Use “Most Popular” to boost your open rates

We all want higher open rates.

You want to be at the top of your subscriber’s reading list, right?

Or, maybe you are just fresh out of interesting ideas–writer’s block happens to us all.

It’s hard to keep up with what’s working and what isn’t in today’s crowded inbox…

Or, is it?

The most important tip to being relevant to your reader is to deliver high value content they care about with compelling subject lines. But packaging matters too, as you’re about to see first-hand.

Here’s an easy way to get a quick-read on the kind of content your target audience wants, packaged in a way they’ll read it

Learn from professional headline writers, that write and test headlines all day long, without stealing their work:

1. Know what publications, blogs, or industry leaders your audience reads, via your customer or donor profiles or personas, or just ask them as an add-on question to another form they’ve completed. For example:

  • Your customers might regularly read Forbes, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, or The Week
  • Maybe your donors read The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or Good Housekeeping
  • Could be that your target audience reads specialty publications like Outside Magazine

You don’t even have to subscribe to these magazines or blogs. You’re going to look at their online editions to see what’s “trending” for their online readers–a great clue about the topics your target audience cares about.

2. Most of these publications will have a “What’s Popular” feed on their right hand sidebar on their online edition homepage. I share some screen shots below. Scroll to this feed.

3.  See what content and headlines are the most clicked or most popular articles for your top demographic? Use these ideas to inspire your own content, subject lines, headlines. Be inspired, don’t steal.

shutterstock_140602060If you spot a trend that you expect to be more than a 24-hour cycle story: pine-tar use by a Yankees pitcher is 24-hour story. Princess Kate, Prince William, and baby George’s visit to New Zealand and Australia was clearly going to be two-week story. Draft your own media pitch, with your approach to the topic, to the authors of these articles. Reporters, bloggers, and their editors are usually hungry for prepackaged content on hot stories and will run with it.


Here are some screen shots that show you what’s trending for different audiences. Note what’s common here in subject lines is the use of:

  • Digits in the headline to stand out
  • Headlines as questions
  • People really like curated and rated content–“best lists”
  • People seem to like a mix of lifestyle articles and hard news — take note of this for your editorial calendar

Trending - Forbes


Trending - OutsideTrending - GoodHouseTrending - WashPoTrending-TheWeek

Thank you for stopping by. I know you’re a busy person and I really value your time. YOU are my business. My business is to create tools, share insider knowledge, and give you confidence that you’re doing the right marketing at the right time to hit your revenue goals.