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Blog Post

What Content Marketers Can Learn from HBO Girls Creator Lena Dunham

January 12, 2018
Table of Contents

In the past 5 years Lena Dunham introduced herself to the world and for better or worse became the face of the millennial generation. So who better to launch a newsletter covering “feminism, style, health, politics, friendship, and everything else” aimed at women ages 18 to 34? With the launch of Lenny Letter Dunham and fellow Girls creator Jenni Konnor are demonstrating that email is still a highly relevant content marketing strategy and often the most direct way to reach your audience.

Email offers publishers something that Facebook, Twitter or Instagram simply can’t: an effective place to deliver long-form high-quality content that is meant to be digested and presented on its own. With less distractions and competing content, email conversion rates are 3x higher than social media. It’s no surprise that 73% of content marketers believe that email marketing is a core pillar of their business.

The medium presents content marketers with the unique opportunity to control their message and the way in which it is consumed. “When it is read in the e-mail newsletter format, it’s so much cleaner, and the images and the words — it’s almost a throwback to reading magazines,” explained Jessica Grose, the editor in chief of Lenny Letter. Instead of having their content shoved in between a Fan Duel ad and the latest update from a distant relative users are given the space to consume and appreciate their content.

So what can we learn from Dunham’s content strategy? What makes a trendy newsletter so special you may ask? What type of content creation is coming next? A media site and deal with Hearst giving them the rights to syndicate and monetize The Lenny Letter. Hearst will distribute the content across sites like Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan a day after the newsletter is sent out to followers. Plus, a podcast called Women of the Hour produced by none other than BuzzFeed.

In this week’s edition of Lenny the co-founders explained, “We want to continue to pay our authors and artists fairly and get our content to as many people as we possibly can.” And we can’t blame them, you’d be hard-pressed to find a content marketer who would turn their nose up at a chance to grow their audience and broaden their publication channels. By continuing to release their content first to subscribers, then to the rest of the world, they continue to keep things personal as they open up the brand to a number of distributors and advertisers. This kind of loyalty to your core following is what turns subscribers into brand advocates who are eager to get behind content that resonates with them.

Key Takeaways

  • Email was never dead
  • Leverage a loyal following whenever possible- but don’t abuse or spam them
  • Don’t be afraid to add a fun twist to a traditional medium
  • The first step of any great content marketing campaign is to know your audience

What are your thoughts on Lenny Letter? Would you bring back the good ol’ fashioned newsletter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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