Despite the rise of sexier, more visually appealing communication channels, email newsletters continue to serve an important role, acting as a digital missive that is outbound in nature, pushed to a subscriber’s inbox. Once there, though, it needs to attract enough attention to compel the reader to open it (amid all the inbox clutter); it needs to provide a balance of great content that doesn’t take the reader too long to consume; and it must produce measurable results that serve the publisher’s goals.
“SHIFT Happens,” the email newsletter from mid-sized PR agency SHIFT Communications, executes brilliantly on all these requirements, leading us to award it the prize for Best Electronic Publication/E-newsletter in Ragan’s 2014 Content Marketing Awards. Anyone interested in the PR and digital spaces will benefit from “The Big Idea,” the opening section that shines a light on a single news item that readers should pay attention to, even if they don’t have time to read anything else in the newsletter. SHIFT follows this with industry news—from media relations tips to measurement updates. SHIFT agency updates finish off the newsletter, showcasing the achievements of staff, new client acquisitions, and other in-house reports.
The newsletter is visually appealing, marrying original graphics, enticing headlines, and short bursts of inviting content before offering a link to the full item on the SHIFT website. Adhering to sound e-newsletter principles, “SHIFT Happens” is a quick read, ensuring most readers will automatically open it again the next time it arrives, knowing they’ll get high value without a huge commitment of time.
The results, though, really sell the entry as an obvious winner, accounting for 15 percent of all business leads generated from online sources and producing ROI of a whopping 404 percent. The audience for “SHIFT Happens” has also grown by 7,000 readers—442 percent—introducing the agency to a whole new group of readers.
We congratulate Christopher Penn, Chel Wolverton, Amanda Grinavich, Zach Burrus, and Tori Sabourin for their extraordinary efforts.