membership offer.

Original content

  • Through a portfolio of over 50 newsletters, The Guardian boasts over a million subscribers. Over the past year, the paper has moved away from curated content linking to web articles. Instead, it launched 10 in-depth newsletters in areas ranging from tech and games to women’s football and the environment.
  • Toby Moses, head of newsletters, described them as the closest thing to a newspaper in the digital space. Unlike continuous updates to website content or constantly refreshing social feeds, newsletters are a finished product that readers have chosen to receive.
  • This presents an ideal opportunity to engage audiences with original content. Archie Bland, newsletter editor of the Guardian’s first edition, said stand-alone Press Gazette newsletters should contain the kind of information readers would want to convey when talking with friends in the pub.

Newsletters feel like they offer a way to talk to readers quite directly, separate from what you can do on the website.

Purchase slips

  • Camilla Cho, vice president of e-commerce at Vox Media, works with titles across the company to integrate e-commerce into their newsletters, adding shopping content to existing offers where appropriate or creating separate e-commerce.
  • She told Digiday that her team is looking at all of the company’s brands to see if they can identify a “shopping-focused” audience that would welcome shopping-related content, either embedded in an existing newsletter or as a newsletter. separate weekly.
  • Brands with existing experience in e-commerce content are best suited for shopping newsletters. Data insights can help identify product categories and retailers of interest to audiences. They also help determine pricing, indicating whether the audience is likely to be high-end shoppers or deal seekers.

These are all good signals that we might get from e-commerce items. Having this as a starting point to be able to create relevant newsletters will be important.

This article originally appeared in Spiny Trends and is republished with permission. Spiny Trends provides the industry news updates and analysis you need to stay in the know if you run a media and publishing business. Subscribe to a weekly email digest here.

Harry L. Blanchard