5 New Sources to Mine Email Content
Let's face it, finding content that subscribers absolutely love is difficult. After publishing a newsletter for years, the well feels tapped and ideas start to dry up. Pushing something out to readers that you know isn’t the most engaging content leaves a bad feeling behind. But the calendar says an issue is due — out it must go!
To help oil the idea-generation engine, here are five sources for content that you may not have considered. Depending on the lead time required for your publication, some may be a better fit than others. But any new resource is a good resource when you're struggling to generate content.
1. Evaluate your social media listening data. Does your brand have a Twitter account or Facebook page? These are well-known informational gold mines. Using tools like Radian6 or Nielsen’s BuzzMetrics for broader listening purposes is common. Consider a listening tool to evaluate content themes that resonate with your audience — e.g., current news items, topics that are a constant source of chatter. These insights can help identify new topics or even provide new ways of looking at old topics that can spur ideas.
2. Ask your readers. And by readers, I mean subscribers of both your emails and your social media programs. Post a poll with three topic ideas for an upcoming newsletter and let your readers serve as editorial guides. Just be prepared to follow through on what they choose. This approach also serves as a low-commitment tactic to spur engagement on Facebook, Twitter or within an email.
3. Use site search data. Similar to social listening, evaluating your site search terms and their evolution over time can showcase topical trends that can be tapped into. This near real-time source of data shows what your audience is interested in. While site searchers and email subscribers may be two different audiences, remember that this exercise isn’t necessarily about finding a silver bullet topic. It's about triggering ideas that can be more broadly used.
4. Repackage evergreen content/concepts. This content doesn’t expire and is consistently engaging. Similar to a "greatest hits" collection, these topics are perennial winners which generate substantial opens, clicks, comments and conversions every time they're rolled out. Maybe you're tired of some topics, but perhaps your readers aren't.
5. Play off of current events. While tougher to do if there are long lead times in your publishing cycle, leveraging current events related to your business is a great way to catch the interest of a reader. For example, my financial institution recently sent me an email with the following subject line: "Tax Cuts Clarified." Upon opening the email, I was confronted by the lead article, "What the New Tax Law Means for You." Keep abreast of events that have meaning to your readers, and use them to your advantage.
Notice a common theme amongst all of these approaches? They're all rooted in using data that your audience is expressing an interest in. That helps remove one of the hardest elements of coming up with a topic: Will my readers care?
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