Props to you for sending emails and doing your part to cut down on paper waste, which is something we especially think about every April as Earth Day rolls around. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Yikes. We figure that by sending emails instead of printing things, the Emma community has saved a mighty impressive number of trees through the years. Continue those tree-saving ways by applying the tenet, "Reduce, reuse, recycle" to your content strategy. Read on for tips.
+ Reduce. If you haven't done a content audit of your emails recently, now's the time. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, email recipients who open your email spend an average of 51 seconds reading it. These folks don't have patience for aimless verbosity and visual clutter. Reduce the following:
- Unnecessary adjectives, adverbs and circumlocutious language. (Weak: It was a terribly depressing movie that bitterly affected me and left me feeling melancholy. Better: The movie depressed me.)
- Multiple font sizes and styles. An overly stylized email distracts from its meaning. Keep it simple.
- Multiple calls to action. Too many calls to action could turn off your audience. Focus on the primary action you'd like them to take.
+ Reuse. Just because you've shared an article or resource in the past doesn't mean everyone in your audience read it. Reusing content can be good, as long as you package it in a fresh way. Try the following:
- Linking to past issues of your email newsletter so new subscribers have access to them.
- Testing click-through rates on a white paper you developed by moving the "Download" button to different locations in your email.
- Bundling a few of your most popular blog posts and sharing them in a new context. You'd be surprised how many folks may not have read them in the past, but will read them if they're packaged as "Our top posts of the year."
+ Recycle. If you've been churning out emails and blog posts for longer than six months, you've got a ton of content to work with. Don't reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to write content. Consider recycling the following:
- How-to articles. Readers love a good how-to that's value-oriented and easy to follow. If you wrote a level one how-to article last year ("How to grow basil" ), follow up with its level two relative ("How to start an herb garden").
- Customer success stories. If you profiled a customer in the past, write an update that illustrates where they are now, how their business has changed and what new projects they're developing.
- Tips and best practices. Revisit a list of tips you provided for your customers, and write a check-in that identifies which practices are still recommended and which ones have gone stale.
See there? Recycling's never been so handy — or so good for your business.