If you are already producing an email newsletter or email marketing campaign, you may have all that you need to develop useful website content for your customers. Take a look at how I did this with the college trip planning website, Go See Campus. Then, follow the approach I outline below to find a new use for old email campaigns, save time, and serve your audience better.
Email Marketing for Go See Campus (and the Obvious Opportunity I Was Missing)
In addition to Augmental’s content creation, content marketing, and email marketer services, my company operates Go See Campus. This free website offers high school students, parents, and professionals tools to plan college visits online. For a while now, I have developed and sent monthly e-newsletters to Go See Campus’ audiences. The student / parent email campaign usually included a “College Calendar Check-In” section; each month, the newsletter offered advice about what students and parents could do right now to help their college search. Originally, I decided to make this content only appear in the newsletter. Since the advice focused on a given month, I meant for it to be immediately actionable, and I thought it wouldn’t stay evergreen on a website page. Also, each newsletter included several paragraphs’ worth of advice each month, and there was just never enough time to pull together all twelve months’ worth of advice onto a website page. However, this approach to email marketing has its drawbacks for recipients:
- One-and-done: If you missed the College Calendar Check-in for a given month, it was challenging to find that information again. You would have to visit the Go See Campus email archive and dig through old email marketing messages.
- No future preparation: Students and parents might want to plan for the months ahead, but they would have to wait until the next e-newsletter to get advice from Go See Campus.
- Heavy lifting: It’s likely that some readers will prefer a summary of action items rather than reading through several paragraphs of advice.
The approach also has its drawbacks for Go See Campus:
- Lost content: I spent a lot of time sourcing images, researching and writing content, and working with educational experts in producing the email marketing newsletters. However, they only served their purpose for a few days each month, and then they were gone.
- Ghost readers: Including all of the content in the email campaign gave readers no reason to click through to the Go See Campus website, hindering search engine optimization (SEO) and engagement. I was also limited to tracking engagement with this content based on the email marketing open rate, which doesn’t tell me who read what portion of the newsletters.
- Lost time: With each monthly newsletter, I was developing original content for the calendar section or revising content from a previous year so that it would be different. This added time to an already lengthy process of creating monthly email marketing pieces.
- Not serving recipients: The people getting the emails had to contend with the drawbacks described above. That could send them into the arms of another college website.
How I Saved My Email Marketing Content from the Oblivion
I made the decision to shake things up. My solution was to repurpose many months’ worth of “College Calendar Check-In” articles and to create one single website resource: the College Search Calendar. The College Search Calendar is:
- Evergreen. Other than slight revisions to keep up-to-date with college search trends, I don’t need to rewrite it each month.
- Scannable. A little drop-down menu lets visitors pick their high school class and the current month to get advice. Alternatively, they can look at past and future months to see what they may have missed.
- Crawlable. Hopefully, the search engines will give me a little SEO love for this resource.
I won’t lie; it took some time to revise the content, style the page, get the drop-down menu working with the jQuery, and ensure that the content looked good on mobile devices. Still, I think it’s worth it to resolve all of the issues above. Starting next month, my process will be to tease the College Search Calendar in each email marketing piece rather than include several paragraphs’ worth of advice. That’s going to save me a lot of time and it’ll help my audience. I don’t even have to write the tease; I’m just copying small, actionable portions of the College Search Calendar and including them in the newsletter.
How You Can Repurpose Email Marketing Content
Repurposing email marketing content makes sense if:
- It won’t interfere with your SEO efforts. If your email campaigns are archived on your website and are ranking well in search, you don’t want to have a word-for-word copy on another page.
- It is valuable beyond the moment. Information that can serve your audience today as well as into the future may be a good target.
- Combining several campaigns’ worth of content can create something better. The information from your email marketing pieces may be able to provide a great single resource for your audience.
Start by reviewing your past campaigns. Look for articles or images that are solely available in email form. Next, identify which pieces can become what type of content:
- You might consider revising your email articles into blog posts (again, ensuring that this is new content and not just a straight copy-and-paste of existing, SEO-valuable content.)
- You might work with a developer to create an interactive tool (with more time and resources, I might have created a mobile app for the College Search Calendar.)
- Past e-newsletter articles might provide statistics or information for social media posts.
Finally, scope out the project. Decide on a process for pulling together the copy and images you need from the email marketing pieces and determine how you will launch this content in a new format. Once you’re done, drop me a line. I’d love to see what you’ve done!