Blog or Newsletter or both?

The more I write and speak about writing, the more I get asked this question: should I use a blog or a regular newsletter?  I have my opinion, based on experience, but here are a few arguments for each.

Newsletter

  • Push instead of pull – when you publish an email newsletter, that email hits your subscribers’ email instantly, and they know it’s there.
  • Instant audience – you already know who your potential readers are, because they’ve subscribed via double opt-in, and they are expecting your newsletter.
  • Simple reach measurement – you can measure within a few hours exactly how many people got the email, opened the email, clicked on the email, and much more.

Blog

  • Easier to share – the power of social media has changed completely who can and will read your content. When was the last time you shared something via social media? 
  • Indexed by search engines – Google loves fresh new content, and when Google loves your content, your site rankings improve, and more people can find your content faster and easier.
  • Reusable – when you blog, you can then reuse that same content via social media and in a regular newsletter.
So what do I recommend?  A planned mix. Blog, share, email, repeat.  I do this to an extreme with Atlanta Tech Blogs. Every post is reblogged on atlantatechblogs.com. Every post is shared to Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and now I’m experimenting with Instagram (nothing there yet). Every morning at 9am, Mailchimp’s RSS newsletter function pulls every post that was published since the previous daily digest and emailed out to all our subscribers.  I don’t consider the Daily Digest a “newsletter” per se, because we’re not pushing out “news” and engaging our readers in a conversation. It’s a summary of everything we published the previous day.
Like I said, this example is to the extreme. What I recommend for organizations that produce great content is the same formula, with a couple of tweaks.
  1. Blog.  Every organization should be constantly telling its story – history, events, vision, successes, failures, new products, new features, new team members, news, product training, industry teaching, support – because no organization’s story is static. You don’t have to blog every day, but you should set a pace (daily, 2-3x/week, weekly, monthly) and stick to it, thereby setting and fulfilling the expectations of your audience.
  2. Share. Every person on the team – whether you’re a 1 man show or dozens or hundreds of team members – should be engaged in sharing the organization’s content. The smaller the team, the more important it is for everyone to share. This tactic requires planning and boundaries around who shares what to where and how it’s shared, because every social media channel is different.
  3. Newsletter. All that content that’s created for your blog is now content for your newsletter, because while your blog has loyal and dedicated readers, not everyone will follow a blog or even know there’s a new post available. When you engage in an email newsletter campaign, you engage those readers who are most comfortable consuming information in their email.
You can take on the battle of blog vs. newsletter, but I recommend you do both, and add internal social media sharing. There are so many great tools out there that will make it very simple to do so, starting with WordPress and Mailchimp.

What do you think about that?

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