Local Newsletters Are Good for Covid Information — And Marketing

Most useful Covid information has to be local. Publishers need to know where their readers are to know what local vaccine and mask rules are in place and how much the virus is spreading.

Naturally, then, publishers are taking advantage of localized media to disseminate Covid information. Those same geo-targeted messages can provide effective audiences for marketers, says Kerel Cooper, CMO at email marketing platform LiveIntent. He elaborated on that view in a Q&A with Street Fight.

How are local newsletters being used to fight Covid-19?

Newsletters from local publications are an amazing way to disperse relevant and timely information to engaged readers. In the case of Covid-19 and the rise of the delta variant, local government and health officials need to keep constituents up to date with the rapidly changing protocols and guidelines in their area. By utilizing local newsletters, this vital information is reaching a wide, yet targeted audience daily through a trusted source.

What does this suggest about email as a media channel compared to other channels?

As a media channel, email ranks as one of the highest in consumer trust. Consumers opt-in to these newsletters, meaning they’re very engaged with, or “logged in,” to the content. 

They’re actively interested in the information and actually asked to receive it, so publishers and brands who use this channel are reaching a very receptive audience that wants to consume content without the noise.

How can advertisers get in on the action? 

Advertisers are often relegated to marketing on platforms where their services are advertised next to user-generated content. In an era of misinformation and foreign interference, this isn’t ideal, but it is where the eyeballs are. By advertising directly in the email newsletters sent by publishers, advertisers are able to benefit from the consented and opted-in relationship between publishers and audiences: a relationship built on trust and quality.

Similarly, advertisers gravitate to the walled gardens because the walled gardens are logged-in, measurable, targetable, and high-performing. In order to read a publisher’s email, one must log in with their email address, an email address that is also used to sign up for receipts from other retailers, for logins to streaming sites, for Amazon, etc. Advertisers are able to target logged-in audiences with data that speak to intent by advertising within the publisher’s email. What’s more, LiveIntent has found that these audiences are incremental to the walled gardens. When marketers are hitting the wall of audience fatigue in Facebook, they find new and high-performing audiences in the email channel.

During Covid, as prices for marketers continue to rise on Facebook, Google, and Amazon, marketers can redirect their dollars into a channel that’s more cost-efficient and performs just as well: email. LiveIntent works with over 2,500 publishers and brands to help marketers reach people when they are present and paying attention. 

What are the challenges involved in leveraging local media for brand campaigns? In other words, how do advertisers localize their approaches?

The email address is optimized for mobile and works across devices. With each open, advertisers can target based on geo-location for targeting in real-time, or, they can use their stores of CRM data to target users they know are specific to each region. The same ability marketers use to tailor a campaign for local media that they use across channels, devices, and platforms applies to the email environment as well. All the innovations and targeting that local advertisers leverage in their other campaigns are available in the inbox.

The biggest challenge for marketers in running hyper-local campaigns is, of course, building up troves of CRM data. The key to a successful local campaign lies in the data used to begin one, and for too long marketers have relied on walled gardens like Facebook, who don’t give data back and only allow a campaign to grow inside of its walls. LiveIntent is committed to giving data back and returning a local marketer’s data back to them enhanced with more insights that they can use to make their local media campaigns even more effective. 

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.