We’ve published several posts about newsletters recently, including how to put one together and grow an email list. This past week, one of our IU friends, Jacqueline Hopkins-Walton, contacted me in regards to the differences between blogs and newsletters. The basic question posed was “Can they be the same?”
It’s a great question. We spend a lot of time with our blogs and newsletters. Wouldn’t it be great if you only needed one or the other?
Yes, it would be great. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
They are both great marketing tools. However, they serve very different purposes. Let’s take a look:
Blog: Anyone can read it, share it with others and engage with you by commenting. Blogging is what you do to build trust with strangers on the Internet. If your content is useful, entertaining, and engaging, they will come back for more.
More importantly, blogging is the basis for building your credibility with the search engines. Your blog is your driving force to bring traffic to your site or platforms. Social search is more important in search optimization now than ever before. By posting regularly and sharing those posts across multiple platforms, Google and Bing will assign a greater level of priority to your content in the hierarchy of search.
Newsletter: This is your VIP crowd. Signing up for your email list tells you that your content is valuable and that your new fan wants to hear from you without having to go find you. You want to treat them like an insider. This is an opportunity to develop a more personal relationship with your readers. Sneak peeks, polling for a new cover design, and giveaways are all things that can help you treat your email subscribers as special.
Here’s how you would use the two differently.
- An ongoing informal conversation with a mostly unknown audience
- Post original content regularly
- Shares content from other sources
- Invites guests posts and interviews to highlight others
- Is the basis for building credibility and searchability
- Reaches out to other platforms for sharing
- Captured audience through signup list
- Provides an insider’s look at your world of writing
- Sent regularly, but infrequently (at the most one time per month)
- Offers discounts, giveaways, or special editions that are not available to the public
- Display your best viewed blog posts (pick one or two from the month/quarter)
- A good newsletter should be anticipated by your subscribers
As you can see, there is a big difference in the two. I believe that both are essential.
Blog and no newsletter:
You lose the opportunity to develop a personal and special following. In the past, we’ve discussed the importance of “owning” your platform. Without an email newsletter list, you give up that control.
Newsletter and no blog:
You limit the number of readers that will find you. Think of your blog as your digital footprint. Newsletters have no way of helping increase your visibility. It will be a long and slow climb to build your list. If you have all the readers you could want, you might get away with just a newsletter (as if that could ever happen.)
What would I do if I could only do one? Both. I know it is a lot of work for both. If you keep your newsletter to once a quarter or every other month, you might find that it works better for you. You build up quality content and create a level of anticipation for your next newsletter. What’s your take?