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Marketability eBulletin

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 12 January 2022. In this issue:

Top 10 articles of 2021, as chosen by you

The 10 most read articles of last year were again an eclectic mix, and definitely worth exploring if you missed them first time round. Email marketing was the standout topic, which may simply reflect the number of reports we were able to share. Two articles were triggered by recommendations that came out of in-company training courses, including the one in the #1 spot. It’s lovely personally to see one of the articles about the Park Lane Stables publicity campaign come in at #2.

If you click on only one of these, make it #5, which I’d somehow forgotten about but which is a laugh out loud sketch on a topic you will all relate to.

One marked and interesting trend from last year was the shift in our open and click rates. Opens remain remarkably consistent, and have for many years, at around 40%. Clicks are down markedly, from an average of 16% of total mailed, to 11.4%. Click to opens (ie % of people who opened who then clicked) were down from 40% in 2020 to 30% in 2021.

The consistency of the open rate is encouraging here, indicating that more of you are reading articles in the email – quicker than clicking through. We may have featured fewer reports, and therefore fewer new links, than in 2020 too.

As always, if reading this prompts you to drop me an email to tell me how you typically engage with our eBulletin, we’d value the feedback.

So here they are, in reverse order, starting with a tie at #9. The % given is unique subscribers of total mailed who clicked through.

9= Popular words invented by authors, with thanks to Scholarly Kitchen (31 August, 4.2%).
A short video featuring nonce words which became neologisms, gloriously random facts for language lovers.

9= Hamnet’s ‘living billboard’ proves a hit (a palpable hit?) (31 August, 4.2%)
Nicely judged feelgood marketing from the team over at Headline.

8. The Hemingway App is the copywriter’s friend (26 October, 4.5%)
A practical tool for copy-checking recommended by the marketing team over at ProQuest.

7. Excellent free Email Marketing Benchmarks Report from Campaign Monitor (13 April, 4.8%)
I loved this really easy to read free report, and so did you. I’ll definitely be looking out for a 2022 edition.

6. The five email elements you should be testing, useful guide from Pure360 (3 August, 4.9%)
We all know we should be testing more than we are, and this 5 minute read from might just persuade us to add a bit more.

5. Are you a robot? Can you prove you’re not? (19 January, 6.2%)
If you didn’t watch this a year ago, don’t miss out again, it’s pure genius. Laugh out loud funny. Thank you David Crotty at The Scholarly Kitchen!

4. New Wordstream blog post on 9 best email subject line styles (16 March, 6.3%)
A topic of perennial concern, always raised by participants on courses, and this is a quick read with some new ideas.

3. Beyond email metrics, what customers do that doesn’t show up (8 June, 6.9%)
Reports focus on stats, but that is genuinely not the whole story. This Pure360 report looked at the evidence that doesn’t show up, and should be a cheering read for all email marketers.

2. From the front line of an ongoing publicity campaign part 2 (16 March, 7%)
At the start of the year I volunteered to do PR and marketing for Park Lane Stables ( a charity) in Teddington, who desperately needed to raise £1million to buy the building from the landlord. This was the second of two articles and features a link to a fantastic video posted by impressionist Rory Bremner on Twitter.

1. You need an Amazon SEO strategy – excellent article from Ingram (3 August, 7.5%)
Such a hot topic, and thanks go to Fiona Green over at Bloomsbury for alerting me (and you) to this one. It isn’t a 5 minute read but it is worth it.

We sent 13 eBulletins in 2021, with their articles added to our online archive of well over 1500. If you’re looking for tips or reports on a specific subject, try word-searching. Relevant articles appear chronologically, most recent first.

Search for more topics on our Article Archive page.


Great example of a publisher’s guest blog for the University of Helsinki

Back in November our article What do publishers do, exactly? prompted Flo McClelland from Multilingual Matters to forward me a blog post written by MD Tommi Grover for the University of Helsinki.

The relationship between the academic and publishing communities can be fraught because it’s based on a general lack of understanding of the other’s position. What I love about Tommi’s post is the complete openness and transparency about the publishing process, along with introducing individual members of the team. It will (I hope) have made readers warm to the publisher and taught them things about the practical realities of publishing which they couldn’t have known.

Thanks, Flo and Tommi for the inspiring read!

Read What does a publisher actually do? by Tommi Grover


How many ways can the same project be interpreted?

If you’ve been involved in a big in-company project you’ll be able to relate to this. Thanks go to Laura Ingle over at Emerald (and long-term Marketability tutor) for bringing this cartoon to my attention. The same project as seen by the customer, the project leader, the programmer etc etc. You get the idea.

The moral of this particular story, of course, is to ensure that any project’s attributes and objectives are precisely nailed down and communicated to everyone involved to avoid the inevitable drift that will happen otherwise.

View the cartoon


Tip of the week: ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks’

This is Prince Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, commenting on the overacting of a character in the play within Shakespeare’s play. As a phrase, we use it when over strenuous denial suggests there might actually be something to hide. Or to put it another way, when saying that something isn’t a problem sows a seed of doubt for our readers that would otherwise not be there.

But why is this relevant, and included as a tip? Because we can be in danger of doing this in copy when we intend to reassure and be transparent but actually trigger new doubts in the reader. As with all things copy, we walk a fine line.





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