Joe McVeigh

Joe McVeigh is the web editor of Varieng's eSeries, Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change.

I research how linguistic analyses can be combined with marketing metadata to predict sales rates. I have analyzed several corpora of email marketing texts, one of which has metadata about each subject line, such as its sales rate and send volume. I am also interested in the ways in which linguists can study comics and graphic novels.

Contact information

MA, Postgraduate researcher

E-mail: joseph.mcveigh(at)



X: @EvilJoeMcVeigh 


Research interests

I am currently investigating how linguistic and financial data about a product and its advertising can be combined to predict and improve its sales rate. This is the focus of my dissertation and I am researching several corpora of email marketing texts. One corpus contains 33,000 email marketing subject lines and texts, each appended with metadata such as open rates, clickthroughs, and send dates. An investigation of this corpus was published in Volume 19 of Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. The article is titled “Congratulations, You WON!!! Exploring trends in Big Data marketing communication”.

My hypothesis is that the language of a marketing text affects the sales potential of that text’s product in an empirically measurable way. I combine methods of corpus linguistics, computer-mediated communication (CMC), genre analysis, and marketing, as well as my own personal experience in copy writing, to see whether I can find linguistic patterns in the more successful marketing texts of my corpus. I look at the morpho-syntactic features, lexical frequencies of the marketing emails in my corpus. I am planning a multivariate regression analysis to test the relationship between the linguistic features in the texts and their success rates, and also the importance of the correlations. I have also compared the marketing texts to style guides from professionals in the field of email marketing and discovered that the type of product being marketed influences the linguistic choices that copywriters make.

To my knowledge, I have written the first genre analysis of email marketing texts. For this study, I developed a framework that can be used to analyze any email marketing text. I identified four frames which appear in marketing emails: the Subject Line frame, the Opening frame, the Marketing frame and the Closing frame. I also analyzed hundreds of marketing emails to show which rhetorical moves occur in each frame. This study was published in Language@Internet and is titled “Thanks for Subscribing! A Genre Analysis of Email Marketing”.

For an article (based on my Master’s thesis) published in Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English 15, I compared blogs and email marketing. The research was an investigation into the differences between blog posts and email marketing texts which share a topic and an audience, but which do not share a purpose. I used corpus linguistic methods to show the similarities and differences between the two types of texts. The article is titled “Apples and oranges: A comparative analysis of blogs and marketing texts which share an audience”.

I am also interested in ways that language scholars can approach the study of comics and graphic novels. I have made several presentations on these topics, most recently at the MAPACA conference in the USA. I have been studying how characters with histories that span several decades and many forms of media can be incorporated into academic research. My focus is on how scholars can perform a thorough analysis of characters from superhero comics, some of which have become ubiquitous, when their character traits are conflicting in the various versions of their stories. And I have looked at how language is used in comics to show character traits.

I am the web editor for Varieng’s open source e-series Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English. The e-series is a peer-reviewed online publication featuring thematic volumes on a variety of topics related to research carried out at the VARIENG Research Unit. Each volume makes use of multimedia and hypertextual resources in order to enhance clarity, accessibility and scholarly verifiability.

Recent publications