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The next wave of email marketing content

Right from the first email marketing campaign you send, email and content are undeniably connected to each other. But over the years, things have drastically changed: nowadays, we are flooded with content and we interact differently with email...

In the light of this evolution, what is the best practice for combining email with content?

When we come to look at it, there have been lots of changes in email marketing content. Roughly, we can define 4 waves.

1) Batch and blast promotional content
The early days of email marketing, where marketers mainly focused on the database and less on the content itself. Email frequency was moderate and targeted at getting promos out.

2) Increasing importance of content
When email marketing became mainstream, marketers differentiated themselves with a mix of promotional content and value content for their target audience.

3) Social content
This phase added a layer of social content. Brands built their own content platforms or used Twitter, Facebook,… to build a community. This community content was often curated.

4) Selective and highly-valued content
The previous 3 phases mainly focused on creating and adding more content. In this 4th phase we see email marketing content shifting to a ‘less but better’ strategy. Instead of building as much content as possible, marketers invest their valuable time in writing one killer piece of content.
tipmail-6-8What are the 5 building blocks for killer content?

1. Go for less articles and higher frequency
The old newsletter which consisted in numerous articles is slowly fading away. With mobile being the number one opener for email, readers want valuable content in a fast and easy-to-read format. So 8 long read articles in a monthly newsletter is no longer the way to go.
DO: make your emails shorter (why not keep it at 1 must-read article per email?) and increase the frequency of your newsletter. If your content is valuable, you won’t have to worry about rising unsubscribe rates.

2. Maintain quality
As said, marketers used to focus on getting their content out there. They set deadlines, and unfortunately, this influences the quality.
DO: as mentioned in point 1, write less content but spread it over more emails. You will have more time to spend on an article, so make sure it stands out of the crowd.

3. Use a content calendar
Marketers with a fear of writing content mostly don’t have a content calendar to guide them. This easy tool plans your content for months to come. But don’t be too strict in top topicals: leave room for spontaneous content too.
DO: Set up a content plan, but make sure it’s flexible. If a certain unique news item makes a great top topical for your content, don’t hesitate to use it to build your content.

4. Repurpose content
As a brand or company you’ve probably written loads of content. Now is the time to gather and index all this content. It’s an easy but time consuming job. Take your time to sift through your articles and tag the right keywords for each and every one of them.
DO: When you’re writing fresh content, search your content database for earlier content on this subject, and insert links back to older (but still relevant) articles. (PS: you can bet your SEO agency will love this idea)

5. Support content with visuals
Content doesn’t only come in words. The problem with full sentences, is that they require your recipient’s concentration to read and understand them. Visuals, whether or not in combination with keywords or 3-word headlines, can be attractive and easily scanable.
DO: Make sure that you can summarize your story in 1 visual.

Conclusion

We are now catching the 4th wave of content where brands focus on less content but better value, communicated in a higher frequency. Be sure not to miss it…

Posted on
Aug 7, 2015