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September 4, 2007

Has Your Blog Replaced Your Company Newsletter?

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Okay, so you have this Web site thing. It’s that place where you publish lots of information about the goods or services you offer and sometimes people come by and actually buy stuff. Then you have your blog. Your blog is the place where you author opinion, point to interesting news or maybe just whine about what a bad day you’re having. However you use it, your blog gives you that direct line of communication with those that are important to you and your business.

Now that you have all these new online mediums that you’re using to communicate with potential customers, do you really need a company newsletter on top of that or have blogs replaced the traditional e-newsletter? That’s the question Dawud Miracle is asking.

For me, no, a company blog does not replace an email newsletter. You can argue that if you started your newsletter as a way to generate conversation or to get people talking about your brand, then yeah, maybe those goals are now being met by your blog. But even so, there’s still room for an email newsletter in your Internet marketing campaign.

There are plenty of people who still think RSS is some sort of flesh-eating disease. Plenty of people who don’t know what a blog is, but do grasp email. Emails are those things that appear in their inbox and tell them stuff. Sometimes there are even those blue links that they can click on that take them to new and exciting worlds. My mother loves email. Sometimes when she finds an interesting site or a funny photo she even saves it to her AOL Favorite Places. She’s super savvy.

And even if your audience does grasp blogging and RSS, that monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is still a good way to reinforce your brand and keep yourself at their top of mind. ResourceShelf is a great example of this. Gary Price and crew have a great blog at RS, with lots of valuable information that you won’t find anywhere else. I subscribe to Gary’s blog and I read his feed as it comes in, but sometimes my brain is so swamped with SEO news, that I miss a good nugget or two. It’s not until I get his weekly newsletter on Thursday that I think, hey, maybe I should spend some additional time over there and see if I missed anything. And when I do head over, I’m usually guaranteed to find a valuable post that I skipped over in my hurry to empty my feed reader. With Gary’s weekly newsletter, I’d be missing out on a lot of good information

At Bruce Clay, we have both an SEO blog and an SEO newsletter. They’re two completely different entities. The styles are different, the voice is different, and the intent is different. Our blog is where Lisa gets a little mouthy and gives you her opinion even though you never asked for it; our newsletter is where we publish articles related to Internet marketing. It’s where we give you an intelligent recap of the past two weeks in search, keep you up-to-date on upcoming events, tell you who just got a new job, pass on industry rumors, etc. It’s geared towards education.

We keep the newsletter around because it really does serve an entirely different purpose than the blog. We also realize that far more people read our SEO newsletter than they do our blog. Susan says this is because some people want their SEO news sans Lisa. That’s just crazy talk to me.

Dawud says he’s beginning to question his need for an email list. He mentions the backlash that’s occurring against interruption marketing and how users are becoming less and less tolerant to spam. And he’s not wrong. People hate spam and are becoming increasingly hostile towards it. This is why your email newsletter should not come even remotely close to resembling an email from that Nigerian cousin you never knew you had. If your newsletter is primarily targeted towards selling, then yeah, you may want to drop it. Focus on educating and providing valuable information instead. You’ll win far more friends and customers that way.

If you’re out there wondering if your newly popular blog means you can throw away that email template, my answer would be no. I think that when used in tandem, blogs and newsletters are actually really great complements to one another. Why weaken your Internet marketing message by using only one?





5 responses to “Has Your Blog Replaced Your Company Newsletter?”

  1. shor writes:

    “Our blog is where Lisa gets a little mouthy and gives you her opinion even though you never asked for it;”

    Hah! And that’s why we love the blog.

    While newsletters are still an effective marketing medium, it really depends on the objective…

    For example, after I subscribed to the RSS feeds of MarketingProfs, Mediapost and Clickz etc. I realized I didn’t miss their weekly round-up emails at all. Being able to pick the articles I’m interested in and reduce the size of my inbox sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  2. graywolf writes:

    I’m of the opinion that you should publish RSS, email, audio and video podcasts if you can. Give your info to the customer and let them choose the way they want to digest it.

  3. Jon Kelly writes:

    I just saw Tamar’s take on this and it seems a consensus is developing towards doing both. It’s funny because we were just debating this internally and I was saying the email newsletter felt archaic. But, it looks like I have a newsletter to write now…

  4. Jill writes:

    You still can’t beat the one-on-one interaction you get with an email newsletter.
    It does depend on who your target audience though. The less tech savvy, the more important it is to have an email newsletter.

  5. Dawud Miracle writes:

    I agree with using all methods of marketing that are pertinent to your target audience. I’m bringing up this question in general as a way to encourage people to evaluate what they’re doing. The only right way is the way that works for you.

    One thing that has popped up is should you publish different content in your newsletter than your blog?

    Thanks for the link love.



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