Newsletters and blogs: dead or thriving? Which is best?

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Bill Schick
Bill Schick
In a social media-driven age of tweets and pokes, tags and likes, are e-newsletters and blogs relevant?

The answer may surprise you. In a 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook Survey, summarized on MarketingProfs.com, up to 70 percent of agencies planned to invest in e-newsletters and e-mail marketing. Nearly 75 percent will invest in blogging and blogger outreach.

Not a bad outlook for “old” new media.

As direct marketers we know that well-crafted e-newsletters and blogs build credibility and customer loyalty. The key is to serve up quality content using winning approaches, and to choose the one that best suits campaign objectives. 

E-mail Newsletters

  1. E-newsletters are simple to create and inexpensive. Because recipients must opt in, the audience is self-selected and open for deeper engagement. It's easy to measure opened emails and clickthroughs.
  2. Newsletters pull best when they are entertaining and informative, not purely promotional, and are kept short and relevant.
  3. Clean, consistent layouts dramatically impact response rates. 
  4. Providing links to other relevant content via landing pages to a website, videos, blog, whitepapers and social media helps reassert the value prop.
  5. Accommodating mobile devices, different email clients beside Outlook and different browsers beyond Internet Explorer is imperative in our 24/7 age when fewer people read content while sitting at a laptop.
  6. What appears in the email preview pane is important – keeping important content “above the fold” also boosts response.

Blogs

A blog can elevate a mere player into a thought leader. That implicitly means having a conversation AROUND a product or service, but sometimes not blatantly about it.   Regular blog posts also can be great for search engine optimization (SEO).  

  1. Bloggers who are relatable and let their personality show, rather than stuffy and formal, garner more traffic. Post a picture and a prominent ‘About me' page.
  2. Keyword research before each post can drive SEO. Imagine the words a prospect might type into a search engine to find information on the topic. Plug those words into Google's keyword tool to test if those terms are indeed used. Then sprinkle the winning keywords throughout the blog post.
  3. Timely subjects and frequent updates help assure that the blog offers unique insight into what makes an industry tick and offers advice that readers can apply to their own jobs.
  4. Responding to comments, posing questions and asking for feedback also keeps content fresh.
  5. Using social media profiles to distribute content, such as posting to a Facebook page, while also building an opt-in mailing list into the blog also can boost its reach.

Which Is Best?

If clients have time for only one – an e-Newsletter or blog – determine your goals.
E-newsletters are harder to share than blogs and blogs require more frequent updating.

If you want to know exactly who your audience is, have direct contact and deep engagement with them, choose e-newsletters.

If your goal is to spread your message to as many people as possible, blog.

Either option is a great way to develop a reputation as an expert, entertain an audience and engage and inform in a way that resonates beyond traditional direct methods.

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