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Monday Memo: Your Email ‘Envelope’

| June 17, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This week, #3-of-3 in our series of experts’ advice for crafting the digital content now so fundamental to broadcasters’ repertoire.  If you missed previous columns, here are:

  • Camera Tips for Radio: here
  • Writing for Digital Consumption: here

This week, THE most important words in emails you send your tribe.

You DO regularly communicate with an opt-in email list…right? 

Few opportunities to engage are more powerful than the ongoing conversation you have with listeners.  It’s a relationship that Pandora can’t emulate.  Smart syndicated hosts exploit email well, and if you’re local you can be even more relatable.

Any email you send is worthless if it doesn’t get read. 

And you yourself demonstrate why, every time you open your In box.  True or false: You delete some (lots) of messages unread, simply based on the subject line?

Something else you do: Open your snailmail over the wastebasket. I say “open” even though you don’t. Based on a glance at each envelope, you decide whether to bother.  So…

Fuss over the subject line.

Tips, from E-Mail Marketing Coach and Constant Contact CEO Gail F. Goodman:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Keep subject lines under 50 characters, including spaces.  A recent study showed that subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had open rates 12.5 percent higher than those with 50 or more characters.
  • Be specific. “The Green Thumb Newsletter: September 2007” doesn’t convey a benefit.  Better: “The Green Thumb: When to Bring Outdoor Plants Inside for the Winter.”
  • Write it last. When you’re done with the body of your email, read it over and pick the nugget that’ll entice your readers to learn more by opening your message.
  • Take some time. Write several — at least three or four — before choosing which to use.  Run them by a friend or colleague and see which they think is most compelling.
  • Test it. Got two strong subject lines? Split your list in half.  After a few such tests, you’ll get a sense of what works for your list.  And the better you know your audience, the more effectively you can communicate with them.

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” an instant download available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America. Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice