Curated Hurricane Resource Emails Earn High Engagement

by Laura Worthington WRAL-TV

2018 Second Street Award – Best Single Email Winner


Case Study Highlights

  • Drives 25% open rate
  • Initiative leads to cross-departmental collaboration
  • Positively impacts paper’s email program
  • Educates community with meaningful content


The Idea

WRAL-TV is a DMA 24 station out of Raleigh, North Carolina. As a hurricane approached our area last September, we knew we had to direct our full efforts to help our audience prepare. We decided to send two emails featuring curated hurricane resources to help our audience prepare and recover from the storm.

WRAL-TV Hurricane resource emails header

The Execution

While we normally segment all email messages, we felt the content was urgent and valuable enough to send to our large general list. We had tons of relevant content on the site we knew would be helpful to our audience if we could get it in front of them in time.

Due to the urgent nature of the topic, it was easy to get all teams on board and put together our first email in less than a day. Our Director of Content, having been through many of these storms each year, was able to identify the best-performing evergreen content to include.

WRAL-TV Hurricane Email

We kept the email simple and focused on the mobile view. The first email, sent before the storm, included preparedness information like survival kit suggestions, tips for living without power, and answers to other common questions.

Our post-storm email included important recovery information such as answers to common insurance questions, resources for food safety, and ways to help others affected by the storm.

WRAL-TV Hurricane Email

The Results

This campaign performed exceptionally well with our audience. Not only did the emails earn a 25% open rate but the campaign had a lasting impact on our team as a whole. Our previous emails did not receive such high engagement, so this has changed our thinking about email and the impact of curated content.

And, to top it off, the cross-departmental collaboration this project created between the Marketing/Newsroom teams was phenomenal. These teams are now always thinking of opportunities to share more than standard promotions. Even our sales staff was interested in what we could do with email after the success of this campaign. Our team was eager to do more with our email strategy and can now point to a great example of what we can do.

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