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Should you write blog posts or email newsletters?

by Colin Nederkoorn

Your time is limited.

You have to choose between writing a weekly blog post, or writing a weekly newsletter.

Will a blog post or newsletter be a bigger win for your business?

Benefits of writing a newsletter?

The #1 reason to write a newsletter is to strengthen your relationship with an existing audience.

Each time you write a newsletter and hit send, you have an immediate audience.

Newsletters are push instead of pull

When you run a blog, someone has to discover that there’s a new article EVERY TIME you post. Sure, there’s RSS, but let’s face it, only geeks subscribe to RSS feeds.

People who want to hear from you won’t remember to go regularly to your blog to see new articles.

Let’s say your target is to reach an audience of 1000 people who care about the problem your business solves.

With a newsletter, you can build an engaged audience of 1000 over time. Direct people to your newsletter sign up page. You can even start building interested readers before you write your first newsletter.

But, newsletters are not without their drawbacks. Blog posts address some of these drawbacks.

Benefits of writing posts on a blog

The #1 reason to write blog posts is to reach new people

Blog posts are more sharable

People often ask for an archive of our newsletters to share with friends. If you’re writing interesting content (and you should be), then people will want to spread it on twitter, linked in, and Facebook.

Blog posts are indexed by google

If you write articles and let’s say you write an article about “cylon flavored turkey gravy”. Chances are that when someone searches for that in the future they will find your article.

Hybrid approach: Blog + Newsletter

Can you have your pumpkin pie and eat it too?

There’s a pretty good chance you were directed here from our newsletter. It’s a new format we’re trying. I want show you how a few other companies handle the hybrid approach:

Zero-extra work: Feedburner Subscription

Rand Fishkin from SEO Moz has an email capture form on his website:

Get posts by email

Like Rand, you could use Feedburner, a service to let people subscribe to new blog posts.

A little extra work: Separate Email

Here’s a snazzy looking example from Help Scout:

Help Scout Weekly Email

They’ve done some extra work to prepare an image to use in the email along with a teaser.

They have a call to action to “Keep Reading” at the bottom of the email

An experiment you can learn from

Im going to share with you how it goes, but for the next few weeks, I’m going to try the hybrid approach.

I’ll let you know:

  • Do opens and clicks in the email take a hit?
  • Are people sharing the content more?
  • Is that driving more visibility and more signups to the email list.

My hypothesis is that this might be the best of both worlds.

Tell me what works for you:

Have you tried send an email newsletter? Or posting lots of blog articles?

Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are on any of the three approaches, and what has worked for you.

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