Speaker: Celeste LeCompte, vice president of business development at ProPublica
ProPublica’s audience, Celeste LeCompte argues, is true crime fans. They realized this when they first created a real podcast-like series of six episodes for people that were very enthusiastic about crime investigation. It was an undivided success: they gained near 11 000 new subscribers. Every email of the podcast had a 70% increase open rate. The time spent on each article was longer than average. The reach of this series also reflected itself in real life: readers, for example, showed up at the trial.
One of the reasons why this was so successful, LeCompte says, is the power of pop-up newsletter. Newsletters are now a big piece of ProPublica’s business, allowing them to maintain a close relationship with their audience and to attract new donors to support their work, increasing the number of readers dramatically, They also helped building a long-term relationship with their donors and readers.
The next experiment was creating an eight-email course targeted to young voters or newly engaged people in politics. They promised readers that at the end of the series they would be more thoroughly informed and that and they would remain engaged within the community after the election. It was personalized. The emails open rates increased by 55%.
Yet, there are key points to keep in mind: you need to identify an audience, focus on what they want, use pop up newsletters to teach about your brand without marketing people, and build a foundation once you got people’s trust.
As for practical advice on how to improve the relationship with your newsletter’s readers:
- have a clear purpose and a specific audience
- write in a personal voice
- provide an ending to each e-mail
- never miss and update
- provide behind the scenes access
- go deeper with reporting
The results, they promise, are worth it: for ProPublica, it was:
- +10,800 subscribers
- +70% opening rates
- Longer read times
- Real-world engagement
Crédits photo: Ulysse Bellier