How to keep your e-news in fighting shape!
For those of you striving to keep your e-news content in fighting shape, here are some tips you may wish to incorporate into your next e-newsletter.
E-newsletter lead article must reflect evidence of enterprise. Focus on a hot issue and gather high-value direct quotes from at least five sources. Characterize your e-newsletter package.
One site describes each edition as containing the “Top Ten Stories” from the preceding week. Another site focuses a weekly package of five to seven articles on a specific topic. These practices are preferable to the usual offering of a broad assortment of unrelated items. Content-wise, there’s nothing overtly wrong with the latter approach. You just don’t stand out from the crowd.
Long embedded links offer a more compelling reason to click through. The typical approach seems to be links of three to five words. Instead, some sites use full-sentence leads to pull visitors into linked material.
Include some original thinking in aggregated tease blurbs linking to outsourced news. I’ve seen this idea executed only once during a recent review of 1020 articles collectively posted by 100 B2B sites. This is a case where a daily e-newsletter’s package always consists of linking to posts appearing in daily newspapers or items churned out by wire services. For selected blurbs, the editor includes his take on how the development in question impacts visitors. Copy is set in can’t-be-missed red type.
Think of more inventive ways to present routine news. Good places to start are with personnel announcements and financial report summaries.
Now here are two practices where dramatic improvement is required:
- Avoid ‘un-news’ headlines, especially in convention-oriented articles. This glitch obviously is a carry-over from uncorrected print habits. The test of a good headline is that it reflects the author’s investigative effort. Instead, I see a parade of ‘Association X announces plans for upcoming show” or “Conference sponsor Y expects big turnout at Chicago annual” or “Convention Z program will address several critical issues.” What these heads have in common, aside from obvious flaws, is that all could have been written without consulting a single source.
- Don’t abuse your byline privilege. E-news articles that carry bylines are supposed to reflect the presence of enterprise reporting. Instead, I continue to encounter sites where staff members take bylines on obvious rewrites of submitted press announcements.