I was giving a private class yesterday to an association and there I was describing our Locals-Only email campaigns.  During the course of the discussion, I mentioned the “Thriller on the streets of Bend” video we sent out on Nov 4th.

The class attendees all thought it was curious that it was by far the most popular email we have sent to this audience.   Thriller / Bend garnered a slightly better than normal open rate, but the click rate was through the roof at 41.35%.  This was more than twice the clickthru rate of my next highest article which came in at a mere 20%.  Typically, we’ll expect a 10% rate.

So, with some 20/20, rear-view clarity in our vision let’s analyze these results in relation to the standard journalist’s rules of newsworthiness.

  • Timing –  New is better than old.  Old news is no news. The video was taken Halloween night.  Locals saw it in their email Nov 4th.  Check.
  • SignificanceHow many people in our audience were affected by this story? Odds are pretty good that you are one (a friend) or two degrees (friend of a friend) of separation from someone in that video.  Check.
  • Proximity How close is the news to the audience? This video was made in Bend.  The locals only audience is in Bend.  Check.
  • ProminenceHow well known is the subject?  Since MJ’s bright career and tragic death, everyone knows about those lovable Michael Jackson Thriller Dancing Zombies.  Check.
  • Human InterestDoes it appeal to us emotionally? Those of us around in the early 1980’s often feel nostalgic about the days that MTV played videos.  Sure, it’s cheesy, but we fondly remember the heightened anticipation of a new Michael Jackson album that defined popular culture at that time.  Check.

Put another way, if we turn this on it’s head…  If we pretend that we instead sent the same video to the “Non Locals” segment of our email list, we can easily uncheck half of those factors and conclude that this video would have very low impact on that audience.

So, the conclusion is… the more targeted (or more finely segmented) the audience, the easier it is to be newsworthy in your message.

– Brian