COVID-19 + Email: How companies support their community


In light of COVID-19, people are overwhelmed with news of the virus — both globally and locally. As media companies, you have a vital role to provide information, updates and distractions to your audience. While people are saturated with news from so many sources, email is critical as it’s the only message you can guarantee your audience will receive.

We’ve already put together a list of email tips around COVID-19. Now see how these companies are connecting with their community, providing vital information and supporting local businesses:

How Media is Using Single Messages

Single messages are a great way to get important information out to your audience, and they can allow you to gauge your audience response before you commit to a longer-term strategy like a newsletter or drip campaign. The most effective single messages we’ve seen from media companies during the COVID-19 crisis have been addressing immediate community needs or important community-based initiatives coming from the media companies themselves.

WRAL-TV | Raleigh, North Carolina

WRAL sent out a timely email including tons of resources for its audience. Keeping the email fully factual and straightforward, the station included information on handwashing, updates on local cases, medication supply recommendations and more.

The station ran an A/B test using two different subject lines; A) WRAL’s guide to navigating coronavirus, B) Coronavirus: What you need to know. They found version B generated nearly 3x the open rate!

Green Valley News | Green Valley, Arizona

This newspaper took a conversational approach to its COVID-19 email content. The email came from the newsroom and was written to be casual, relatable and slightly comedic. The staff shared their recent relevant stories, promoted local businesses and provided information for community leaders.

WJBR-FM | Wilmington, Delaware

To address the new changes to everyday life, WJBR-FM sent this conversational email to its general audience. The station encouraged listeners to reach out for information ‘or even just someone to listen to’, reminded them of the many easy ways to tune-in while at home, and promoted its Operation: Gift Card campaign.

St. Louis Magazine  | St. Louis, Missouri

This email from St. Louis Magazine shared a great mix of information and entertainment relevant to COVID-19. It included three relevant pieces: an update from the state governor, a guide for talking to kids about COVID-19 and new criteria for testing at a local hospital. The magazine also included links to two timely promotions (Car Payments for a Year sweepstakes and the Hometown Champions campaign), which ended the email with a bright spot and drove website traffic.

How Media is Using Pop-up Newsletters

Pop-up newsletters are recurring emails on a certain topic/theme, sent on a daily or weekly basis. Keeping the emails consistent in terms of content, tone, and design is a great way to strengthen your connection with your audience.

Southeast Missourian | Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Southeast Missourian’s recurring coronavirus newsletter is a great resource for its audience. The newsletter includes all relevant headlines from the daily newspaper to keep readers up to date. Plus, the paper secured two local healthcare facilities to sponsor the newsletter, which generates revenue for the paper and promotes the healthcare facilities’ message.

WGN-TV | Chicago, Illinois

WGN uses multiple channels to share important updates and information with viewers. The station has a very active page on its website dedicated to COVID-19 and created a daily newsletter that pulls content from the page. The newsletter begins and ends with a content reminder for the daily emails in the morning and an on-air special report every weeknight.

A day or so after the initial email blast, the station secured a local hospital to sponsor the newsletter. This was a perfect fit for the hospital to boost brand awareness and the paper to generate much-needed sponsor revenue.

Shaw Media | Crystal Lake, Illinois

To provide the latest and most useful news about the coronavirus outbreak, Shaw Media has created this weekly newsletter. The company includes the top stories from the week, as well as a section of national and local resources. The media group secured a local healthcare facility to sponsor the newsletter, which had banner ads promoting  COVID-19 information at the top and bottom of the content.

Daily Herald | Arlington Heights, Illinois

This newsletter from the Daily Herald shares the latest news surrounding coronavirus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The newspaper created a dedicated audience for this newsletter and promoted it with signup widgets and messaging in the COVID-19 index, COVID-19 articles, other relevant newsletters, main newsletter signup page and homepage.

Not only does the paper include links to the stories, but at the bottom of every email, it includes a section of ‘Coronavirus Information Resources,’ which link to both local and national resources.

Before you integrate this into your plan, take a look at our helpful guide of 7 Email Tips to Help Navigate COVID-19. If you’d like to talk about your email strategy, send me an email.


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