Charlie Meyerson              708-TEQ-NEWS©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Who	  am	  I	  ...	  and	  why	  am	  I	  here?	                 	  I	  worked	                      here	  for	          ...
Who	  am	  I	  ...	  and	  why	  am	  I	  here?	                          	  But	                    before	              ...
Who	  am	  I	  ...	  and	  why	  am	  I	  here?	                          	  But	                    before	              ...
...	  And	  why	  is	  radio	  relevant	  to	  email	  and	       audience	  development?	  Because	  ...	           ©	  M...
Radio’s	  been	  fighJng	  tuneout	             since	  the	  early	  20th	  Century:	                                     ...
Now,	  for	  everyone	  ...	   ...	  Whether	  you’re	  peddling	  shoes	  or	    news,	  the	  compeJJon	  is	  just	  a	...
Show	  of	  hands:	  •  How	  many	  of	  you	  check	  Facebook,	  TwiQer	  and	     email	  regularly?	  •  How	  many	 ...
Do	  young	  people	  skip	  email?	     A	  friend	  describes	  “ Twenty-­‐somethings	  who	     neither	  check	  nor	 ...
Assuming	  they	  use	  email	  ...	  (and	  if	  they’ve	  given	  you	  their	  email	  addresses,	     they’re	  confirm...
It’s	  the	  wri7ng.	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
WriJng	  for	  digital	  media	  ...	  isn’t	  much	  different	  from	  wriJng	  in	           general.	  What’s	  always	...
WriJng	  for	  digital	  media	                        The	  difference	  is	  ...	       ...	  now	  we	  know	  what	  wo...
The	  right	  email	  at	  the	  right	  Jme,	  with	  the	  right	            content	  and	  the	  right	  subject	  lin...
It’s	  the	  wri7ng	  ...	     ...	  and	  watching	  how	  that	  wriJng	                     works	  for	  the	  audienc...
It	  turns	  out	  ...	  	             WriJng	  for	  the	  Web	  has	  a	  lot	  in	                common	  with	  wriJn...
Secrets	  to	  geang	  people	  not	  to	  tune	  out	  	  -­‐-­‐	  for	  radio	  and,	  it	  turns	  out,	  just	  about	...
Secrets	  to	  geang	  people	  not	  to	  tune	  out	  	  -­‐-­‐	  for	  radio	  and,	  it	  turns	  out,	  just	  about	...
But	  what	  are	  the	  most	  interesJng	  words?	    • 	  	  Develop	  a	  sense	  of	  the	  wider	  world’s	    prior...
©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
By	  your	  clicks	  shall	  ye	  know	  them	  	  The	  People	  Formerly	  Known	  As	  the	  Audience	      are	  telli...
The	  joy	  of	  email	  •  Summon	  your	  most	  devoted	  users	  at	  will	  •  Your	  biggest	  fans	  share	  their	...
But	  ...	  ...	  Ya	  goQa	  get	  ’em	  in	                the	  door.	                  So	  ...	    ©	  Meyerson	  201...
Would	  you	  do	  this?	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
No,	  but	  many	  companies	  do	  just	  that.	  	  ...	  by	  failing	  to	  use	  Subject	  and	  From	  fields	       ...
Use	  your	  Subject	  and	  From	  fields	  wisely	  InteresJng	  words	  first	           	  	   Don’t	  repeat	  Subject	...
Compare	  these	  to	  those	  in	  the	  previous	  screens.	               Which	  would	  you	  click?	                ...
©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Anatomy	  of	  an	  email	  turd	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Anatomy	  of	  an	  email	  turd	  Consider	  what	  we	  see,	  word	  for	  word	  ...	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
“Unbeatabl...”	  what?	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
“Oh,	  that’s	  what	  a	  circular	  is	  ...”	       ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
So	  ...	  What	  are	  the	  odds	  you’ll	  open	  the	  next	  email	   you	  get	  from	  these	  guys,	  if	  it’s	  ...
©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
What’s	  your	  audience	     interested	  in?	   ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Watch	  your	  clicks.	  •  LiQle-­‐clicked	  items	  amid	  more-­‐clicked	  items.	         ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Are	  you	  out	  of	  sync?	                                                                  	      More-­‐clicked	  ite...
