Email newsletters are a great way to engage your audience via channels outside of the traditional print and digital. It can be intimidating to get started, but most student media offices find that it’s worth the effort. Growing the audience can be a pain, but e-mail newsletters have consistently high open rates (students really love reading them), and quickly it can become an entirely new revenue stream as advertisers clamor for a spot!
The only requirement to get started is to make sure your team can produce at least one piece of new content once per day. Anything less, and you really won’t have enough material for even a once weekly e-newsletter. Even a tiny team can produce daily content with the right structure and attitude!
Here’s what you need to know to start your own newsletter:
Make sure you track how the ads perform so you can tell future advertisers how well it works (you can measure what percent of subscribers saw the ad, and what percent of viewers clicked on an ad using the tracking features in MailChimp.)
Pro tips to make more money
Once your newsletter is launched, you can optimize in the following ways:
Use MailChimp analytic features. You can A/B test subject lines, meaning that half your subscribers get one subject line and the other half get another. You can test which subject line gets more opens to optimize your newsletter.
Collect audience demographics when they subscribe. Ask them tell you a little bit about themselves (nothing invasive)
Feature sponsored content. If your team is already creating sponsored content for clients, charge a premium to host the sponsored content in your newsletter as well.
Consider multiple newsletters. Again, by segmenting your audience, you can also drill down on what interests them most, and curate content accordingly. Potential topics include: basketball, art, freshmen guide, etc. (For inspiration, see Buzzfeed.)
With a little bit of grit and some determination, your team can start up an email newsletter this semester. E-newsletters are the latest trend in student media that are showing really promising results. The more publishers that produce them, the easier it is for us to sell them to national brands too. So what are you waiting for?