SURVEY SAYS: NewsDash’s 15-Year Anniversary

October 20, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Last week marked the 15th anniversary of our NewsDash email newsletter.
By PS

I asked NewsDash readers to weigh in about the formatting and content of the newsletter. Nearly seven in ten (68.5%) responding readers work for plan sponsors, 11.1% are advisers/consultants, 16.7% work for TPAs/recordkeepers/investment managers, and 1.9% each are CPAs or attorneys.

A large majority (70.2%) of respondents indicate they read NewsDash first thing each morning, while 1.7% do so during their “lunch hour” each day. Nearly 16% said they read NewsDash whenever they have a free moment each day, and 8.8% said they do so whenever they have a free moment during the week. One respondent clarified that usually reads the newsletter in the morning, while another stressed it is the FIRST thing they read each day.

Asked how they read NewsDash, 93% reported they read through the summaries, and click through to the articles they’re more interested in, while 7% said they just read the summaries, rarely clicking through to full articles. No one said they click through to each full article.

Every respondent said NewsDash includes just the right number of articles, with no one saying there should be more or less.

I also asked NewsDash readers to choose from a list what formatting or content they would you miss if it were no longer part of NewsDash. To my surprise, the content that would be missed by the most readers is the On This Date section, selected by 59% of respondents. This is followed by Friday Files content (53.6%), the formatting of headlines before articles to which they refer (53.6%), and Survey Says content (51.8%).

Other content or formatting listed were chosen by responding readers as follows:

  • Tuesday Trivia – 44.6%;
  • Wednesday Wisdom – 44.6%;
  • Trivial Pursuits – 42.9%;
  • Section headings (i.e. Benefits Briefs, Rules & Regulations, etc.) – 39.3%;
  • Market Mirror – 37.5%;
  • Headlines at the top – 34%;
  • All of the content and formatting listed – 32.1%;
  • Articles in Small Talk not related to retirement plans or health benefits – 26.8%;
  • Economic Events content – 25%; and
  • Industry Voices articles – 21.4%.

About a dozen readers commented when asked for constructive suggestions. Suggestions included making the newsletter more iPhone friendly, not using “Read more” as a link to a Friday Files video, and rewording headlines. Not all made suggestions, but some were general comments.

The responses included:

  • Headlines, sometimes they seem to say one thing but if you read the article it really says something different. Of course this is the case in newspapers too!
  • Can you keep more articles to one web page? I know multiple pages increase your "hits," but it's annoying to see articles broken up into little chunks. The print function formats the article in tiny type; bigger type would be appreciated. Also, I enjoy Friday Files, but please don't use "read more" as a link to a YouTube video. There's nothing to "read" and many of us can't view those at work. Please say "see video" and I'll know not to click. Thank you.
  • I enjoy reading NewsDash but I think it was better written when Nevin was the editor.
  • I love NewsDash! It's a quick and easy way to start my day.
  • Trivia and Survey and Friday Files are all fun when I have time.
  • Helpful to keep me up to date on our industry, as well as issues of interest to me as a future retiree. (Age 56...while I'm still accumulating, I'm starting to consider decumulation strategies, and that seems to be more complicated....and few of my contemporaries are thinking about it yet.)
  • I hope you do not change a thing, I also subscribe to others, and this is by far the best. A lot of good information and a little fun!
  • Make more iPhone phrendly. Allow for text wrapping in the email. Put the same link as in read more into the article header. Don't split into 1 2 3 next — intersperse ads. Put read more link into This Day in History. !
  • It is challenging to read on an iPhone
  • I actually like the format and content. I am able to scan the articles and read the articles in full that I am most interested in. I do enjoy the trivia and tidbits.
  • I read the market mirror but would like a brief explanation (comment) on reason for swings up and down.
  • Doing a great job for the plan sponsor community.
  • Some of your headlines state as declarative fact the opinion/perspective of an organization or person without that qualifier. It always makes the journalist in me cringe...

 

Most verbatim comments about NewsDash and/or its 15-year anniversary were congratulations and thank you’s, and for that, we are really grateful. Some readers specified how NewsDash helps them: “I often read articles that help me prepare for necessary changes to our plan or get ideas that may improve our plan.” All of the comments and responses are helpful and encouraging as we continue to consider ways we can be the best source of information for our readers. But, for Editor’s Choice, I have to go with the comments made by our former editor-in-chief: “Well, as it's father (and mother), I find it hard to believe that this little 'hobby' of mine is still going 15 years later (about 19 years after I actually started it as an internal email) and 3 years after I no longer have to spend every night of my working life (including weekends) putting it together. It's a talent making something so hard look so easy (or so I was often told). Congratulations on keeping it going...”

Thank you so much to all who responded to the survey!

Verbatim

When I have time I really enjoy reading the NewsDash!

Congratulations!!

You guys do a great job. NewsDash is a useful and an enjoyable part of my day. Our team has had many discussions that were initiated from NewsDash articles.

Congrats! I'm celebrating 15 year anniversary too

I live for Friday Files!!!! Excellent publication. I was introduced to the daily emails by my first boss almost 10 years ago. NewsDash has taught me so much in those 10 years.

Happy Anniversary. I have been a reader from your first year when I changed careers and came to my company to get into benefits management. My retirement plan provider suggested I subscribe and I'm glad they did. I am now retiring at the end of the year. Hopefully NewDash will NOT be retiring though since I have found it useful as I'm sure many others will continue to do. All the best!

Appreciate the digest of industry articles.

Congratulations! I've been a follower for at least 10 years.

Thank you for sending concise articles about current topics of interest to a plan sponsor!

Congratulations

I like the ability to link to articles of interest. I like the delivery schedule and really do read it first thing every morning. Please keep up the good work! Sometimes change is painful.

Very useful in alerting me to current topics of interest. I especially like the special issues devoted to DB plans.

Congratulations on creating a consistently "must read" communication.

Congratulations!

Verbatim (cont.)

I love this Newsletter---have received it for years!! Happy Anniversary to you! If I miss a day of reading, I feel like I have missed important information...hope it continues until I retire.

Great way to stay on top of regulatory issues. I really appreciate the updates on all types of benefits issues - not just the defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Thanks for keeping me informed!

Great publication that I look forward to receiving on a daily basis! Congratulations on 15 years, and please keep up the good work!

15 years... Wow. Fantastic. Well done. Should be an annual entry in On This Day.

It's worth the time.

Congratulations. Your NewsDash is full of interesting articles and part of my morning routine and I would miss it if I did not receive it.

I often read articles that help me prepare for necessary changes to our plan or get ideas that may improve our plan.

My day starts with NewsDash and my read begins with On This Date. No matter how busy a morning I have, I never miss what I consider Today in History... Often it is a conversation starter. Don't change it...

Congrats!

I think your format and information are great. I've been a subscriber for a long time and truly enjoy the balance between industry articles, the market mirror, and the more light-hearted news like the Friday Files and On This Date.

Happy Anniversary. Thanks for your great work.

Congratulations! Before you blow out the candles and toot the horn, in my state, you'd be just old enough to start drivers training. Keep up the good work and keep-on-keepin' on.

Thank you for working so hard on getting NewsDash out every day. It is the first thing I read in the morning and not only do I stay on top of trends in the industry, I usually find something that makes me smile. Again, thank you!!

Well, as it's father (and mother), I find it hard to believe that this little "hobby" of mine is still going 15 years later (about 19 years after I actually started it as an internal email) and 3 years after I no longer have to spend every night of my working life (including weekends) putting it together. It's a talent making something so hard look so easy (or so I was often told). Congratulations on keeping it going...

 

NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.

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