Newsletters are a fantastic way to connect with your digital audience. They are like the magazine of the digital world (Digital magazines are NOT the magazine of the digital world, but that’s another topic altogether). Because we call them newsletters, we treat them like print newsletters: a couple of columns, photos, and a lot of text. We assume that readers will want this because that’s what we have fed them in print-world.
I am throwing down the gauntlet and saying that it is wrong. Here are ten reasons to NOT use images in your email newsletters.
1. They load faster
Nothing slows down quick-hit info packets like slow-to-load content slugs. Worse, if your overworked producer is taking shortcuts and not optimizing the images for email (reducing the resolution, sizing the image properly, etc.) the content slug gets even logier.
Here’s an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a publishing buddy of mine. It is about how media companies can dig their way out of the hole they find themselves in: print revenue is still down, digital revenue may be up, but not enough to cover print’s losses, staffs still cut to the bone, and seemingly double the deliverables with editors being forced to make magazines and also feed the websites.
I’ve been thinking long and hard for at least a few years about how the publishing industry will salvage their brands in media’s shifting landscape.
A publishing company I worked with recently had some very similar demographics to what I saw at yours:
- Half the magazine readers will be retired in 10 years
- Another third will be dead
- The rest check their smartphones incessantly.
- Mobile is an extremely important piece of the new media landscape (I even wrote a blog about it).
Dan’s efficiency tip of the [time period*]:
As a professional, it is your responsibility to find ways to cut time from everyday tasks. If it takes you an hour to do something, figure out how to do it in 55 minutes, or 50 minutes. If you do that with a few tasks, then you’ve just gained 10% efficiency. Now you can do more with your 40 hours.
In carpentry, its akin to marking the edge of a stud and using a speed square as a cutting guide, rather than marking the stud, getting out your speed square, drawing a line, putting your pencil and speed square away, and then cutting the stud.
Editors: Your job is about to get outsourced — and that’s a good thing. Because it means knowledge workers doing less monkey-work.
During my career as a carpenter, I felt like I was in a safe place because building houses could never be automated. 3-D printers are about to take that safety net away. Moving into an editorial career, again, I felt secure that my job couldn’t be automated away. I believe that still to be true, but the job is changing dramatically. Five years ago when one of my colleagues told me that he thought we (as editors) would be entering content directly into a CMS rather than Word, the idea sounded pretty foreign. But that was exactly the focus of my last editorial position, when Hanley Wood recruited me to move their residential construction group to a digital-first workflow.
An automatic copy editor?
Most people find apps by browsing the various app stores. The second most common way is through word of mouth (Facebook is the new ‘word-of-mouth). This is why I have said for a long time that responsive design websites are a better investment than apps—because Google is so good at getting users to information solutions. Also, building a website is cheaper than building an app.
Now, according to SearchEngineLand.com, Apple is getting with the program and looking to improve their search. Their first run at maps left a lot to be desired, as has their search function within the App Store. I suspect over time, App Store search will improve enough to make it a non-issue. This looks to be the first step.
Read more at SearchEngineLand.com: Apple Broadening App-Store Search With Related Keywords.
InfoGraphic on Las Vegas Housing Data
About 10 years ago I was at a FOLIO: Show presentation by a Time Inc. executive who said something like:
“The future of publishing is that you will have to do more with less. You might as well get used to it.”
He has been correct every single year of my career since then. Over those years, I have found ways to accomplish this at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, Fine Homebuilding (magazine and web), and most recently, at Builder magazine. The three publications are very different, but two underlying strategies worked at all three places:
- Build a bank of content from which to withdraw
- Find rich veins to mine, in order to replenish the bank.
Here is one example of an infographic that accomplishes both: A redesigned Builder magazine department featuring charts and graphics pulled from a big-data website.
Forget about controlling a corner of the web; put your stuff where the readers are
I have long thought that the best way to build a web presence was to embrace reality rather than compete with it. YouTube is better at video serving than I am. Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress make consistent pages on a more stable platform than a series of HTML pages that I can build in Dream Weaver. iTunes can distribute a home made radio or TV show for me. Flickr and Picasa will host my photos and give me slideshows. And why would I try to build a forum community, when there are already communities at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
If you can’t beat them, join them
And there are bazillions of other third-party sites that can solve problems for you right now for zero investment. SmugMug allows you to open a professional photography store. Google allows you to