Savvy travel marketers know advertising in newspaper and magazine email newsletters generates solid results. But the class of online-only lifestyle brands publishing daily or weekly emails is becoming increasingly important, and, in some cases, more influential than its traditional media outlet competitors.
Newsletters such as Daily Candy Weekend Trips for Kicks, Weekend Sherpa and Tasting Table Flight Plan highlight trends, identify hot spots and shape readers’ perceptions about travel deals, attractions and destinations. Because subscribers register to receive these free travel-related emails, this audience is highly targeted and primed to be thinking about vacations when receiving these newsletters in their inboxes. That makes sponsoring an e-news “takeover” a smart marketing move.
Often called “allied email” or “dedicated email,” these pay-for-play campaigns usually include a range of “partner listing” advertorial content, banner ads and a contest, trip giveaway or other promotion.
Content planning can be collaborative to a certain degree in these arrangements. Ultimately, the brand has editorial control, which is good because it lends credibility to the messages communicated.
Here are tips for finding and implementing a successful email takeover program.
1. Identify your target consumer audience as narrowly as possible and research a variety of options to ensure the media outlet’s readership is an ideal fit.
2. Be clear on your objective and desired outcome before you start reaching out to potential media partners. Do you want content published about your brand for awareness or do you want to engage and interact with readers?
3. Contact several possible media partners to share your target audience, objectives and ideas. Let them know this is a competitive process and you’re seeking bids from several lifestyle brands. Then give them time to brainstorm and respond with a proposal identifying the overall creative concept.
4. Agree on how the program will be leveraged through social media channels − yours and theirs.
5. Mutually agree on content creation ground rules and a realistic timetable with key dates for when you’ll receive material to review and turnaround approval dates.
6. If offering a contest to win a trip, the closer you can relate the prize to the content, the better. It may be best to not settle on incentive specifics until after you are clear on the editorial or advertorial material of the campaign. Then procure items of high value that reinforce the key points of the content.
7. Ask for a value-add package beyond a traditional program to ensure your campaign is unique and that you get the best bang for your buck.
8. Once you’ve settled on a brand, resist the urge to be too heavy-handed with your partner. Let key stakeholders know that the power of the campaign is in the editorial opinions rendered by the lifestyle brand. The more creative control you give up, the more objective the content will be and the greater the results. That’s what you audience is looking for and that’s going to make it a great campaign.
If you're looking for new ways to relay your message, pay-for-play content pays off.