Image Credit: Yuko Honda
Image Credit: Yuko Honda

Is your journal top-of-mind among researchers in its field? With so many publications out there, it’s becoming more and more important to remind scholars about your journal and why they should be paying attention to it.

Your editorial team is likely using or considering multiple approaches to journal promotion, including paid advertisements, social media, and internal outlets such as a blog or podcast. But, one key promotion outlet often overlooked by journals, which is arguably more effective than the rest, is building an email list to which you can send journal announcements.

How can you build a journal email list? The easiest place to start is reaching out to all of the authors, reviewers, and editors that you’ve worked with in the past and asking them if they’d like to be added to your list. These existing contacts can make up the foundation of your email list. Next, you’ll want to give scholars the option to opt in to receive emails from your journal via your journal’s website and any other online outlets you have, such as a blog. Work with your website designer to add an announcement for your email list to your online outlets and an easy way for those interested to input their name, email address and any other relevant information to opt into receiving emails. You can send emails via your regular email client or using an email delivery service like MailChimp or TinyLetter.

Cultivating an email list of scholars who’ve expressed interest in your journal and reaching out to them periodically to share updates is one of the best ways to drive publication awareness and engagement. You can use your journal email list to send a regular newsletter or to send informal news and announcements emails when appropriate.

Here are 3 reasons you should consider creating an email list for your journal:

A sure way to reach scholars and generate publication awareness

It can be difficult to know which online communication outlets scholars are using, but it’s pretty safe to say that virtually everyone has email. Building an email list will allow you to connect with a broad spectrum of scholars and ensure that they see your journal’s messaging. A benefit of using email rather than just posting updates to online outlets, such as your journal website, Facebook, and Twitter (though, we still recommend doing this!) is that emails are a more direct way of reaching your target audience at a desired time.

You’ll want to make a plan to send your journal emails at the same time each month or every few months, depending on how frequently you have news to share. When you send emails at the same time each month your readers will start to catch on and know when to expect them. This consistency in communication will give those receiving your emails a delivery date to which they can look forward and assurance that your journal won’t be emailing them all the time.

In addition to serving as an outlet to communicate with scholars, your email list will provide value to your journal by showing you which scholars are most engaged with your publication. As your email list grows, it will serve as an indicator of how quickly awareness of your publication is spreading.

Platform to promote your journal and foster engagement

Of course, the primary goal of your email list will be to promote your journal and get scholars to engage with its content. Some of the main things you should focus on promoting include:

  • Your journal’s newest articles and issues
  • Special issues you’ve just released or that are in the works
  • Events members of your editorial board will be attending
  • Recognition that your journal receives
  • Outside coverage of research published in the journal, such as related news articles

You can approach the body of your journal emails by either typing out a letter-style email or designing a standard journal email format with sections. Having sections can be helpful to readers, because it breaks up the email copy and makes it easier to skim read. To make your emails more engaging, try to go beyond your journal and, when possible, highlight other news relevant to scholars in the field such as upcoming conferences and events or major research finding announcements.

Keep in touch with existing and potential authors and reviewers

Sending periodic emails from your journal will not only drive readership but also remind scholars that they can submit to your journal. You can put calls for papers in your emails either regularly, or when you have special issues you’re looking to fill. In your calls for submissions, be sure to include a link to the author page on your website and any other relevant instructions.

In addition to soliciting submissions, you can also place calls for peer reviewers in either all or some of your journal emails. Early career researchers on your email list may jump at the opportunity to review. In your call for reviewers be sure to give a clear way for those interested to contact your journal and a brief overview of your reviewer expectations, such as review turnaround time, whether you need reviewers for one-time or recurring assignments, etc.

Email list best practices

As you build out your email list there are a few best practices you’ll want to keep in mind. Be sure that your emails:

  • Clearly display the sender - so recipients immediately know the email is from your journal
  • Include a way to unsubscribe from the email list
  • Are delivered at least a week apart
  • Have a subject line that directly reflects the content of the email
  • Share a mix of both journal news and information generally relevant and helpful to scholars in your journal’s field
  • Include a clear reply option - so scholars can engage with your emails

It’s also a good idea to use your email list as a platform to promote any additional communication outlets your journal uses, such as social media profiles. You can include a call for scholars to visit your other online outlets in the body of your journal email, or list links to those additional outlets below your email signature.

Do you have any suggestions for starting and maintaining a journal email list? We invite you to share them in the comments section or by tweeting at @scholasticahq.

Definitive Guide to Publishing