©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Headlines	  that	  work	  Two	  kinds	  of	  headlines:	  •  Search-­‐engine-­‐op:mized	  headlines.	    	  Good	  for	  s...
‘Curiosity	  gap’	  The	  difference	  between	  what	  you	  know	  and	               what	  you	  want	  to	  know	     ...
SEO-­‐friendly	  headline	  techniques	  •  Place	  the	  storys	  most	  interes:ng	  word	  or	     phrase	  as	  close	...
Elements	  of	  Style:	  Use	  definite,	           specific,	  concrete	  language	  •  Regardless	  of	  headline	  or	  w...
‘Curiosity	  gap’	  headlines	  •  Assume	  most	  people	  aren’t	  interested.	      Write	  headlines	  to	  engage	  p...
‘Curiosity	  gap’	  headlines	  •  Simple,	  direct	  headlines	  (with	  generic	  nouns	     for	  unfamiliar	  names).	...
Most-­‐clicked	  headline	  ever?	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	                              -­‐-­‐	  Credit	  for	  headline:	  ...
...	  or	  maybe	  more	  so:	                                 With	  a	  puppy.	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
‘Curiosity	  gap’	  headlines	  •  Ques:ons:	  ‘Who	  was	  Deep	  Throat?’	  •  Ellipses,	  teases:	  ‘NaJon’s	  faQest	 ...
The	  power	  of	  YOU	  •  Works	  with	  SEO-­‐friendly	  headlines.	  •  Works	  with	  “curiosity	  gap”	  headlines.	...
The	  case	  for	  sentence	  case	                     ...	  vs.	  Title	  Case	  for	  headlines:	  •  Concrete	  nouns	...
Find	  proper	  nouns:	  ©	  Meyerson	  2013	  
Charlie Meyerson*              708-TEQ-NEWS   *Feature this presen...
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A cheer for email - Charlie Meyerson


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Why is email still the most valuable communications medium for reaching your most loyal followers? How can you make sure you reach as many of them as possible? How can you best reach those who (think they) aren't interested in what you have to share?

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A cheer for email - Charlie Meyerson

  1. 1. Charlie Meyerson 708-TEQ-NEWS©  Meyerson  2013  
  2. 2. Who  am  I  ...  and  why  am  I  here?    I  worked   here  for   13  years:   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  3. 3. Who  am  I  ...  and  why  am  I  here?    But   before   and  a>er   that,  I   worked   in  radio   news  for   more   than  20   years:   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  4. 4. Who  am  I  ...  and  why  am  I  here?    But   before   and  a>er   that,  I   worked   in  radio   news  for   more   than  20   years:   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  5. 5. ...  And  why  is  radio  relevant  to  email  and   audience  development?  Because  ...   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  6. 6. Radio’s  been  fighJng  tuneout   since  the  early  20th  Century:   For  radio   (and,  later,  TV),   the  compeJJon  has   almost  always  been  a   click  away.  hQp://   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  7. 7. Now,  for  everyone  ...   ...  Whether  you’re  peddling  shoes  or   news,  the  compeJJon  is  just  a  click   away.   How  do  you  keep  an  audience?  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  8. 8. Show  of  hands:  •  How  many  of  you  check  Facebook,  TwiQer  and   email  regularly?  •  How  many  check  all  three  at  least  once  a  day?  •  How  many  of  you,  when  you  check  them,  scroll   all  the  way  back  to  the  last  item  you  checked  ...   •  On  TwiQer?   •  On  Facebook?   •  On  email?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  9. 9. Do  young  people  skip  email?   A  friend  describes  “ Twenty-­‐somethings  who   neither  check  nor  respond  to  email  when  not   on  work  hours.”   Common  or  not?  Discuss.  (Even  if  so,  “work  hours”  is  a  preQy  sweet  spot.)   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  10. 10. Assuming  they  use  email  ...  (and  if  they’ve  given  you  their  email  addresses,   they’re  confirming  not  only  that  they  do,  but   that  they’re  willing  to  hear  from  you  and  that   they’re  the  sort  of  people  who  look  at  email   once  in  a  while)   ...  How  do  you  get  people  to  open  it?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  11. 