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Email Marketing Content Improves With Inverted Pyramid

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Email marketing content becomes more valuable to subscribers if it follows a journalism concept called the inverted pyramid.

In journalism, the inverted pyramid is a method for writing a news article. It means the writer should put the most important information at the top of the article and the least important at the bottom.

It assumes some readers will read the entire article while others will read only part of it. For people who read only part of it, the writer wants to make sure they get the most important facts before they move on to something else.

Think about columns in newspapers. They require readers to start at the top and work their way down. It’s not unlike scrolling in a web browser. It’s also not unlike scrolling in an email reader, even if that reader is a browser.

The Email Content Pyramid

Email newsletters with plenty of content will usually force subscribers to scroll to see all of it. But nothing guarantees that all subscribers will scroll all the way to the bottom. They may get bored with what they see or simply need to move on to other things to do.

In reality, research shows that’s exactly what happens. Online readers of all types rarely read everything on a web page or in an email newsletter.

If no one can guarantee that every email subscriber will scroll to the bottom every time they get the newsletter, it’s only logical to use the inverted pyramid for the content.

Imagine the opposite approach, which admittedly is absurd. The best and most important information is at the bottom of the newsletter and the worst and least important is at the top.

Not only will the subscriber not see the best stuff. He or she will get disappointed and possibly unsubscribe.

In reality, newsletters often display their content with no particular thought to prioritizing the topics from top to bottom. They are haphazard at best.

How to Do the Pyramid

An outline is an easy way to organize content for an email newsletter and implement the inverted pyramid.

For example, the newsletter might have five topics in it. Simply list the topics in order of priority from top to bottom. Then do the same using a few keywords for each paragraph under each topic.

Only after the prioritization process should the writer produce the actual sentences and paragraphs. Even better, if the newsletter subjects link to longer website articles, the website articles can and should follow the same inverted pyramid tactic.

Email marketing metrics can support the process by showing if it has any impact on click rates. Although click rates depend on a variety of factors, prioritizing the content certainly won’t hurt and may even help improve them.

Impact on Email Subject Line

Using the inverted pyramid also has a benefit for the email subject line and ultimately the email open rate.

The writer who organizes content this way will usually end up writing the email subject line based on the content at the top of the email.

The “best” content is almost always the most important or most interesting content. Content that is either important or interesting has the most natural appeal to readers.

So by ensuring the best content is at the top of the email, the writer ends up with the most potential for an important or interesting email subject line.

The quality of the subject line improves. The odds of a better open rate go up.

Increasing Reader Engagement

The inverted pyramid increases reader engagement because it puts the most important and interesting information at the top of the article.

It continues that tactic until the potential exhausts itself. There is only so much someone can write on a subject.

That said, writers can maintain reader engagement not only with useful related content but also with graphics.

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