Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide newsletter reflects numerous newsletter marketing best practices at work.
As you would expect from one of the nation’s most respected copywriters, each issue is helpful, relevant, and concise.
But, her newsletters offer more than just helpful information
What I find most exciting is her newsletter’s sense of personality and place.
Using story to engage
The July 13, 2015, issue of Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide is an example of how carefully Heidi uses story to immediately engage her readers. She begins:
“Today is the second day of Manhattanhenge, a natural event dubbed by Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History. He was thinking of Stonehenge when he created the term.
Manhattanhenge is when sunset aligns precisely with Manhattan’s street grid. Since the grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north, Manhattanhenge happens twice a year, three weeks before and after the Summer solstice.
In addition to the grid you need a clear view of the horizon. New Jersey provides this view across the Hudson River. New York’s tall buildings create a vertical channel that frame the sun as it sets. In the process it creates a radiant glow of light that illuminates both the north and south sides of every cross street.
My husband took this picture in 2012 on 23rd Street and Broadway.”
What does the above have to do with promoting Heidi Cohen’s copywriting?
On the surface, absolutely nothing!
Yet, you’re hooked by the language, the details, and–of course–the perfect photograph.
The wealth of details and the brevity of the presentation speak for themselves, establishing her persona as a savvy, but friendly, New Yorker who invites her readers to vicariously enjoy her city. It’s a pleasant conversation opener, before she gets down to business.
By itself, Heidi’s ability to notice a strange word, Manhattanhenge, communicates a copywriter who is able to look below the surface and be inspired by words that many might not even notice–but are certain to be remembered. A trait I’m sure her clients appreciate!
Often, attempts to use stories fall flat because they have a self-conscious, or “manufactured” feel.
Heidi’s story, however, is genuine and–even better–visual.
From there, she comfortably moves on to sharing concise, helpful tips and inspiring readers to attend her interviews, explore her new book recommendations, and download resources like her 2015 Content Marketing Success Checklist.
Not an isolated example
A week later, Heidi hit another home run:
The summer heat is on. Manhattan has been hazy, hot and humid.
Late yesterday afternoon, one of my knitting friends and I took our knitting and headed out to Brighton Beach in the less hip part of Brooklyn.
Brighton Beach is a public beach on the Atlantic Ocean a few short blocks from the Q subway train. It’s complete with a boardwalk and Russian restaurants. It’s the anti-Hamptons.
While a Manhattanite has lots of beach options via car or train, never underestimate the value of time and convenience. The same holds for your marketing. What are your customers seeking that only you can provide?
Once again, there’s an unexpected word, in this case, “anti-Hamptons,” that helps define the piece.
I especially like the segue between her story and the big question for marketers that follows, i.e., “What are your customers seeking that only you can provide?”
Train yourself to be constantly learning
Opportunities for self-paced learning are all around us–if we take advantage of them.
My original intention was to compile a “Top 10″ list of ideas and lessons from Heidi Cohen’s newsletter.
Instead, I’m simply going to encourage you to subscribe to Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide newsletter and pay attention to each issue–as I do.
If you’re an author or content marketer looking for email newsletter best practices that you can analyze and adapt for your newsletter, you’ll find important examples and lessons to be learned from each issue. You’ll also get a chance to enjoy a taste of life in the Big Apple!