11. It’s  the  wri7ng.  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  12. 12. WriJng  for  digital  media  ...  isn’t  much  different  from  wriJng  in   general.  What’s  always  been  interesJng,  what’s  always  been  can’t-­‐ put-­‐it-­‐down,  is  s7ll  interesJng,  can’t-­‐ put-­‐it-­‐down.  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  13. 13. WriJng  for  digital  media   The  difference  is  ...   ...  now  we  know  what  works  and   what  doesn’t.  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  14. 14. The  right  email  at  the  right  Jme,  with  the  right   content  and  the  right  subject  line:   ...  o>en  achieved  Tribune  Co.  editorial   newsleQer-­‐leading  60  percent  clickthrough   rates  –  60  clicks  per  100  subscribers.   And  it  went  to  tens  of  thousands  of   subscribers.   How?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  15. 15. It’s  the  wri7ng  ...   ...  and  watching  how  that  wriJng   works  for  the  audience.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  16. 16. It  turns  out  ...     WriJng  for  the  Web  has  a  lot  in   common  with  wriJng  for   broadcasJng  –  wriJng  for  the  ear.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  17. 17. Secrets  to  geang  people  not  to  tune  out    -­‐-­‐  for  radio  and,  it  turns  out,  just  about  anything   on  the  Web:   Omit  needless  words.   -­‐-­‐  Will  Strunk,  The  Elements  of  Style,  1918   TwiQer.  TexJng.   Tiny  smartphone  screens,  2013.   Need  we  say  more?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  18. 18. Secrets  to  geang  people  not  to  tune  out    -­‐-­‐  for  radio  and,  it  turns  out,  just  about  anything   on  the  Web:   •   Select  the  most  interesJng  word  or   phrase.   •   Make  that  the  first  element  of  your   story  (and,  in  email  and  on  the  Web,   your  headline  or  subject  line),  and  let   your  wriJng  flow  from  there.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  19. 19. But  what  are  the  most  interesJng  words?   •     Develop  a  sense  of  the  wider  world’s   prioriJes  by  checking  sites  like  Google   Trends  <>   •   And  develop  a  sense  of  your  audience’s   prioriJes  by  monitoring  clicks.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  20. 20. ©  Meyerson  2013  
  21. 21. By  your  clicks  shall  ye  know  them    The  People  Formerly  Known  As  the  Audience   are  telling  you  what  they  want.    In  doing  so,  they’re  telling  you  how  to  get   them  interested  in  content  they  may  think   they’re  not  interested  in.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  22. 22. The  joy  of  email  •  Summon  your  most  devoted  users  at  will  •  Your  biggest  fans  share  their  interests  •  Lingers  in  in-­‐box,  unlike  the  rivers  of  TwiQer   and  Facebook  •  Fixed,  unlike  Web  site  front  pages  –  and  so   easier  to  gauge  elements’  popularity  •  Heat  maps  make  paQerns  easy  to  spot   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  23. 23. But  ...  ...  Ya  goQa  get  ’em  in   the  door.   So  ...   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  24. 24. Would  you  do  this?  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  25. 25. No,  but  many  companies  do  just  that.    ...  by  failing  to  use  Subject  and  From  fields   wisely.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  26. 26. Use  your  Subject  and  From  fields  wisely  InteresJng  words  first       Don’t  repeat  Subject   Don’t  echo  From   from  day  to  day   fields  in  Subject   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  27. 27. Compare  these  to  those  in  the  previous  screens.   Which  would  you  click?   Note  how  few  words  you  get  here.   If  the  future  is  mobile,  now  more  than  ever,   every  word  –  every  syllable  –  counts.   Strunk  &  White:  Omit  needless  words.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  28. 28. ©  Meyerson  2013  
  29. 29. Anatomy  of  an  email  turd  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  30. 30. Anatomy  of  an  email  turd  Consider  what  we  see,  word  for  word  ...  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  31. 31. “Unbeatabl...”  what?  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  32. 32. “Oh,  that’s  what  a  circular  is  ...”   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  33. 33. ©  Meyerson  2013  
