Content-focused email newsletters represent an emergent trend in digital campaigns for 2020. Candidates up and down the ballot and in both parties, including Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, and Tom Kean have all begun sending periodic newsletters. It’s an adaptation of a broader uptick in email newsletters that allow authors to reach audiences directly.
The drastic decline in local media – especially original political reporting – means candidates and their campaigns are increasingly filling a void for voters seeking credible, relevant information about local elections. Social media have provided some opportunities for campaigners, but overcrowding in newsfeeds on Facebook, for example, means a page’s average organic reach is just 6.4 percent of total page likes. Additionally, campaigns have been singled out by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube with constantly changing policies around content moderation and advertising.
Email, however, is an open standard that isn’t controlled by any single company (though Google may come close). Most importantly, it allows for passive distribution: content comes to you instead of you seeking out the content. Well-executed newsletters have open rates ranging from 20-30 percent on average.