Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Email Newsletters Get a New Lease on Life

In the cacophony of texts, social media, and the internet that people increasingly access on their smartphones, there is one old-fashioned technology that not only refuses to die, but is flourishing.  Email newsletters (that deliver subscribers targeted information that they have already expressed an interest in) are becoming an essential tool in filtering out the background noise of TMI.  When you get a subscriber email of content you know you want to read, it's almost a relief from the overload of information, misinformation, and disinformation that clogs our bandwidth.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Bloomberg, Fast Company, The New York Times, Politico and many other news organizations are finding that they can grab attention — and readers — in the inbox.

How can that be? With social media, mobile apps and dynamic websites that practically stalk the reader, how can something that sometimes gets caught in a spam filter really be taking off?

Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.

There are some significant countervailing trends, of course. Young people love to text, send instant messages and use Snapchat more than they like using email, and Facebook paid as much as $19 billion for the text service WhatsApp as a bet that email may be on the wane.

Then again, MailChimp, which sends all manner of business-to-consumer emails, is adding more than 10,000 users a day — people who send mass emails and newsletters — according to executives there. The company, founded in 2001, says it sends over 400 million emails a day.

Publishers seeking to stick out of the clutter have found both traction and a kind of intimacy in consumers’ inboxes.

If you think about it, what may seem like a very retro movement — what’s next, faxes? — has relevance in the modern media environment. Increasingly, news is a list that appears on your phone. Whether it’s Twitter, your Facebook stream or a mobile app like NYT Now, news shows up as a list of links. The Drudge Report is nothing more than that, and the site continues to melt publishers’ servers when it points to something.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

An email newsletter generally shows up in your inbox because you asked for it and it includes links to content you have deemed relevant. In other words, it’s important content you want in list form, which seems like a suddenly modern approach.

It helps that email, long dismissed as a festering petri dish of marketing come-ons, has cleaned up its act. Gmail, in particular, has stamped out a lot of spam and segmented the inbox into personal, social and promotional streams that make email much less a mess than it used to be.

It can be valuable real estate. A Quartz study of 940 global executives found that email newsletters trumped the Internet and mobile apps as a source of news.

It makes sense. My personal digital hierarchy, which I assume is fairly common, goes like this: email first, because it is for and about me; social media next, because it is for and about me, my friends and professional peers; and finally, there is the anarchy of the web, which is about, well, everything.

With an email, there is a presumption of connection, of something personal, that makes it a good platform for publishers. Newer email newsletter outfits like TinyLetter, which MailChimp owns, are simple, free and easy to use. TinyLetter has over 100,000 users who reach 9.3 million subscribers, and it has had an increase of 15 percent in the number of newsletters sent in the last year."

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