  34. 34. So  ...  What  are  the  odds  you’ll  open  the  next  email   you  get  from  these  guys,  if  it’s  labeled  and   subject-­‐lined  the  same  way?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  35. 35. ©  Meyerson  2013  
  36. 36. What’s  your  audience   interested  in?   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  37. 37. Watch  your  clicks.  •  LiQle-­‐clicked  items  amid  more-­‐clicked  items.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  38. 38. Are  you  out  of  sync?     More-­‐clicked  items  among  liQle-­‐clicked  items.©  Meyerson  2013  
  39. 39. ©  Meyerson  2013  
  40. 40. Headlines  that  work  Two  kinds  of  headlines:  •  Search-­‐engine-­‐op:mized  headlines.    Good  for  story-­‐level  placement.  •  “Curiosity  gap”-­‐opJmized  headlines.      Good  for  front-­‐page  and  email  placement,  for   print  publica:ons  ...  and  for  social  media   (TwiEer,  Facebook).   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  41. 41. ‘Curiosity  gap’  The  difference  between  what  you  know  and   what  you  want  to  know   Like  The  Onion,  the  editorial  team  at  Upworthy  begins  with  dozens   of  headlines  and  works  on  them  un7l  they  create  what  Mr.  [Eli]   Pariser  called  “a  curiosity  gap”  —  a  need  to  know  more  that   prompts  the  impulse  to  click  on  something.   -­‐-­‐  David  Carr,  The  New  York  Times   hQp://­‐guys-­‐made-­‐a-­‐web-­‐site-­‐and-­‐this-­‐is-­‐what-­‐they-­‐got/   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  42. 42. SEO-­‐friendly  headline  techniques  •  Place  the  storys  most  interes:ng  word  or   phrase  as  close  as  possible  to  the  start  of  the   headline.  •  Simple,  direct  headlines  (with  familiar   names).  •  “How-­‐to”  or  “Why”  headlines.  •  Accentuate  the  posi:ve.  Say  what  did  happen,   not  what’s  unchanged  or  stable.   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  43. 43. Elements  of  Style:  Use  definite,   specific,  concrete  language  •  Regardless  of  headline  or  wriJng  style  ...   Consider  words’  “point  value.”   hQp://­‐Games-­‐1520-­‐ Man-­‐Bites/dp/B000087BDT   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  44. 44. ‘Curiosity  gap’  headlines  •  Assume  most  people  aren’t  interested.   Write  headlines  to  engage  people  who  think  they’re   not  interested,  and  your  core  audience  will  sJll  be   there  for  you.  (Dare  them  not  to  be  interested.)  •  Play  down  loca:on.  (Except  for  famous  locaJons.)  •  Play  down  names.  (Except  for  famous  names.)   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  45. 45. ‘Curiosity  gap’  headlines  •  Simple,  direct  headlines  (with  generic  nouns   for  unfamiliar  names).   The  most-­‐clicked  Internet  headline  (or  most-­‐ read  newspaper  headline)  ever  might  be  ...   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  46. 46. Most-­‐clicked  headline  ever?  ©  Meyerson  2013   -­‐-­‐  Credit  for  headline:  Paul  Muth,  Concordia  University  
  47. 47. ...  or  maybe  more  so:   With  a  puppy.  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  48. 48. ‘Curiosity  gap’  headlines  •  Ques:ons:  ‘Who  was  Deep  Throat?’  •  Ellipses,  teases:  ‘NaJon’s  faQest  city  is  ...’  •  Pull-­‐quotes:  ‘Suck  it  up,  wussies.’   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  49. 49. The  power  of  YOU  •  Works  with  SEO-­‐friendly  headlines.  •  Works  with  “curiosity  gap”  headlines.   hQp:// arJcles/secondperson-­‐ narraJve-­‐enthralling-­‐you, 30380/   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  50. 50. The  case  for  sentence  case   ...  vs.  Title  Case  for  headlines:  •  Concrete  nouns  drive  traffic.  •  The  most  concrete  concrete  nouns  are  Proper  Nouns.  •  So  why  not  make  Proper  Nouns  easier  to  find?   A  demonstraJon  ...   ©  Meyerson  2013  
  51. 51. Find  proper  nouns:  ©  Meyerson  2013  
  52. 52. Charlie Meyerson* 708-TEQ-NEWS *Feature this presentation at your next birthday party or bar mitzvah. Business cards available. ©  Meyerson  2013  
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